Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in Latin America and the CaribbeanMontevideo, Uruguay

The High-Level Task Force for the ICPD called on the region’s decision-makers to step up political will and investment for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, the rights and empowerment of adolescents and youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights for all during the Regional Conference on Population and Development, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and hosted by the Government of Uruguay.

The Task Force welcomes the Conference’s outcome document, the Montevideo Consensus, which contains bold agreements that reflect the Task Force’s own ICPD Beyond 2014 policy recommendations for the region, which were launched at a press conference on day 2 of the Regional Conference.

Particularly, the Task Force supports the region’s agreement to go beyond the goals of Cairo and guarantee the rights of all people – including adolescents and youth – to make free and informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives, including with regard to their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the call to end discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Task Force applauds the commitment to fulfill the sexual and reproductive health and rights of the region’s young people by calling for comprehensive sexuality education – to not only empower young people to prevent unwanted pregnancies and HIV, but also to foster values of human rights, tolerance, non-violence and mutual respect. As Task Force Member Mariela Castro emphasized during the Task Force’s policy launch, “Sexuality education does not corrupt our young people; it protects them. It doesn’t increase sexual activity, but empowers young people to take precautions.”

The Task Force also sees its recommendations reflected in the Consensus’ call to guarantee universal access to sexual and reproductive health services that are youth-friendly, and to eliminate violence against women and girls and ensure critical services for all victims and survivors of gender-based violence.

Finally, the Task Force welcomes the call to not only ensure access to safe abortion services where legal, but also to consider the repeal of the restrictive abortion laws that exist in many countries in the region. As Member Alessandra Nilo pointed out, “These are issues of social justice and equity: Women who can afford to, find a way to get a safe abortion. Women and adolescents living in poverty are left to resort to life-threatening procedures.”

During the launch event, the Task Force’s policies were welcomed by Mirta Marina, Coordinator of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Programme in Argentina’s Ministry of Education, and youth advocate Camilo Saldarriaga of Costa Rica’s International Planned Parenthood Federation Member Association. The launch received national, regional and global media attention. During the Regional Conference, Castro also spoke on the panel ‘The Rights, Needs and Demands of Children, Adolescents and Youth’.

The Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean is the third in a series of five regional meetings – including in the Arab States, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa – bringing together decision-makers to review the progress made in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action and to chart the way forward for the ICPD Beyond 2014. The outcomes of the regional reviews will not only contribute to the global assessment of the ICPD, but also influence population and development policy at the national, regional and global levels, and contribute to the global development agenda post-2015.

The Task Force plays a major role in the Cairo 20-year review process, including at the recent and upcoming regional conferences:

  • 1-2 July in Geneva: UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). See full report of Task Force activity and media coverage here.
  • 16-20 September in Bangkok: UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
  • 30 September- 4 October in Addis Ababa: UN Economic Commission for Africa and African Union (UNECA/AU)

Read more about the Task Force positions here. For more information about the global ICPD+20 Review process, visit the ICPD Beyond 2014 website.

Outcome Document

Task Force Policy Launch

Task Force News Coverage

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