Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

07 Aug 2018

Remarks by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem at the Third Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean in Lima, Peru.


Excelentísimo señor Martín Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo, Presidente de la República del Perú
Estimado, Mario Chimoli, Secretario Ejecutivo Adjunto de la CEPAL
Señora Patricia Chemor, Secretaria General del Consejo Nacional de Población
Señora, Ana María Mendieta, ​Ministra de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables
Señora María del Carmen Sacasa, Coordinadora Residente del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas en el Perú
Señor, Paulo Saad, ​Director del CELADE, CEPAL
Señoras y señores ministros
Delegaciones de los países de nuestra región
Queridos participantes de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil
Juventudes presentes!
Colegas del sistema de las Naciones Unidas y de la CEPAL
Amigas y amigos,

Saludos en nombre de la paz, la noble misión de las Naciones Unidas, la que todos compartimos.

Reciba señor presidente Vizcarra el testimonio de mi gratitud, por su presencia, expresión del compromiso de su gobierno con la agenda de temas que hoy nos convocan, y por la generosa hospitalidad con la que | esta impactante | ciudad de Lima nos recibe.

Muchas gracias al Perú! por acoger tan cálidamente la sede de la Tercera Conferencia de Población y Desarrollo. Un país que encuentra en la diversidad cultural y geográfica su mayor fuente de riqueza.

Permítanme ahora continuar en Inglés.

We face many challenges around the world – social and economic inequalities; pressure on human rights; migration and displacement; climate change and much more.

Amidst these challenges, the Montevideo Consensus is a bright and powerful beacon of hope. When the 2030 Agenda calls on us to leave no one behind and reach the furthest behind first, the Montevideo Consensus provides our roadmap.

Agreements on paper are good only when they lead to action. For that reason we are eager to hear how governments, international organizations and civil society are making the Consensus a reality.

We see renewed attention to young people. We want to support their aspirations and prepare them for healthy ageing now, and in the future. One in four people in this region: between 10 and 24 years old. Should young people encounter obstacles as they move from childhood to adulthood? Why such high teenage pregnancy rates and poor employment prospects? These and many other issues require urgent action.

As I speak to you today, someone is waiting. Who is is that person? Where does she come from? She has been waiting for quite a while, for many years. What does she need? What kind of future does she wish for in her dreams?

The Montevideo Consensus is helping! This region has improved the situation of young people and their ability to claim their rights. In the face of economic challenges, educational opportunities have expanded, all the way to tertiary level in many places. Yet the quality of education and its reach to the furthest behind still need dramatic improvement.

We are working together. We are delivering on young people’s dignity and health, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Thanks to these efforts, we are finally seeing results! We see some reduction in teenage pregnancy. This means more girls are continuing in school and gaining the skills they need to face the future. We see increased contraceptive use, more adolescent-friendly health services and efforts to keep young mothers-to-be in school.

Our work is far from finished. Young people need full access to modern contraception, including emergency contraception. They need comprehensive sexuality education, both in and out of school. And the approach should be non-judgemental and adolescent friendly.

Maternal mortality dropped by 50% in Latin America and by 36% in the Caribbean since 1990. But other sexual and reproductive health indicators still show large numbers of people being left behind. The problem is not resources. It’s unequal investment, and social discrimination based on ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation and disability, different ability.

The people of this beautiful region are demanding a future where equality, human rights and sustainability are at the center of development.

Therefore, let us use this celebration of progress – and knowing how far we have to go – to strengthen our bonds, recommit to our common Montevideo agenda, and use our time here to advance and implement solutions that leave no one behind.

This meeting is part of a global process. Over the next four months, each region of the world will review their own progress since 2013. And next year, 25 years after Cairo, the Commission on Population and Development conducts a full review of the ICPD Programme of Action and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda. This will be followed by a review of the full 2030 Agenda in the UN General Assembly. Your deliberations this week must provide a basis for continued leadership! Strong leadership by Latin America and the Caribbean in this global discussion.

UNFPA is with you, and will continue to be with you, in close partnership with the ECLAC and all our UN partners, to whom we extend our sincere thanks.

UNFPA has proudly committed to three transformative results by 2030: an end to preventable maternal death, an end to unmet need for family planning, and certainly, an end to the rampant gender-based violence and all harmful practices against women and girls, especially an end to femicidio. All based on a foundation of systematic population data. Data data data, to make the invisible visible.

These are the challenges we can and must address. And here are the partnerships we need to get there. Look around. We are in a room full of decision makers, activists, young people, creative minds ready to lead. All connected by a shared vision – the Montevideo Consensus – on which these transformations depend.

As I close I would like to remind you that my friend is waiting. She was 10 years old when the world agreed on Agenda 2030. She’s twelve years old now and she is waiting. Waiting to claim her own place in every city, town hamlet and village in our region. She needs action on Montevideo to claim her power and fulfill her potential. With the appropriate comprehensive knowledge and community support, OUR support, she will come to understand her body well, and to know that she is ALWAYS to be fully respected by everyone— boys, men, other girls and women.

The promise of ICPD+25 next year is to stand strong for her — in the region and globally. We do that by making sure we implement the Montevideo Consensus! Keep moving onward. Move ahead.

Continuemos avanzando en el espíritu expresado por José María Arguedas: ​“Es la fraternidad humana la que ​hará posible la grandeza no solamente del Perú sino de la Humanidad.”

Les reitero nuevamente mis agradecimientos a cada una de las delegaciones, al gobierno de Perú, a CEPAL por su liderazgo en la organización y seguimiento de esta Conferencia. Cuenten con el pleno apoyo de UNFPA​.

Les deseo el mayor éxito en sus deliberaciones y acuerdos.

Muchisimas gracias.

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