Millions of Latin Americans have better access to clean water and decent housing than 25 years ago. But the region still faces serious environmental challenges, such as deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions - a legacy of the model of development followed in the 20th century.
Traditionally, falling oil prices have discouraged development of renewable energy sources, but clean energy is making steady progress in Latin America, according to regional experts.
In the movie “A Day Without a Mexican“, the mysterious disappearance of all Mexicans brings the state of California to a halt. Would the same thing happen in some Latin American countries if immigrants from neighbouring countries, who suffer the same kind of discrimination, went missing?
Young people in Latin America now enjoy greater access to education. But in many cases their future is dim due to the lack of opportunities and the siren call of crime in a region where 167 million people are poor, and 71 million live in extreme poverty.
The eternally young Latin America is also ageing, due to the rise in life expectancy and the drop in birth rates - a demographic revolution that poses new challenges in a region that has begun to move slowly away from its status as the most unequal part of the world.
Worried about the effects of global warming on agriculture, water and food security in their communities, social organisations in Central America are demanding that their governments put a priority on these issues in the COP20 climate summit.
Corruption and tax evasion are flagrant violations of human rights in Latin America, where they contribute to inequality and injustice in the countries of the region, according to studies and experts consulted by IPS.
In Latin America, young people are the main link in the chain of poverty leading from one generation to the next. Civil society groups, academics and young people themselves say it is imperative to strengthen the connection between education today and decent employment tomorrow.
The Caribbean is in danger of becoming “a region of serial defaulters” with respect to international debt obligations, according to one expert, and this may partly be due to its economies suffering frequent shocks from natural disasters.
Shortcomings in the educational system in Latin America and the Caribbean fuel inequalities that remain hurdles to access to the labour market and safe sex for a large part of the region’s youth.
Industry in Argentina has seen a sustained rise in production, exports and employment since 2003. But in order for this trend to become a structural change, greater import substitution is needed, analysts say.
Nearly 20 years after the landmark U.N. conference on population and development, the countries of Latin America have an opportunity to make headway with a new agenda on these issues, thanks to the favourable economic context that has made it possible to reduce social inequalities.
Houses with sturdy masonry walls and reinforced concrete roofs, looking like they could survive any tropical storm or hurricane, are sprouting up on the outskirts of this city in central Cuba, thanks to the development of local production of construction materials.
A year after endorsing the principles of the green economy at the Río +20 summit, Latin America is making little progress towards sustainable development models, according to experts.
With its abundant natural resources, productive capacity and rising investment, Latin America looks set to become of the main suppliers to meet the growing, diverse and increasingly sophisticated global demand for food.