Ministers and delegations representing fourteen countries from across Latin America came to Quito for the Tenth Forum of Ministers of Social Development. The event, held from October 3-4 sought to devise common strategies to combat the conditions that have historically made Latin America one of the most unequal regions in the world.
While the forum was Latin American in focus, special guests came to Quito from Haiti, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Malaysia to participate in presentations and discussions.
“We have been looking to reduce poverty, for this reason Colombia has managed to get 3 million Colombians out of poverty in the last four years, and we want to share this experience with other countries, and at the same time learn from other countries,” said Executive Director of the Department of Social Prosperity Tatyana Orozco to teleSUR English.
Ecuadoran Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Betty Tola opened the event, along with Secretary General of UNASUR Ernesto Samper and Argentine Minister of Social Development Alicia Kirchner. The central topic of the Quito summit was; Surpassing inequality in Latin America: Social Transformations and Public Policies.
Regional participants drafted the Declaration of Quito, which includes the proposals and agreements reached in the forum. It seeks to strengthen cooperation and devise public policies to diminish poverty and social inequality, while ensuring greater rights are experienced by all.
Secretary General of UNASUR, Ernesto Samper, told teleSUR English, “Today we have 70, 80 million less poor people than we had 10 years ago, but we are still plagued by inequality. We continue to have asymmetrical problems. There are some very poor regions, and other very rich regions. There is very low quality education, and there is high quality education.”
He went on to say, “There are very important differences in gender- this is possibly the region with the most gender discrimination. So, what I have proposed this morning is that we go beyond the simple fight against poverty to a fight against inequality.”
The forum focused on strengthening ties between academic investigation and public policy on the national and international levels. Representatives from universities contributed to discussion and the Declaration of Quito. Poverty eradication, accessibility of public services and job creation were among the themes discussed.
The 17 objectives of the Declaration of Quito were announced by Ecuadorian Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Betty Tola in the closing ceremony, and it was announced that the forum of ministers will be held in Nicaragua in 2016.