Panama City, Panama

01 December 2016

Secretary-General's message to General Assembly of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament

[Delivered by Ms. Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean]

It is a pleasure to greet the General Assembly of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament.
 
Your organization plays an invaluable role in bringing people together to exchange ideas, build consensus and harmonize legislation on issues of critical importance.
 
Now, as national legislators, you face the challenge of ensuring effective and transformative implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
 
I count on Parlatino as we enter this decisive period for humanity.
 
Around the world, there has been considerable progress in legislation to support sustainable development.  Fundamental changes are being made in many countries to eradicate poverty and hunger, ensure healthy lives, guarantee access to education, end inequalities between women and men, and manage our land and water resources in a sustainable manner.
 
Yet this progress is not uniform. Barriers remain or are being erected that can undermine or prevent implementation of the good laws that have been passed.
 
Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have made impressive gains in women’s political participation in legislatures at the national and local levels.
 
I congratulate Bolivia for achieving parity between women and men in its National Congress. 
 
Cuba, Ecuador and Mexico are among the top ten countries in the world in terms of women parliamentarians. In each of these countries, the percentage of women in the lower or single House of parliament is more than 40 per cent, well above the global average of 22 per cent.
 
But of course, there is still much work to be done on this front, especially in those countries that are falling short of regional commitments for parity and gender balance.
 
Let me also congratulate this Assembly for approving, last year, the Framework Law on Parity Democracy, with the support of UN-Women. I hope to see this translated into national legislation and ultimately into more women in decision-making at all levels and in all spheres of life. Under the leadership of President Blanca Alcala, you can be an inspiration for regional, national and local parliaments of other regions.
 
Thank you again for supporting the United Nations and its global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights.  Please accept my best wishes for a successful General Assembly.