The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the recent United Nations Secretary-General’s report: Recurrent themes and key elements identified during the sessions of the Commission on Population and Development, which marks one of the final milestones in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 review process.
We congratulate UNFPA for their efforts in undertaking such a comprehensive review of the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA). Uniting and guiding civil society organizations and Member States to navigate the modalities of the ICPD Beyond 2014 review process, to celebrate the ICPD and progress towards universal access to SRHR over the last 20 years. We congratulate Member States for their participation and the work they did to advance SRHR by negotiating ground breaking regional declarations, and their support globally. Through this process we have reflected, celebrated, but most importantly identified what remains to be done.
The ICPD recurrent themes report is a comprehensive overview of all of the status of SRHR, and successfully identifies the most critical issues which must be prioritised in the future. It reminds us of the unfinished business of the ICPD PoA, particularly around unsafe abortion, adolescents and sexual and reproductive rights, and gives us a strong blueprint for future direction. The report sets us in good stead for the Post-2015 development framework and advances the agenda by calling for SRHR to be central to the Post-2015 development framework. IPPF calls for the report to be one of the mandatory inputs into the next stages of the post 2015 process.
Drawing from previous Commission on Population and Development (CPD) resolutions and country statements from CPD 47, the ICPD Recurrent themes report offers much to celebrate, including:
- Recognition of a human rights approach to population and development, without discrimination, particularly for vulnerable groups
- Strong recognition of SRHR, particularly the call for individuals to have a right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters relating to their sexuality
- Calls to invest in human and financial resources to eliminate maternal deaths resulting from unsafe abortion
- Recognition of the rights of people of diverse sexual orientation or gender identity
- Recognition of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, including access to modern contraception and voluntary family planning, as a key component to poverty elimination, achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women
- Acknowledgement of access to youth- friendly services and information, removing barriers to access services for the unmarried
- Recognition of comprehensive sexuality education, and the fact that it enables young people to make healthy choices and ultimately fulfil their potential
- Commitment to gender equality, including preserving the dignity and rights of women and girls by eradicating GBV and all harmful practices, including child, early and forced marriages, and commitment to keeping girls in school
- Calls to removal of all legal, social and policy barriers for key populations at higher risk of HIV and to integrate HIV services with SRH services
- Recognition of the strategic importance of civil society
Although comprehensive, the ICPD Recurrent themes report does not represent all of the gains made at the regional level in the ICPD Beyond 2014 review process. It falls short of recognising some of the advances made in the Regional Population and Development Conference Resolutions and in the ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report. The omissions include:
- Lack of calls for the decriminalisation abortion and to end imprisonment for such acts
- Lack of recognition of the Regional Population and Development Conference Resolutions status as regional plans for the future implementation of the PoA, as agreed in CPD 47
- An overemphasis on data collection with little attention to using the data to scrutinise decision makers and hold them accountable for the delivery of the PoA
- Omission of commodity security as key to service delivery
The ICPD Recurrent themes report recognises the unfinished business of MDG 5B, persistent issues and new challenges, and that despite this, in many areas progress has been made. The future of the ICPD PoA, its future financing and implementation lies in the Post-2015 development framework. The ICPD Recurrent themes reportshould be one of the mandatory inputs into this process.