A three-day global conference on LGBTI rights begins Thursday in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, marking the first time the conference will be held in Latin America.
This year's summit is the fourth edition of the event, which is sponsored by the Netherlands, the Uruguayan government and several LGBTI-rights organizations across the globe. The conference's goals are two-fold: the first priority is to promote best practices for protecting equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex, or LGBTI, people around the world, both bilaterally and multilaterally. The second objective is to better coordinate efforts of governments and multilateral organizations to provide financial and political support for the movement.
During the opening ceremony, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa urged world governments to work with the summit in implementing the proposals that will emerge from the plenary sessions.
"We are gathered in order to ratify cultural changes to our countries, recalling the universality of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are inherent to all people without exception," Novoa said.
In order to ensure meaningful discussion and concrete outcomes, the event addresses four LGBTI issues that are discussed in plenary meetings and working groups, chaired by different countries in coordination with civil society organizations.
Conference resolutions will be shared with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which proposes a series of initiatives and benchmarks for social and economic advancement around the world.
Uruguay chairs the conference, while the Netherlands is responsible for regional collaboration and diplomacy, Argentine coordinates the efforts to identify the best legislation on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The U.S. is the financial coordinator.
While more than 50 countries worldwide now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, there remains nearly 70 countries which criminalize consensual same-sex conduct.