Child marriage and early unions are a complex phenomenon related to gender inequalities, poverty, school dropout, violence and adolescent pregnancy. Child marriage puts girls’ lives and health at risk, as well as limits their future prospects.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region in the world where child marriages have not decreased in the last 25 years and ranks second in the world in number of adolescent pregnancies.

Without accelerated action and investment, Latin America and the Caribbean will occupy the second highest position for child marriage and early unions by 2030.

Since 2017, UN WOMEN, UNFPA and UNICEF are jointly implementing a Regional Program in Latin America and the Caribbean to ensure these girls today that they will be adults in 2030 opportunities for their full development.

The objective of this initiative is to promote regional and national actions to prevent child marriage and early unions by expanding options for girls and promoting gender equality with education, protection and social inclusion measures, as well as access to key public services. Likewise, the program promotes the design of policies, programs and legislation aimed at ending the practice.

The initiative supports the needs of married girls, with an emphasis on reaching the most vulnerable girls, including those from low-income, rural and indigenous households.

The first stage includes five countries: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Other countries will benefit from regional activities and it is hoped that they can gradually join the initiative.

For inquiries on this topic, contact:
Marisol Quintero (UNICEF): +507 301 7485 – or



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