IPS: When talking about the Millennium Development Goals, which Latin American and Caribbean countries are expected to meet which goals and which countries are still lagging behind?
ALICIA BÁRCENA: Chile is doing remarkably well and it will most likely be able to stick to the first MDG, reducing extreme poverty by 50 percent. In Honduras, on the other hand, the situation is worrisome with 49.4 percent of the population still living under conditions of extreme poverty.
Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, Brazil, Panama, Venezuela and Mexico have made considerable improvements in terms of poverty reduction and investing in the poor. However, the distribution of wealth and filling the inequality gap remains a huge challenge, particularly in Brazil and Mexico.
One of the continent's major successes in fighting poverty is the Conditional Cash Transfer programme (CCT) which provides money directly to poor families via a social contract with the beneficiaries – sending children to school and bringing them to health centres. Cash provides emergency assistance, while the conditionalities promote longer-term investments in human capital.
CCT has proved to be notably successful when provided to women. The programme does not only make women more independent, it also benefits other MDGs such as primary school attendance by boys and girls and children's health. I expect that most countries will meet both of these goals.
Unfortunately, maternal mortality remains high. The maternal health MDG will not be easily met. First and foremost in the rural oriented countries, women have limited access to health care or they choose to deal with intimate health issues themselves.
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