They highlight the importance of advancing gender equality in the field of international development cooperation


José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs,Executive Secretary of ECLAC, and Enrique O'Farrill-Julien, Executive Director of AGCID (Chile), on November 27 and 28 of last year led the two-day meeting in which countries from the Americas participated from the south.

With concrete actions, South America is showing leadership in the process of advancing gender equality in the field of international cooperation for development, government representatives and international officials highlighted today at the inauguration of a meeting organized by the Chilean Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AGCID) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The two-day meeting, entitled Cooperation and foreign policy in South America to achieve gender equality: Theoretical, operational definitions and proposals to move towards financing and cooperation modalities, featured welcoming remarks from Enrique O'Farrill. Julien, Executive Director of AGCID, and José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC.

"Latin America has major challenges, perhaps the most important in a development horizon is the imperative of adding the gender perspective to cooperation initiatives, because there is a global consensus that development actions are much more effective if they are consider the differentiated needs between men and women," said Enrique O'Farrill-Julien.

The meeting, which takes place at the ECLAC headquarters in Chile, is the result of the agreements of the South American Summit held in Brasilia on May 30, explained the Chilean diplomat. "In this context, the AGCID, together with ECLAC, has invited its peers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela to this meeting of cooperation and foreign policy in America of the South to achieve gender equality," he noted.

The meeting also seeks to promote synergies in the implementation of agreements in favor of gender equality of two subsidiary bodies of ECLAC: the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Regional Conference on South-South Cooperation in America. Latin and the Caribbean.

According to Enrique O'Farrill-Julien, "gender equality contributes to the construction of more just and democratic societies and allows us to reduce structural vulnerabilities, since it allows us to strengthen civically, politically, socially and economically some of the most disadvantaged groups." ".

For his part, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, stated that "under the circumstances of the development crisis in which we find ourselves, with the double trap of low growth and high inequality, international cooperation for development is essential.".

"At ECLAC we value dialogue, integration processes and the search for concerted voices in the region to promote South American cooperation initiatives from a social and gender perspective," said the highest authority of ECLAC.

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs maintained that "South America can become a region that serves as an example and demonstration, that proves that it is possible to accelerate the pace to achieve substantive equality, the autonomy of women and girls in all their diversity and in all areas, that it is possible to move towards a society of care".

Throughout the 13 years for which there is information, the senior official assured, the levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA) assigned to gender equality have had an increasing trend in terms of mainstreaming (reaching 38% of cooperation programs); However, this has not happened with projects aimed at gender equality as their main objective, since these have remained at around 4.5% of total financing in the last decade. Of that amount, South America receives only 5.35%, and the region as a whole 10%.

"The low percentage of ODA with a gender perspective that goes to Latin America and the Caribbean is related to the categorization of most countries in the region as upper-middle-income countries. This is further evidence of what ECLAC, together with Chile and other countries, have maintained: that graduating countries from ODA based on the level of per capita income contradicts the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals," said José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.

Furthermore, he indicated, since Latin America and the Caribbean was defined as a middle-income region for ODA purposes, ECLAC has identified a significant decrease in the amounts of cooperation in relation to GDP, and compared to what received by other developing regions.

"Latin America, in addition to mobilizing internal resources for its development, still needs North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation to overcome its reduced fiscal spaces and overcome the structural gaps in development, including the structural nodes of equality of gender," said José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs. For this reason, he valued the efforts that South American countries are making to move from agreements and aspirations to concrete initiatives, with budget, goals and implementation, monitoring and accountability instruments.

"I confirm our commitment to the objectives of the Regional Gender Agenda, including that of promoting a new architecture of international cooperation for development and, specifically, South-South and triangular cooperation," he concluded.