Workshop hosted by the EU-LAC Foundation and the GIGA
07/04/2022 - 08/04/2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the structural vulnerabilities of Latin American states, including their high inequality and informality. With just eight per cent of the world’s population, the region had, by the end of 2021, reported almost 30 per cent of COVID-19 deaths globally. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has also experienced the most severe pandemic-induced economic crisis of any world region, with a seven per cent GDP contraction in 2020 and a lower level of expected recovery than elsewhere. In this context, social policies have played a crucial intermediary role in managing the pandemic’s health and economic effects and households’ ability to cope. A demographic that has taken a particular hit are children, with an over 50 per cent poverty rate amid the longest school closures of any region in the world. Meanwhile, democratic stability is strained in many countries having to cope with acute social and political fragmentation.
This two-day workshop will assess some of the key policy challenges that countries in the region are facing, what they can do about them to promote inclusive and sustainable recovery, and what insights scholars from Political Science, Sociology, Economics, and Health Sciences can bring to the conversation. We will address some of the enduring challenges as these countries recover, including gaps in social protections and labour informality, education and health, fiscal space, state capacity and high levels of violence, as well as migration. Furthermore, we will discuss topics such as democratic stability, the rise of new political actors, populism, the politicisation of the judiciary and the judicialisation of politics, climate change policies, and, finally, what all this means for multilateralism and European Union–LAC relations.
The goal will be to draw on scholars’ empirical knowledge base to assess future trends and to provide actionable policy proposals. The format will be focused thematic panel discussions with moderator questions, followed by open debate.
Conveners: Dr. Merike Blofield is Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies and Professor of Political Science at Universität Hamburg. Dr. Adrían Bonilla is Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation. Ernesto Jeger is Senior Programme Manager of the EU-LAC Foundation.