Latin American Caribbean region has seen considerable economic growth over past decade: UNFPA chiefListen /
"Today, people in Latin America and the Caribbean are more empowered than they were 20 years ago," says the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Dr. Babatunda Osotimehin says "The region has seen considerable economic growth over the past decade, and social protection programmes in many countries are ensuring that more people, including the poor and disenfranchised, are benefiting from this growth."
Speaking at the opening of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean in Uruguay, Dr. Osotimehin said "we have seen important progress in gender equality and in women's participation in the social, economic and political spheres.
But he stressed that much work remains in order to achieve full gender equality, increase the capacity of women to exercise their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, reduce gender-based violence, improve the balance between women's productive and reproductive lives, and in so doing, increase their ability to participate much more fully in the economy, in political processes and in public life."
However, Dr. Osotimehin emphasized that "Promoting gender equality in a post-2015 world includes finishing the work of the Millennium Declaration. He said unfortunately, the MDGs that are most off-track are those directly linked to achieving gender equality, such as reducing maternal death and ensuring universal reproductive health and rights. This, he said, is despite overwhelming evidence that gender inequality significantly slows economic growth in both rich and poor countries."
The 4-day conference, one of the largest intergovernmental meetings in recent years, was attended by more than 800 delegates, including representatives from more than 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries, who discussed a regional population and development agenda beyond 2014.
It was organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Uruguayan Government, with the support of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.