Government Ministers, officials and experts responsible for population matters from the Federal Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, Republic of India, People’s Republic of China, and Republic of South Africa came together to discuss policies, collaboration, shared opportunities and challenges related to population in Brasilia this week.
The First BRICS Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Population Matters and the Second BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts on Population Matters conference was hosted by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs of the Brazilian government from 10-13 February 2015. The accompanying 'Agenda for BRICS on population matters 2015-2020' was released.
Government ministers and experts focused on maternal mortality, ageing, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, gender and labour force participation, gender equality and the care burden. This came in the context of the twenty year review of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and negotiations on the post-2015 sustainable development framework.
Prior to the First BRICS Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Population Matters and the Second BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts on Population Matters, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) convened the Second Civil Society Forum on sexual and reproductive health and rights 8-9 February.
Civil society organisations and partners from Brazil, South Africa, China and India, including the China Family Planning Association (CFPA) and the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) shared ideas and strengthened collaboration. After the Forum, they worked to support their country's official delegation at the BRICS conference with technical advice.
IPPF has been working with BRICS governments individually and as a group over several years in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights because of their international influence and the millions of people who live in their countries.
Tewodros Melesse, Director General of IPPF said: “I congratulate the BRICS governments on their acknowledgement of the importance of family planning, including access to contraception, comprehensive sexuality education and the integration of HIV services with sexual and reproductive health care.
“I commend their statement that women and girls’ empowerment is a principle and their determination to eradicate all frms of gender-based violence, as well as their recognition of the importance of human rights for the integration of population dynamics into sustainable development for all.”
He added: “Beyond their influence in the post-2015 process, with 40% of the world living in BRICS countries a stronger focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health and gender equality by BRICS governments will make a real difference to hundreds of millions of lives. IPPF Member Associations and their Civil Society partners will continue to work to strengthen the commitments and action.”