Guaranteeing Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights for All is Key to Achieving the SDGs




UN ESCAP, in cooperation with UNFPA, has organized the Midterm Review of the 2013 Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development in Bangkok from November 26-28, 2018. As a precursor to this meet, Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Forum was organised, to identify key priority areas and chart the way forward.

Priority areas in the agenda for the review include – Population dynamics & inequality, advancing gender equality, universal access to sexual and reproductive health & rights (SRHR), vulnerable groups and resilience to climate change & disasters. A few key advocacy issues in the agenda include increasing SRH services for underserved population, liberalization of abortion laws, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in formal education curriculum, public funding for CSE and improving regulations & policies to reduce and respond to gender based violence.

As ESCAP and UNFPA look to address these issues, CSO Steering Committee suggested that in order to achieve the goals under International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA) and sustainable development goals (SDGs) 2030, every individual must have access to full range of SRH care. Any approach that fails to address barriers to SRHR, including stigma, discrimination & gender inequality, does not constitute full implementation of these agendas.

Speaking about ICPD PoA on behalf of CSO Steering Committee, Neha Chauhan, Senior Technical Advisor, Advocacy and Accountability, IPPF, South Asia Region Office, said, “Implementation and realization of ICPD PoA is a more important political agenda than ever. Governments, UN Agencies and civil society must come together to accelerate implementation and ensure that universal access to SRHR is a reality for all, which will be the key in achieving SDGs of 2030.”

Committee recommended that ICPD PoA must be made a development and a political priority and its implementation builds on and expands its understanding of SRHR by looking at marginalized and vulnerable communities. The government should ensure a legal and social environment that supports sustainable civil society engagement, allowing CSOs to contribute to society and policymaking.

There has been a remarkable progress in realizing the importance of SRHR and the implementation of the ICPD PoA over the last 25 years. However, much remains to be done to combat inequalities and achieve SDGs by 2030, while ensuring no one is left behind.

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