PANAMA 24 November 2004.- The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and UNICEF have agreed to step up collaboration to promote inclusive, universal and efficient public policies for children and adolescents.
The 3-year agreement covers technical exchange on a range of issues related to the rights of children and adolescents, placing particular emphasis on social investment and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Latin America and the Caribbean is, at present, the world's most unequal region. On average, the richest 20 per cent of the population receives 60 per cent of the wealth, while the poorest 40 per cent receives a mere 10 per cent. These extreme disparities have an enormous impact on children, as reflected by the 110 million children living in poverty and exposed to systematic violations of their rights.
As Nils Kastberg, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, stated: “Increased and more equitable social investment in children is key to the reduction of poverty and inequalities. We must ensure that efforts to achieve the MDGs are 'child-friendly'; the priority that States assign to the fulfillment of their rights is inextricably linked to the attainment on these goals endorsed by the international community.” UNICEF and CEPAL will therefore work together to monitor and assess social investment for children and its impact on MDG attainment by 2015 in the region.
Increasing social investment, putting children at the centre of political agendas, and strengthening the institutional capacity of States are some of the major strategies foreseen in the new agreement to reduce inequality and make the implementation of children's rights a reality in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The agreement also covers information exchange on issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender, family, and the rights of indigenous and afro-descendent children, among others. Both organizations will also cooperate in the framework of future Ibero-American summits, supporting the publication of technical documents in defense of children’s rights.
For more information contact : María Blanco, Área de Comunicación, Oficina Regional de UNICEF para América Latina y Caribe. Tlf. (507) 315 74 85. email: firstname.lastname@example.org