STRATEGIZING GLOBALLY TO ENSURE SEXUAL AND RERODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (SRHR) STRONGLY FEATURES IN THE POST2015 FRAMEWORK.
The UNFPA has for long established itself as a leader in advocating for SRHR, from 1994 since the adoption of the landmark ICPD Program of Action by 179 governments. UNFPA continues to lead the process of implementation of the ICPD and ensure that governments commit to respect SRHR at the highest level. The UN Agency is mandated to be custodian of SRHR for all people around the world. The most recent review of the land mark ICPD program of Action is the Beyond 2014 review whose strong recommendations and conclusions are captured in the ICPD Global report.
UNFPA convened civil society stakeholders to brainstorm together on how best to move forward the positive recommendations and conclusions into the post 2015 development agenda. The Africa CSOs Coalition on Population and Development was represented by various members from different parts of Africa and representing various constituencies including young people. Mr.Kwabena Osie Danquah, The Executive Coordinator of the ICPD Beyond 2014 secretariat set the tone having ably led the ICPD Beyond 2014 review . He pointed out that the assets and tools that came out of the review can be useful in the advancement of SRHR for the next 15years through the post 2015 framework. Notable of the process is that one of the key outcomes is the network of civil society and groups of people mobilized during the ICPD Beyond 2014 review, this mobilization was successful in a way not seen since 1994. Another outcome for going forward is the progressive language in at least four of the regional reviews including the Addis Ababa Declaration born out of the 2013 Africa review.
During the most recent UN general Assembly, we had the special session on the ICPD in which we heard strong commitment from presidents, ministers and leaders including strong language on the framework for actions despite the seeming lack of support for SRHR during the CPD47th . These are major tools for advocacy. Worth noting is the fact we already have some milestones regarding SRHR within the post 2015 development agenda through target 3.7 and 5.6. The target 5.6 captures the ICPD and Beijing Platform for Action including the mention of implementing outcomes of their subsequent reviews. Most of the participants at the strategy meeting felt that it was a milestone worth celebrating in the post 2015 advocacy space where SRHR issues are competing with other issues such as climate change, food security, globalization, Education amongst others. Retaining the 2 targets was important and hence most of those present were against the technical proofing through which the open working group report on the sustainable development goals would be opened, which would be risky for the gained realized this far.
What however was strongly articulated and of immediate importance about the meeting was the need to propose strong indicators on the 2 SRHR focused targets.
This was done through working groups whose outcomes were quite clear on the need for strong, inclusive and forward looking language. The proposed indicators were critiqued for not featuring young people enough, for example we lacked a proposed indicator on youth friendly services despite being in a space that should embody inclusivity and recognition for meaningful youth engagement. Young people in the rural areas rely on advocates like us representing them in such meeting to defend their interest. The need for indicators that measures qualitative aspects of SRHR was also emphasized such as the quality of maternal health, gender and power for CSE program and the inclusion of all groups of people without distinction during service provision.
The financing for development process was also seen as an important process for those present to engage in given its significance on SRHR financing. A critical analysis of the report submitted by the International Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing bore conclusions that the report lacked a gender analysis. This shows that there is a need to engage in discussions around financing to ensure that actions towards women’s rights including SRHR and gender equality are implemented. There was also the Global Financing Facility by World Bank that is much more focused on SRHR financing and whose consultations are on-going.
The world is much more diverse, fragile with the various conflicts, climate change, and more people being displaced while numbers of immigrants continue to rise, much more dynamic as inequalities rise even though many people are getting out of extreme poverty. These are important footnotes when one is engaging in advocacy within the post 2015 advocacy; however the elements of universality, equity, big data and human rights should be underlying as we continue to lobby.
At the end of the meeting, there were action plans from various regions including Africa through the African CSOs Coalition on Population and Development. This cemented the need for a unified and shared vision executed through the unique contexts presented by regions from which we all came from and opportunities therein. Africa is uniquely positioned with Kenya co facilitating the intergovernmental negotiations having co-chaired the open working group, another milestone for Africa is the fact that the president of the General Assembly is from Uganda and for upcoming CPD48, and Zambia will be one of the vice chairpersons on the bureau. This presents a lot of opportunity for Africa to lobby and advance the SRHR in the spirit of leaving no one behind. Finally the 3rd conference on Financing will be held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, this presents a lifetime opportunity for Arica to make it right for young people, women and girls including groups that have been left behind.
The meeting was fruitful and all we can do is to continue working together to make sure the world becomes a better place for all!!!