Evaluating progress and renewing commitment
In 1994,the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agreed to a far reaching Programme of Action which integrated population, development and human rights agendas. This document reviews the implementation of the Cairo Programme of Action in the Caribbean over the period 1994 to 2013, and makes recommendations on further implementation of the programme beyond 2014.
Recent trends in growth, poverty and inequality in the Caribbean include: the negative impact of the global economic crisis on the Caribbean; declines in extreme poverty; the persistence of poverty measured against national poverty lines; and high levels of inequality. Social, labour market and economic policies all need to target reductions not only in poverty, but also in inequality.
The positive and negative impacts of international migration are discussed along with strategies to maximise the benefits of migration such as engagement of the diaspora in national development, managed immigration, liberalisation of movement within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and protection of the rights of migrants. The ageing of Caribbean populations is analysed as is the need for Caribbean governments to ensure that older persons are able to enjoy economic security, independence, access to health and care services, and protection from discrimination and abuse.
Using results from the ICPD global survey, the implementation of strategies, programmes and policies for persons with disabilities is shown to be either deficient or behind schedule in many countries. There has been progress towards the goal of gender equality in the Caribbean, with important advances in education and the labour market although progress towards equal female representation in national parliaments has been slow and gender based violence remains a pervasive problem.
In the area of sexual and reproductive health there was an expansion in the provision of services, which contributed to lower fertility rates and there were also reductions in maternal mortality. There was significant progress in reducing the rate of new HIV infections. However, in order to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive rights and health, service provision must be further strengthened and barriers to access eliminated. This is especially true for groups such as adolescents and youth, women living poverty and in rural areas, men, persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.