"The present organizations and networks from Latin America and the Caribbean in this meeting made up of women from regional networks throughout the region on the theme of Cairo +15 manifest our profound concern that 15 years after the Cairo Program of Action was agreed to, Latin America and the Caribbean is still the region with the greatest socio-economic inequality in the world."
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Meeting of women representing regional Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean in the process of Cairo +15
Panama, 3-5 August 2009
The present organizations and networks from Latin America and the Caribbean in this meeting made up of women from regional networks throughout the region on the theme of Cairo +15 manifest our profound concern that 15 years after the Cairo Program of Action was agreed to, Latin America and the Caribbean is still the region with the greatest socio-economic inequality in the world.
In a context marked by the structural changes sought in many of our countries, and by the regional implications manifested by the current financial crisis, we do not see enough political will on the part of Governments to meet their commitments under the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). As a region, we are lagging significantly behind in meeting the goals in 2015, and we see that this panorama is aggravated when investing in public resources is prioritized to save the financial system, at the expense of reducing the resources to surpass the profound inequalities in the world that have been generated by a model now in crisis.
The commitments stated in the Program of Action cannot be abandoned, for this would entail violations of basic human rights, such as the right to health, to education, to work, to a life free from violence and development of millions of women, of all ages and identities, in the world- costs which condition them to face situations of exclusion, violence, and discrimination.
In evaluating the past 15 years, this indicates that to these agreements, States have given diverse answers, translated into policies and services but that, in may cases, do not meet the needs nor guarantee every persons access to exercise their civil, political, economic, social, cultural, sexual and reproductive rights. Achievements have been unequal and insufficient; in some cases significant setbacks have occurred, and today there are a number of threats, which call for the need to strengthen lay and democratic States.
It is also noteworthy to mention the relevant contributions and participation of the networks and organizations of women and of feminists, as actors in strengthening governments accountability towards meeting their commitments. The emergence of new groups and organizations in this process has enriched the agenda and has redefined the challenges of meeting the Cairo agenda.
In this context, we call on all States and governments of Latin America and the Caribbean to:
- Recognize, implement, and reinforce their commitments acquired in 1994 and 1999, and reaffirmed in 2004 and 2009, particularly those to eliminate poverty, decrease inequalities, and to better meet the needs of the majority of the population, as indispensible for sustainable development.
- Assume the responsibility of sustaining and deepening the quality of the democratic system and destine all human, economic and technical resources necessary in order to narrow the present gaps and meet the expressed commitments inCairo by 2015.
- Strengthen and promote the collaboration between governments, agencies, international cooperation organisms, and civil society organizations, with a particular emphasis on women and feminists, in order to guarantee the implementation and achievement of the agreed upon goals in the areas of population, well-being and sustainable development, within a human rights framework.
Organized women from diverse networks and collective spaces of Latin America and the Caribbean demand:
I. In relation to population policies, particularly those relating to poverty reduction, population dynamics, and sustainable development:
- Strengthen and guarantee access to and right to housing, work, education, communication, health, water, food, clean air, universal access to social security, in order to ensure conditions for a dignified life, particularly for women in vulnerable situations for reasons of age, race, ethnicity, health conditions, life and work conditions, sexual orientation, migratory, refugee, or displacement status, disability, drug use, confinement, victims of human trafficking, or for any other reason
- Attend to the process of the aging of population, in particular the feminization of ageing and its actual and future impact over health, the economy, and development, adopting legal measures and programs of government that tend to diminish negative effects of those demographic changes, procuring to ensure that all conditions allow for a dignified life for women of all ages and conditions, that is integrated into society
- Promote the responsibility between men and women, in care-taking through a system of protection and social welfare, with basis in equal parity, recognizing womens unremunerated domestic work (Quito Consensus, 2007)
- Reject all forms of forced displacement within and among countries of all persons regardless of labor activity, age, ethnic or racial condition, HIV status, or any other form of discrimination. Attend to the life conditions of migrants and refugees and guarantee all their rights, particularly attention to their basic needs.
- Respect the right to free movement and the association of personas, without discrimination, reformulating all migration policies accordingly.
- Respect the rights of peoples, in particular indigenous and afro-descendent women, in terms of the right to land, territory, and food security, respecting the right of consent in all matters of their lives.
- Establish mechanisms of incorporating and recognizing young people as productive and subjects of economic rights, recognizing and executing public policies that respond to their necessities and specific demands, involving them as political actors in the design, implementation, and evaluation of these.
II. In relation to sexual rights and reproductive rights, with an emphasis on abortion and HIV/AIDS:
Strengthen the protection and fulfillment of sexual and reproductive rights of all people, without discrimination.
Endure universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, as well as the widest gamut of contraceptives, and universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support of HIV/AIDS.
- Promote comprehensive policies that reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, in a human rights framework.
- Recognize adolescents and young people as rights-bearers and guarantee their access to opportunities that allow them to make free, informed, and responsible choices in all areas that affect their lives, particularly in regards to their sexuality, guaranteeing them with access to comprehensive sexuality education, and information about all contraceptive methods and access those of their choice.
- Promote universal access to quality education that includes comprehensive sexuality education at all levels, within a human rights framework and the recognition of cultural diversity. Implement in their totality the commitments acquired in the Mexico City Ministerial Declaration on Preventing with Education signed August 2008.
- Guarantee access to quality legal and safe abortion services, as a necessary condition towards reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, and in order to meet the ICPD Program of Action and the MDGs.
- Implement efficient and comprehensive measures to eradicate and prevent violence against women, including the linkages with HIV/AIDS, as well as sexual violence, and ensure access to justice for those living in situations of violence.
- Guarantee universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly all women of all ages and conditions, including through meeting their sexual and reproductive rights, as well as living free from stigma and discrimination.
III. In relation to gender equality and the empowerment of women, with particular emphasis on the eradication of all forms of violence:
- Guarantee, in legislation, policies, and norms, the full respect and recognition of women of all ages and conditions as rights-bearers with the capacity to make free choices.
- Eradicate all forms of expressions and forms of violence and discrimination against women of all ages and conditions.
- Take into account the differential impact of men and women that live in vulnerable situations, giving political and budgetary priority to women in general, and taking into particular consideration the needs of indigenous and afro-descendent populations; migrants; people living with HIV; boys, girls, adolescents, and young people; elder persons; persons with disabilities; sex workers; lesbians; transsexuals; transgenders; and victims of trafficking.
- Promote the full participation of women, in equal parity, of all aspects of political, economic, academic, social, cultural, and community life.
IV. In relation with the participation of organized citizenship, and in particular womens organizations, in the definition, evaluation, and content of population and development policies:
- Create, strengthen, and guarantee permanent spaces of dialogue and joint decision-making between government and civil society, for the monitoring and implementation of the ICPD Program of Action and its reviews.
- Strengthen information systems and guarantee access to civil society organizations to facilitate monitoring of implementation, and make budgetary transparency a priority, particularly in how public budgets are spent, for the implementation of the ICPD.
- Guarantee and facilitate the task of monitoring and evaluation of the public policies by organized civil society, particularly by womens and feminist organizations, in meeting chapter XV of the ICPD Program of Action.
V. In relation to the sustainability of this Agenda:
- Guarantee sufficient resources for Latin America and the Caribbean, destined to population and development, with particular emphasis on the rights of women of all ages and conditions.
- Meet the necessary budgetary allocation through assigning sufficient economic resources, from developed to developing countries, as stipulated in the ICPD Program of Action.
- Assign appropriate national budget lines, clearly identified, for the implementation of social welfare of all people and in particular of women of all ages and conditions.
- Guarantee the adequate use of such resources, with the ability to identify the results of already implemented policies, generating mechanisms for civil society monitoring and in so doing making them more transparent and eradicating the possibility of fraudulent use of these.
- Guarantee or create participatory auditing mechanisms and social control of public budgets.
- Support, in all possible ways, and taking into account the aforementioned challenges, the initiatives generated from womens and civil society organizations, to contribute to the effective and efficient implementation of the ICPD Program of Action
15 years after the ICPD was held in Cairo, the call from womens networks and collective spaces from Latin America and the Caribbean does not diverge from what governments subscribed to in 1994, nor during the revision of Cairo +5 in 1994 and Cairo +10 in 2004. Without fully implementing the Cairo Program of Action, the goals aspired to for 2015 will not only not be met, but there will be no way of reaching the Millennium Development Goals.
With five years left towards its full implementation, it is in the hands of governments to redouble their efforts and fully commit to their direct responsibility in creating the necessary conditions and guarantees for the health and life of the general population in general, and of women of all ages and conditions in particular.
As organized women in a diverse range of networks and collective spaces from Latin America and the Caribbean, we demand all democratic guarantees, sustained in the secularity and sovereignty of States, and the political and economic commitments necessary for making our region free of all forms of discrimination and violence and for the fulfillment of all human rights.