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Accelerating sexual and reproductive justice to deliver the Nairobi commitments

IPPF welcomes the third and final report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit

During the UN General Assembly High Level Week from 19-26 September, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) participated in the launch of the third and final report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25. 

The Commission is an independent advisory board comprised of 26 members, including IPPF’s Director-General Dr Alvaro Bermejo. The members come from different sectors tasked with monitoring and keeping on track the 1,250 commitments to women’s health and rights made at the 2019 Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, as well as the commitments in the ICPD Programme of Action from 1994. The programme contains commitments from 179 countries to put the rights, needs and aspirations of individual human beings at the center of sustainable development, part of which includes achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. 

The Commission’s 2023 report - Sexual and Reproductive Justice Cannot Wait: All Rights, All People, Acting Now presents the thought-leadership of the Commission and summarizes its findings and recommendations of the past three years. It follows in the footsteps of the Commission’s highly acclaimed 2021 and 2022 reports and is complemented by a 2023 scorecard which includes a range of country profiles spanning all regions. A youth-friendly report is also available, which equally demonstrates the power of sexual and reproductive justice as a framework to link issues, people’s movements and monitoring to keep progress on track. 

The Commission’s Immediate Priorities for Collective Action 

Towards the 30th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action in 2024, the Commission outlines five immediate priorities in taking sexual and reproductive justice forward: 

1. Invest in midwives for health and justice: Universal access to midwives is the most important factor in ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths. More just treatment of midwives and their clients would come from creating more leadership positions for midwives, particularly in ministries of health, gender equality and finance.  

2. Provide comprehensive sexuality education to uphold rights and choices: The Commission points out that the protective power of comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education has been widely demonstrated. It is a starting point for realizing bodily autonomy, which depends on the right to make choices as well as high-quality information leading to meaningful decisions.

3. Achieve justice-informed universal social protection: The Commission emphasizes that sexual and reproductive justice depends on universal social protection that fully responds to intersecting forms of discrimination so that no one is left behind. 

4. Disrupt discrimination through innovation: New digital tools have made sexual and reproductive health care and knowledge about rights more readily available in many contexts. But a global gender digital divide persists; it is most acute in the poorest countries. Artificial intelligence picks up discriminatory gender, racial and other norms and threatens to replicate them widely. 

5. Unleash the unifying power of movements for justice: The Commission contends that people united for justice will achieve it, and encourages proponents of sexual and reproductive justice to find common cause and strength by joining advocates for climate justice, gender equality, youth empowerment, LGBTQI+ rights, disability rights and inclusive economies, among many others. 

Read more about these priorities by downloading the report here.  

Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: 

"I am proud to have served as a Commissioner in the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 over the past three years and to see its work come to a successful conclusion last week. The work of the Commission has been inspiring and important to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice. It also points to the many areas where we remain far from reaching the many commitments made at the Nairobi Summit in 2019.   

Recently, we have seen backlashes against sexual and reproductive health and rights across the world, including the devastating loss of abortion rights across the U.S having a disproportionate impact on poor women and women of colour and the crackdown against LGBTQI+ groups in Uganda with the adoption of a law criminalizing members of the community, in gross violation of their human rights. Ongoing humanitarian and displacement crises in 2023 also continue to impact access to sexual and reproductive health services for those most in need. But on a positive note, we also see how countries continue to take important steps to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the Mexican Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision to declare the criminalization of abortion as unconstitutional, in the wake of the Green Wave movement that has washed over Latin America in the last few years. 

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the ICPD in 2024, we urgently need to deliver on our Nairobi Summit commitments. At IPPF, we are working tirelessly to deliver on our own Nairobi Summit commitments and remain dedicated to helping countries deliver on theirs. Using our unique position as a locally-owned, globally connected organization, we will continue to work in solidarity with donors, governments, partners and communities to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for everyone, everywhere, especially those who are most often excluded and marginalized. Collectively, we also need to move forward on the Commission's call for sexual and reproductive justice. This means ensuring that all barriers to achieve sexual and reproductive health and rights, whether social, legal, environmental, economic or political, are acted on. Now." 


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About the International Planned Parenthood Federation

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.  

For 70 years, IPPF, through its 150 Member Associations and collaborative partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context.

We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.