Friday, November 15, 2019
Members of the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD), a cross-party parliamentary group that focuses on sexual and reproductive health (SRHR), the rights of women and development issues in the Pacific region, participated in the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise, 12 – 14 November in Kenya.
The Summit brought together heads of state, parliamentarians, civil society organisations, the private sector, international financial institutions and many others interested in breathing life into the pursuit of global sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
The Summit marks the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) where 179 governments, including New Zealand, recognised that reproductive health, women's empowerment and gender equality are key to sustainable development. The late HonKatherine O’Regan Minister of Health at the time attended the ICPD and established NZPPD on her return to New Zealand.
Ms Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP who led the New Zealand cross-party group in her capacity as NZPPD Chair said “it’s been an incredible few days listening and talking to people about how the world can change for the better if we work together across sectors to put women and girls in the centre of development. For example, we actually have the power to improve the poor statistics on maternal mortality and that makes me feel hopeful”.
While the Summit celebrated improvements made since 1994 such as voluntary access to modern contraception which has increased by 25% overall, the Summit pointed at how much work remains unfinished.
Every day 830 women die while from preventable causes relating to pregnancy and child birth around the world 214 million women cannot prevent pregnancy because they do not have access to the contraceptives they want, and for the 33,000 girls forced into child marriage every year, their personal aspirations can become significantly stunted.
NZPPD were among other national representatives and groups who re-committed to global efforts of placing women and girls in the centre of development and by 2030 having achieved zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.
“I agree that it is time to move from talking to acting on those commitments made 25 years ago. The time to act is now so that when we meet in another 25 years we are not still trying to realise the rights of women and girls”, Ms Radhakrishnan, NZPPD Chair.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), along with the governments of Kenya and Denmark co-convened the Summit.
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