The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is hosting a meeting of representatives of the region’s countries to analyse a proposal of indicators for statistical follow-up to the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, the principal intergovernmental agreement on population and development issues in the region.
This is the third meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development (CRPD). The meeting opened with statements by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC; Patricia Chemor, Secretary-General of the National Council for Population (CONAPO) of Mexico, in her capacity as Chair of the Presiding Officers; and Esteban Caballero, Director of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA-LACRO).
All the speakers drew attention to the convergences between the Montevideo Consensus, adopted in 2013 at the first session of the Regional Conference, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 by the 193 member countries of the United Nations. They also emphasized that CRPD must play a key role in follow-up to the 2030 Agenda through the newly established Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which will hold its first meeting in Mexico in April 2017.
In her statement, the Executive Secretary of ECLAC said that stable population growth, ageing and urbanization were the main demographic processes relevant to the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus and the 2030 Agenda in the region. “Strengthening demographic databases is essential to support policies aimed at reducing both poverty, which affects 175 million people in Latin America, and inequality,” remarked Bárcena.
Patricia Chemor, Chair of the Presiding Officers, affirmed that reliable demographic information was essential for making public policy decisions in areas relating to birth and death rates, distribution and migration, and said that national institutions needed to be strengthened to maintain statistical consistency and comparability.
Esteban Caballero, Regional Director of UNFPA, called for more dialogue on statistical indicators between the Regional Conference on Population and Development and the Statistical Conference of the Americas, both subsidiary bodies of ECLAC. He said that, in the main, the same indicators should be used to follow up both the Montevideo Consensus and the 2030 Agenda.
The proposal of indicators for regional follow-up to the Montevideo Consensus to be presented at this meeting is intended to achieve data comparability between countries. The final version of the indicators will be adopted by CRPD at its third session, to be held in El Salvador in 2017. This week’s meeting also sees the presentation of a proposed format for national reports. Once adopted, this will serve as a model for the countries to prepare their reports on progress in the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus, which they are due to submit for the first time in 2017.
The Montevideo Consensus includes measures for integrating population issues into sustainable development, and measures in the areas of childhood, adolescence and youth, ageing, sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, migration, territorial inequality, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants. An operational guide, adopted in Mexico in 2015, was developed as a technical voluntary instrument to help implement the Consensus.
According to ECLAC figures, the Latin American and Caribbean population numbers 635 million, of whom 164 million are children, 162 million are young people, and 70 million, older persons. There are also 45 million indigenous persons, and 80% of the population lives in cities. Absolute population numbers will rise to an estimated 730 million by 2050, dropping back to 690 million by the end of the century.
Together with Mexico as Chair, the members of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference are Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela.