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A Crucial Agenda for the Post-2015 Framework
In 2014, we are at a crucial point. We must design a new global development agenda that will support the creation of a sustainable world without social inequalities that our grandchildren will be able to enjoy. Securing the sexual and reproductive health and rights is central to achieving this vision.
Today, at the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, IPPF hosted an event in which global leaders spoke about the progress made in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Honorable Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Honorable Julia Duncan-Cassell, Babatunde Osotimehin, Jeni Klugman, Saraswathi Menon, and I agree that the post-2015 framework must recognize sexual and reproductive health and rights as central to sustainable development.
We know from decades of experience that women and adolescent girls who have control over their sexuality are healthier and better able to improve themselves, their families, and their communities. IPPF was honored to have such distinguished champions share their wisdom and experience at the launch of our first Vision 2020 report on how sexual and reproductive rights are central to ending poverty. This report calls on governments to ensure the next global development framework includes sexual and reproductive health and rights as essential priorities.
We are demanding five key components in the post-2015 agenda:
1) A stand-alone goal on gender equality, women’s rights, and women’s empowerment.
2) Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a target under a goal on health.
3) Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights mainstreamed into all other goals.
4) Strong accountability systems underpinning these goals, and
5) Sufficient resources to carry out initiatives.
A first step toward accountability is the availability of robust data and its wide dissemination in meaningful ways. These are essential for empowering women and girls to monitor policies and demand their rights. Given the importance of strong accountability systems, our launch today included our first Vision 2020 data tracker, which charts progress on a wide range of issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. In doing so, this tracker reveals key issues that must be addressed in the next global development framework.
We know, for instance, that there are wide inequalities in access to contraception between poor and rich women in practically every region of the world, but data on contraceptive prevalence among different wealth quintiles is available for only about one-third of all countries. Another key priority must be investments in a group that has long suffered from an unspoken inequality. That group is young people, especially young women and girls. Pregnancy complications is the number one cause of death for girls between 15 and 19 years, yet many young people lack access to the information and services they need to make informed and safe decisions about their sexual health.
In Latin America, nearly 40% of young women become pregnant before their 20th birthday, and more than half of young people in Haiti have an unmet need for contraception. The good news is that we know what to do. We must give high priority to comprehensive sexuality education programs that teach young people about their bodies, gender equality, and human rights, and these programs must be coupled with access to non-judgmental, confidential, and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services.
Last year, thousands of young people from across the world set concrete priorities for the post-2015 agenda and created the Bali Declaration—now we need to make that declaration a reality.
It is inexcusable that 222 million women want—but cannot access—contraception. We know this is one of the simplest and most cost-effective investments we can make to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. That’s why IPPF works in 172 countries to provide the poorest and most vulnerable individuals with the services they want, need, and deserve.
This is the unfinished business of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. IPPF will continue to play a leading role in mobilizing civil society organizations—articulating the voices of those millions of people who do not have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
If sustainable development is the end goal, we cannot afford to leave sexual and reproductive health and rights off the agenda.