About Susana Chavez

Susana Chavez is President of the steering committee in PROMSEX (Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos), based in Peru.

Cairo 20 years later – the challenges in Latin America

The 1994´s scenario in Latin America, when the “IV International Conference on Population and Development” in Cairo took place, no longer exists. This conference showed the need to fully respect women’s rights for the purpose of development.  In those days, several Latin American countries had incipient democracies, faced the emergence of serious corruption, as well as violation of human rights cases,  and a very deep economical crisis, so deep that it made us fear it would impossible to recover from it.

Twenty years have passed and the scenario seems to be quite different. The region shows encouraging macroeconomic figures. According to the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean – ECLAC data, 54% of the population was poor in 1994.  By 2012, this figure was down to 28%. North-South and East-West trade agreements have been established and most Latin American countries are no longer destinations considered just for adventure trips.  Now the region has fancy hotels and a range of tourist destinations to choose from.


Photo: Alex E. Proimos on Flickr

Nevertheless, some things never change, especially when we talk about marginalized groups, not touched by the economic growth. This has caused the region to be considered as one of the most inequitable. In fact, Latin America still has a lingering poor cluster, and it is the same as it was back in the nineties: indigenous and rural people, whose delay in development goes back about four decades and whose prospects of improvement are not promising at all.  Their basic needs, such as education and health, that should be covered by the state, do not seem to be fulfilled, condemning them to unending poverty.

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