Landmark Declaration on population, climate change and sexual and reproductive health services

Anjali Sen's speech at the  Asia Pacific Parliamentarians’ Conference on Environment and Development

Seoul, Republic of Korea, November 11, 2017 – Today, 57 members of parliament, speakers and senators from 15 countries gathered to pass the landmark Seoul Declaration at the 18th General Assembly of the Asia Pacific Parliamentarians’ Conference on Environment and Development (APPCED). Supported by the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, the Korea Population, Health and Welfare Association, an IPPF Member Association, and the Korean Parliamentary League on Children, Population and Environment, the Conference provided a platform for leaders to discuss how to prioritise the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in an integrated way.

Calling on member states and parliamentarians to recognise the interlinkages between population, climate change and access to sexual and reproductive health services, the Declaration sets out an unparalleled commitment for Parliamentarians to take action on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Building on previous APPCED Declarations and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which came into effect on 4 November 2016, the Seoul Declaration sets out the commitment of parliamentarians to ensure that they act urgently and decisively to respond to the negative impacts of environmental degradation, climate change and unsustainable development, and resolve to work together to develop innovative and gender responsive approaches to climate change. It calls on members of parliament to play a full role in supporting the monitoring of progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in their own countries, and to ensure that they are holding their governments to account for the commitments made through the 2030 Agenda.

The Declaration also emphasised the importance of ensuring that countries develop resilience and are prepared for emergencies, and specifically called on the importance of implementing programmes of essential lifesaving services, including reproductive and health services, in emergency settings.

Speaking at the APPCED conference, Anjali Sen, Regional Director of the South Asia Regional Office and Acting Divisional Director, External Relations of IPPF’s Central Office appreciated the support that the Government of the Republic of Korea has given to sustainable development, and the commitment of all the participants to usher in a new world. She said: “We are all here today, in South Korea, because we are all trying to find a way to work for a better, fairer world. The SDGs call on us to “transform our world”, a call that has been heeded by many of the leaders in this room. It is time for this transformation.” 

The Seoul Declaration is the first step towards achieving that transformation; it was clear from active and engaged participation of the ACCPED in this agenda that Asia Pacific Parliamentarians are committed to making this ambition a reality.