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Social Panorama of Latin America 2002-2003

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2002-2003

The 2002-2003 edition of the Social panorama of Latin America explores issues related to many of the Millennium Development Goals. Three of the five chapters (on poverty, hunger and gender inequality) assess how likely it is that the countries of the region will succeed in meeting the targets in these areas agreed upon by the States Members of the United Nations for 2015.A chapter on social expenditure furnishes information on 18 Latin American countries and analyses trends in social spending over the last decade. The final chapter examines labour policy and singles out some interesting initiatives aimed at combating unemployment, poor job quality and underemployment.

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Inequalities in access to food

Very low income levels in large sectors of the population and the resulting lack of access to food of adequate quantity and quality are one of the major causes of food insecurity and hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean. Generally speaking, the region produces sufficient food to meet the nutritional needs of all its inhabitants (just three of 23 countries produce 2,200 kilocalories or less per person per day), making it clear that hunger has more to do with highly unequal income distribution and consumption than with an inadequate food supply. Problems regarding food access are complicated by the fact that inequalities are heightened by disparities between the inhabitants of a given country caused by geographical location as well as ethnic, family and gender–related factors. During the 1990s, inequalities in food access either remained stable or increased in nearly all the countries in the region; thus, the reduction that was achieved in undernourishment was attributable mainly to an increase in the aggregate food supply.

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