BRASILIA — At the end of a three-day mission to Brazil, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin left with good news: Brazil is committed to support the International Conference on Population Development review process and will actively participate in the Regional Conference on Population and Development that will take place in August in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In a meeting with Dr. Osotimehin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Patriota said he will attend the Conference joined by the Brazilian delegation, which will include Ms. Eleonora Menicucci, Minister of the Secretariat of Policies for Women, among others.
Brazil to play a crucial role in advancing the ICPA agenda
Gabriela Borelli/UNFPA Brazil
During the conversation, Brazil was described as a "global player" with a "crucial role on promoting the ICPD agenda" not only at the regional level, but also globally. As such, Brazilian engagement with the ICPD agenda will continue and expand; the country will also provide feedback to the Report of the UN Secretary-General on Accelerating the MDGs and to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Both Minister Patriota and the Dr. Osotimehin also agreed on expanding international cooperation on ICPD issues through South-South Cooperation with Brazil. African and Caribbean countries are among possible partners.
For the Brazilian Government, South-South Cooperation is an important development tool, helping the country to promote structural changes in social and economic fields, including institutional strengthening initiatives. Programmes implemented under a South-South Cooperation scheme allow the sharing of knowledge, experience and best-practices through the development of human and institutional capacities.
Prior to the conversation, Dr. Osotimehin had met with Ricardo Paes de Barros, acting Minister of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs of the Presidency of Republic (SAE/PR). During the meeting, the UNFPA Executive Director learned about the strategic issues to be addressed by the newly-created National Commission on Population and Development.
According to Deputy Minister Paes de Barros, inclusive social policies adopted by Brazil have resulted in a dramatic reduction of income distribution inequities since 2001, which has in turn had positive impacts on the growth of the middle class and the reduction of child mortality, among other indicators. The Gini coefficient in Brazil has dropped from 0.59 to below 0.53 in 2011 (The Gini Index is the most commonly used measure of inequality. It varies from 0 to 1: the closest to 0, the more equal the income distribution).
Ageing, adolescent pregnancy and young people are key priorities
Minister Paes de Barros explained that Brazil is completing its demographic transition and its population is ageing at an accelerated pace, a process that is affecting traditional family structures and requires a new system of care.
Adolescent pregnancy is another important challenge: in 2011, 6 per cent of Brazilian girls aged 15 to 17 had already given birth at least once.
Violence amongst young people and youth unemployment are other key priorities the Brazilian government wants to address with UNFPA support. Almost 24 per cent of young people aged 18 to 24 are neither studying, nor working.
"The development of joint initiatives with the Brazilian government for a better understanding of such challenges and the proposition of solutions to be internationally shared are very important," pointed out Dr. Osotimehin after the presentation.
"Brazil wants to learn from other countries on these issues to ensure the full development of our youth," said Minister Paes de Barros. The Secretariat of Strategic Affairs also proposed the creation of an Observatory on Population and Development to monitor legislation, programmes and outcomes of interest based on the ICPD.