The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) -the Spanish acronym is CEPAL- was established by Economic and Social Council resolution 106(VI) of 25 February 1948 and began to function that same year. The scope of the Commission’s work was later broadened to include the countries of the Caribbean, and by resolution 1984/67 of 27 July 1984, the Economic Council decided to change its name to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); the Spanish acronym, CEPAL, remains unchanged.
ECLAC, which is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America, coordinating actions directed towards this end, and reinforcing economic ties among countries and with other nations of the world. The promotion of the region’s social development was later included among its primary objectives.
In June 1951, the Commission established the ECLAC subregional headquarters in Mexico City, which serves the needs of the Central American subregion, and in December 1966, the ECLAC subregional headquarters for the Caribbean was founded in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, ECLAC maintains country offices in Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Montevideo and Bogotá, as well as a liaison office in Washington, D.C.
Mandate and Mission
The secretariat of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC):
Provides substantive secretariat services and documentation for the Commission and its subsidiary bodies;
Undertakes studies, research and other support activities within the terms of reference of the Commission;
Promotes economic and social development through regional and subregional cooperation and integration;
Gathers, organizes, interprets and disseminates information and data relating to the economic and social development of the region;
Provides advisory services to Governments at their request and plans, organizes and executes programmes of technical cooperation;
Formulates and promotes development cooperation activities and projects of regional and subregional scope commensurate with the needs and priorities of the region and acts as an executing agency for such projects;
Organizes conferences and intergovernmental and expert group meetings and sponsors training workshops, symposia and seminars;
Assists in bringing a regional perspective to global problems and forums and introduces global concerns at the regional and subregional levels;
Coordinates ECLAC activities with those of the major departments and offices at United Nations Headquarters, specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations with a view to avoiding duplication and ensuring complementarity in the exchange of information.