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Latin America Making Important Progress

The head of the United Nations Development Programme ( has spotlighted the slow global progress towards reducing gender inequality and violence against women on the first day of a three-day official visit to Chile.

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, met President Michelle Bachelet and Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez Amuntategui yesterday in Santiago, as well as with UN Resident Representatives and Resident Coordinators across Latin America, who have gathered in the Chilean capital for their annual meeting.

Addressing that meeting, Miss Clark said Latin America was on track to achieve many of the Millennium Development Goals (, the set of social and economic target that the world’s countries agreed to try to reach by 2015.

She noted that the region remained on track even to meet the target for reducing extreme poverty – halving the proportion of people who live on less than $1 a day – despite the current global recession, the impact of climate change and high food and fuel prices.

But Miss Clark said that, worldwide, progress towards those MDGs relating to the needs of status of women has been slower.

“In this region UNDP has been very active in addressing challenges related to gender inequality, including violence against women and the need for better balance between work and family life,” she added.

“I believe it will be critical for gender analysis to be applied in the preparations for the 2010 high-level MDG review next year at the UN General Assembly. All development stakeholders need to become more aware of how attending to women’s needs will help achieve a wide range of development goals.”


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