United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC or ECLAC, CEPAL in Spanish) was established in 1948 (then as the UN Economic Commission for Latin America, or UNECLA) to encourage economic cooperation among its member states. In 1984, a resolution was passed to include the countries of the Caribbean in the name. It is one of five regional commissions under the administrative direction of United Nations headquarters. ECLAC has 44 Member States and eight non-independent territories in the Caribbean, and reports to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As well as countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, it includes Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and South Korea. ECLAC headquarters are in Santiago, Chile.
Work on gender
ECLAC’s Division of Gender Affairs specializes in gender-related issues through an interdisciplinary focus. It works as a Technical Secretariat of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it also hosts the Gender Equality Observatory, an online database of gender statistics.
In general, its role is to carry out investigations and produce knowledge, with the objective of promoting gender equality in public policy. The Division supports and works closely with Governments, NGO’s and other institutions in the achievement of their goals and commitments concerning equality between men and women. It offers cooperation for development to governments and other institutions and organizations that may request it.
The Division of Gender Affairs also seeks to establish and promote connections between civil society, women’s social movements and Governments in order to assure the compliance to CEDAW, international commitments on gender equality and regional consensus such as the Santo Domingo Consensus.
Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean
The Regional Conference is a subsidiary organ of ECLAC that brings together high-level authorities in charge of issues linked to gender and women’s equality.
The conference convenes regularly, at least every three years, in order to identify women’s needs both at a regional and sub-regional level and periodically assess the activities being carried out to achieve gender-equality objectives and agreements. Its function is to serve as a forum for debating relevant issues and current recommendations on the topic. The XII Regional Conference was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in October 2013.
Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean
Its creation being requested by ECLAC member-states in 2007, it operates with the Division of Gender Affairs as its secretariat, seeking to coordinate efforts of other United Nations agencies, other cooperation organizations involved, and of national machineries for the advancement of women and national statistical institutes of the countries of the region.
In order to fulfill its objective of analyzing the extent to which countries in the region comply with international gender-equality goals and targets, as well as increasing the visibility of these issues, the Gender Equality Observatory works on strategic indicators of gender inequality and analytical tools for policy-making. These indicators and tools are contained within three large conceptual areas of interest:
- Physical autonomy
- Economic autonomy
- Autonomy in decision-making