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Latin America and the Caribbean Reaffirms its Commitment to Implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, 10 Years After its Adoption
The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirmed today their commitment to the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, the region’s most important intergovernmental agreement in this area and a comprehensive road map that constitutes one of the most advanced instruments in the world for promoting the population’s rights within a sustainable development framework, during a commemoration of the tenth anniversary of its adoption.
At the special session “10 years of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development” – held in the framework of the Fifth Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development, which is taking place through Wednesday, November 15 at the main headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile – countries agreed on the need to concentrate efforts to extend and further carve out the path already traveled, as well as to enhance the strengths that have made the Montevideo Consensus such a powerful instrument in the course of the last decade.
The event was inaugurated by José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary; Susana Sottoli, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Sergio Cusicanqui, Minister of Development Planning of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the country serving as Chair of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean; and Noemi Espinoza, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations, in her capacity as Chair of the Commission on Population and Development (by video).
“A decade after its adoption, we can affirm with full conviction and evidence that the Montevideo Consensus has helped promote and consolidate public policies in the region’s countries geared towards reducing inequality with an intercultural, intersectional and intergenerational approach based on human rights and a gender perspective,” stated José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary.
However, he warned, much remains to be done, and greater efforts are needed to guarantee the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights, to achieve gender equality, as well as to fight poverty and inequality, and to include those population groups that historically have been the most neglected and excluded in development patterns.
In that context, ECLAC’s highest authority stressed that within the Commission, “we continue to work on transforming development models into more productive, inclusive and sustainable ones,” and he insisted on the need to get behind sectors that would not only invigorate growth, but also make it more inclusive and sustainable, allowing for the reduction of poverty, labor informality and inequality.
“Although there is still much progress to be made, it is necessary to recognize and appreciate what we have been able to forge so far along this path. The Montevideo Consensus has become a powerful instrument in the course of this decade. Participation, diversity and dialogue are extremely valuable assets of this journey, which we must enhance in order to contribute to building more democratic, more inclusive and more just societies,” José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs declared.
Meanwhile, Susana Sottoli, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Population Fund, emphasized that “in a context of multiple crises that are endangering decades of progress, the Montevideo Consensus is the road map that gives us guidance for ensuring well-being and equality in our countries.”
Sottoli added that the Consensus reaffirms that the rights of all people must be at the center of development, as the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action recognized in 1994.
“We must work together with urgency to take advantage of every opportunity to move towards a more inclusive, equitable and just world. That will only be possible when we ensure that women, girls, adolescents and young people can fully exercise their rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights,” she specified.
Sergio Cusicanqui, Minister of Development Planning of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, underscored that policies must be sustained over time if we are to confront and tackle the inequality ailing the region.
“At the same time, deepening the intersectional and intercultural rights-based approach in our public policies will be essential so they can enable us to extend the progress, and avoid stagnation or rollbacks, in the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus,” he added.
In a video message, Noemi Espinoza, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations, stated that no future is possible for the planet if people do not have suitable conditions for fully exercising their rights.
“We are facing major challenges, which means our only option is to work strategically in partnership, between sectors and between generations,” she affirmed.
In the framework of the special session, a high-level panel discussion entitled “Challenges of stepping up implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, 10 years after its adoption” was held, with the participation of representatives of government, civil society and international organizations who play a key role in the process of institutional consolidation of the Montevideo Consensus and of the Regional Conference on Population and Development.
After this, the Fifth Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development began with the presentation of the document Population, Development and Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean: draft second regional report on the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, which was prepared by ECLAC with support from UNFPA.
At this meeting, governments will present voluntary national reports on the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus, and the technical secretariat – held by ECLAC – will report on the progress made in the development of the virtual platform to contribute to regional follow-up of the Consensus.
The event will also feature two thematic panels on which government, civil society and academic presenters will analyze progress and challenges with respect to public policies on population and development, and on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights.