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Mexico's President Calls for Building Consensuses on Commitments Already Assumed

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10 June 2004|Press Release

ECLAC's Executive Secretary told people not to conform themselves while discrimination exists.

In the presence of the President of Mexico, His Excellency Vicente Fox, the Ninth Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean opened today. It is one of the most important meetings held in this region in 2004, and its purpose is to analyse and monitor policies to improve social and economic conditions and citizens' participation as they affect women.

The president of Mexico's National Women's Institute (Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, INMUJERES), Patricia Espinosa; the Executive Secretary of this regional United Nations' commission, José Luis Machinea; Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Ernesto Derbez; and the president of the host country, Vicente Fox, all attended the opening ceremony of this meeting, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

In his speech, the president of Mexico encouraged representatives to continue building consensuses based on commitments already made at other regional conferences and international forums, and he emphasized his country's willingness to comply with international agreements on gender equity.

The president underlined that achieving gender equity represents a challenge to humanity, to democracy and to the modernization of societies. "We need an ongoing, integral, solidarity-based effort," he said, "to improve women's quality of life and their opportunities for development; to cancel out all forms of discrimination, gender equity is, therefore, a collective construction."

For his part, José Luis Machinea stated that while there have been significant achievements in this field, these should not lead people to become conformists, as long as discrimination persists. Moreover, he also called on those present to leave coming generations a legacy consisting of the effective exercise of their rights: "For this legacy to be fruitful, we must strengthen the progress achieved to date through the commitment of governments, civil society and international bodies. The problem that has brought us together today is not just women's, but rather forms part of the regional agenda in terms of dealing with the problems of social inequity."

ECLAC's Executive Secretary also stated that "more equal participation in decision-making can become an instrument that allows us to hear women's voices and receive their contributions to the building of more equal societies."

More than 300 participants from ECLAC's member countries are attending the conference, among them high-ranking government officials, such as ministers and secretaries, along with the directors and representatives of United Nations' bodies and programmes, bodies specializing in women's issues, autonomous institutions and non-governmental organizations from all over the continent.

The Ninth Regional Conference will focus on the application of international commitments made in the Regional Programme of Action for Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, approved in 1994 by the Sixth Regional Conference, and reaffirmed in 2000 by the Lima Consensus.

Its work will focus on international commitments to women's advancement adopted at world summits held in the 1990s, the Millennium Development Goals passed by the United Nations' General Assembly in New York in 2000 and the Platform of Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in 1995. On this occasion, activities to commemorate next year's 10th anniversary of this meeting (Beijing + 10) will also be approved.

The Regional Conference on Women is a subsidiary body of ECLAC, which meets regularly to identify women's needs at the regional and subregional levels, present recommendations, regularly evaluate activities to implement regional and international agreements and plans in this area, and provide a forum to debate these issues.