(9 February 2011) Various United Nations agencies met yesterday and today in the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, where they agreed to work together for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will take place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in May 2012.
The various specialized UN agencies will produce, inter alia, an inter-agency document to assess progress and challenges in terms of sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, 20 years after the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, known as the Earth Summit (held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992).
The report will include strategic guidelines to improve some production and consumption patterns, with a view to moving towards economies based on sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.
The decision was made at the meeting of the United Nations Regional Coordination Mechanism for Latin America and the Caribbean, chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, and the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena.
At the meeting, Migiro stated that sustainable development was at the top of the list of priorities for this year, as recently announced by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
"Unike the 1992 Summit, Latin America and the Caribbean can play a leading role in Rio+20, in order to influence the global debate on sustainable development. The inter-agency report we are preparing will enable the region to face this important world conference with a strategic proposal", stated Bárcena.
Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, called on UN agencies to promote the active participation of the region's countries in the preparations for Rio+20, in order to ensure its success.
Through a video link, the Chief of the Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development Division of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, André Aranha Correa do Lago, described the preparations under way in his country for the conference, and called on the countries of the region and the entire developing world to make a substantive contribution to the debate.
The representatives of the agencies gathered in Santiago also committed to contribute to the recently created UN Women, whose Executive Director, Michele Bachelet, took part in the first day of the meeting.
The former President of Chile described to participants the five priority topics of this new entity intended to promote gender equality in the world. Among these, she highlighted extending women's participation and leadership, as well as their economic empowerment and an end to violence against women.
The Regional Coordination Mechanism was set up by a resolution of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN in 1998. It is coordinated by the United Nations regional commissions and chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN. Its main objective is to promote coherence among United Nations activities in each region.
The meeting in Santiago was attended by representatives from the International Labour Organization, the Pan-American Health Organization, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Food Programme and the United Nations Office of Project Services.
There were also senior officials from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, the United Nations Environment Programme, UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Speakers on the first day included the Director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund, Nicolás Eyzaguirre and, through video link, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández Taranco.
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