IPPF calls for prioritization of sexual and reproductive health within climate change adaptation

Marrakesh, Morocco 18 November 2016 - IPPF commends the United Nations’ annual climate change conference, COP22 in Marrakesh, for recognizing health and gender as important ways to achieve climate adaptation goals.  

IPPF works with partners in the Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) to advocate for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as a critical and cost-effective approach to climate change adaptation and resilience building.

COP22 was applauded as “the COP of Action”, in furthering progress made at COP21 in Paris which proved ground-breaking in recognizing the right to health, and the importance of gender responsive action on climate change. Global leaders have committed to respecting human rights, the right to health, gender equality and the empowerment of women. While there was agreement in Marrakesh that women are part of the solution to climate change, the essential activity of ensuring SRHR has not been adequately included. There is an urgent need to include SRHR in National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPAs), as well as other climate change policies and strategies.

SRHR and climate change issues are inextricably linked. Providing women and families with the means to prevent unwanted pregnancies meets an expressed need, and can also improve the socio-economic status of women, reduce the strain on the environment, and improve natural resource conservation. Ensuring SRHR is a critical, human rights-based, and cost-effective approach to climate change adaptation and resilience building. 

Tewodros Melesse, Director General of IPPF said: “I am pleased that world leaders have affirmed their commitment to health and gender in Marrakesh, but SRHR needs to be recognized explicitly as a way for communities to adapt to the changing climate. When women are able to plan and space their children, they and their families are healthier, and more resilient to the realities of climate change.”

Mr Melesse added:  “Now is the time for global leaders to consider the urgency and importance of girls’ and women’s health, and to ensure that SRHR is recognized as a cost-effective climate change adaptation strategy. I hope that the ambition of the Paris Declaration will be matched by political and financial prioritisation.”