Child marriage and early unions in Latin America and the Caribbean
An alliance for the rights of girls
1 OF 4 GIRLS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN MARRIES OR ENTERS IN EARLY UNION BEFORE 18 YEARS.
Child marriage and early unions are a complex phenomenon related to gender inequalities, poverty, dropout, violence and teenage pregnancy. Child marriage puts girls' lives and health at risk, as well as limiting their future prospects.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region in the world where child marriages have not decreased in the last 25 years and occupies the second place in the world in the number of teenage pregnancies.
Without accelerated actions and investments, Latin America and the Caribbean will occupy the second highest position in child marriage and early unions by 2030.
Since 2017, UN WOMEN, UNFPA and UNICEF are jointly implementing a Regional Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean to assure today girls that will be adults in 2030 have opportunities for their full development.
The objective of this initiative is to promote regional and national actions to prevent child marriage and early unions by expanding options for girls and promoting gender equality through education, protection and social inclusion measures, as well as access to key public services. The program also promotes the design of policies, programs and legislation aimed at putting an end to the practice.
The initiative supports the needs of married girls, and emphasizes reaching the most vulnerable girls, including those of indigenous, rural and low-income households.
The first stage includes five countries: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Other countries will benefit from regional activities and are expected to gradually join the initiative.
- In 2017, El Salvador and Guatemala celebrated the elimination of all legal exceptions at the minimum age for marriage (18 years) nationwide.
- The National Development Plan of Colombia (2018-2022) includes an objective dedicated to eliminating child marriage and early unions.
- To support legal reforms at the age of marriage in the Dominican Republic, a joint Twitter campaign by UN agencies and partners was the trending topic on April 11, 2018, coinciding with the debates about child marriage and early unions in Parliament, reaching more than seven million people.
- In Belize, an intersectoral national roadmap is being prepared around child marriage and early unions that includes key actions within sectors such as health, education and justice. Watch video
- In the Dominican Republic, girls 'clubs have been launched and national youth leadership camps have been organized to develop leadership skills, foster girls' empowerment and build networks among participants.
- Also in the Dominican Republic, at the initiative of UNICEF, the innovative soap opera-style "The Worst Soap Opera" was broadcast to challenge social tolerance and shift perceptions on child marriage. The campaign won three awards at Cannes Lions 2018, the most important international festival of advertising and creativity.
Interagency programme UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF:
Infographic Folder of the interagency programme: Download brochure (available in Spanish and English).
UNICEF-UNFPA Global Child Marriage and Early Unions Programme
See progress and updates of the Global Programme
Report: Executive Summary Santo Domingo (available in English, Spanish, and as a poster).
From Child Marriage and Early Union to pregnancy in childhood and adolescence, LESS rights for girls (only available in Spanish)
Child Marriage and Early Unions,a story without a happy ending (only available in Spanish)
Regional Study Plan International and UNFPA:
Co-implementation sister agencies:
Global and regional partners and allies with actions to end the CMEU in LAC: