Regional Consultations in Latin America and the Caribbean leading up to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63)
Date: Saturday, December 15, 2018
Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean leading up to the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) took place on 11-12 December in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Consultation convened Ministers and the highest gender authorities from 26 countries of the region and focused on the priority theme of the CSW63: "Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”, to take place from 11 to 22 March 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Prior to the Consultations, on 10 December during the Civil Society Forum, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean Luiza Carvalho met with the civilian society members and representatives from regional networks and NGOs from Latin American and Caribbean to discuss different topics related work, social protection and care economy, access to public services, and the progress on the defense of women's rights taking in count the diversity of women and their context in, rural and urban areas. The Forum concluded with a Declaration that was read before the meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Women on December 12.
Access the Civil Society Declaration Forum here (Spanish).
“Coordinated and well-funded social protection, public services, and sustainable infrastructure are imperative to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. There are significant connections between these three areas which, when adequately addressed, have the potential to multiply positive impacts and improve the lives of women, children, families, communities and societies”, commented Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The consultation was carried out under the co-chairmanship of Fabiana Tuñez, Executive Director of the Institute of Women of Argentina (INAM), and Mariella Mazzotti, Director of the National Institute for Women of Uruguay (INMUJERES) and President of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, under the auspices of UN Women Regional Office for the Latin America and the Caribbean. UN Women Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Luiza Carvalho, and Minister of Health and Social Development Argentina Carolina Stanley also participated in the Open Ceremony.
During the Open Session the Background Document for the Regional Consultations prior to CSW63 was introduced (link to background document). The document highlights the main challenges and risks that the region face, followed by the conceptual framework underlying social protection systems, public services and infrastructure, the potential synergies created among them, and a set of recommendations in these three interrelated areas as drivers of change in the promotion of gender equality and sustainable development in the region and the achievement of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
“As long as the those who run public institutions and their teams do not know about gender nor have they consciousness about the importance of the indicators and gender issues for the State development and for their own decision making, there will not be a disposition to eliminate the gender gap”, claimed Janet Camilo, Minister for Women in the Dominican Republic.
Over the last 25 years major advances in women’s economic empowerment and gender equality have been achieved, however, there are recent trends in the region that are cause for concern. Following a period of economic prosperity, social progress and democratic strengthening, many countries are experiencing economic stagnation, fiscal constraints and social polarization. As a consequence, many advances are under threat of cutbacks, while economic inequality between and within countries increases.
Gender-oriented and coordinated investments in social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure are required in order to face these challenges. Universal and gender-based social protection systems are necessary in order to reduce the gender gap in poverty, protect the security of women’s income during their whole life cycle and strengthen their resilience in a crisis situation. It is also imperative to ensure these services are accessible for the care of minors and multisectional services for violence survivors.
The Consultations concluded with the approval of the “Buenos Aires Declaration” which reflects the region’s priorities and contains a series of recommendations, strategies and a common positioning towards the CSW63, the main international inter-governmental organ dedicated exclusively to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.