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Countries underline the urgency of advancing towards an equalizing agenda that guarantees the full enjoyment of the rights of the entire population

Representatives of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean today underlined the urgency of advancing towards an equalizing agenda aimed at the realization and full enjoyment of the rights of the entire population, which puts an end to the multiple intersecting inequalities that characterize the region. , during the opening of the fourth session of the Regional Conference on Population and Developmentwhich takes place until Thursday, June 30, at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.

At the meeting, the countries also renewed their full commitment to the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus the most important intergovernmental agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean on population and development – and urged to guarantee universal social protection as a pillar of the welfare state and the care society.

During the three days of the meeting, high-ranking government representatives, international institutions, the United Nations, the private sector, academia and civil society will analyze the sociodemographic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and the challenges posed by the crisis health and social for the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus.

The meeting was opened by Raúl García-Buchaca, Deputy Executive Secretary for Administration and Analysis of Programs of ECLAC; Harold Robinson, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Diana Mirian Miloslavich Tupac, Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, in her capacity as outgoing President of the Board of Directors of the Regional Conference on Population and Development. Sergio Armando Cusicanqui Loayza, Minister of Planning of Bolivia, also spoke, a country that today was unanimously elected to hold the Presidency of the Conference for the next two years.

During his opening speech, Raúl García-Buchaca stressed that the structural inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean have led the region to suffer an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis, and with the deepest impacts worldwide in comparative terms.

He stressed that advancing in the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus means today, more than ever, focusing energies on rescuing the 2030 Agenda and rapidly promoting the fair, green transition that puts people at the center without leaving anyone behind.

“This, to be effective, must be translated into public policies and priority programs that promote the participation and inclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples; of the elderly; of people with disabilities; the inclusion of care in social protection systems; in promoting, protecting and guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights; prevent unsafe abortion; assist and protect migrants; and planning and advancing in the ordering of territorial and urban development, among other aspects”, he stated.

Harold Robinson, UNFPA Regional Director, for his part, recalled that Latin America and the Caribbean was the region hardest hit in the world by the pandemic, particularly in terms of mortality.

He added that the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic puts us in front of a region stressed by health, economic and social challenges, which are intertwined and reinforce each other.

“Inequality, the main characteristic element of our continent, becomes tragically more visible. Health, jobs, well-being were not affected in the same way for everyone. We must not go back to the ‘old normal’ based on privilege,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Diana Mirian Miloslavich Tupac, Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, warned that, despite the progress made in the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus, the pending challenges today are much greater and pressing, and are largely linked measure to the large gaps that already existed between and within countries.

“It is clear that the region still has a long way to go in all areas of the population and development agenda. This will require sustained policies over time that, together with a deepening of rights, intercultural and gender approaches, allow progress to be extended and avoid stagnation or setbacks”, he underlined.

The Minister of Planning of Bolivia, Sergio Armando Cusicanqui Loayza, for his part, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Montevideo Consensus and its priority measures.

“We are aware of the work that we must face starting today and we express our greatest commitment to it,” he asserted.

After the inauguration, Simone Cecchini, Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Center (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, presented the document to the countries The sociodemographic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean that addresses the repercussions of the pandemic from the population dimension and includes proposals from the perspective of public policies.

The document provides data and analysis on the profound, varied and human face repercussions of the pandemic on the three components of demographic dynamics: fertility, mortality and internal and international migration.

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