Policymakers are currently evaluating strategies to address challenges that affect the Caribbean region.
To this end, a two-day Population and Development Forum began at the Royalton Hotel on Monday and continues today.
The Forum aims to review the progress made in implementing the Montevideo Consensus, the regional population agenda, ten years after its adoption.
Participants will discuss emerging issues and challenges, share best practices, and agree on actions to hasten the realization of the Montevideo Consensus.
Diane Quarless, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, highlighted that adolescent fertility in Latin America and the Caribbean is the second-highest globally, just below that of Africa.
Furthermore, she expressed concern over the increase in the birth rate among girls under 15 during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Quarless stated that the Caribbean and the world are at a critical juncture.
Poverty, COVID-19, conflict, and the relentless pushback against women’s rights have set back progress, compounded by climate shocks and natural disasters that the region is familiar with. Women and girls and other vulnerable groups bear the brunt of this suffering.
Quarless called on men to stand up against the growing toxic masculinity, champion reproductive rights, and end gender-based violence.
The forum will also discuss the status of implementation, opportunities, challenges, lessons learned, and best practices to hasten the realization of the Nairobi Commitments from the ICPD25 Summit.
Chet Greene, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, welcomed participants to the forum and encouraged continuous efforts to address the Caribbean’s most pressing development challenges.
He highlighted issues such as climate change, high external debt, unemployment, high external migration among youth, and an aging population, which the forum will focus on while seeking solutions.