By Elina Korhonen (Väestöliitto, C2030E partner)
The annual session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) is a critical space for countries and advocates to affirm and further their commitments to advance human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights.
The 2019 CPD session opened with the adoption by consensus of a political declaration underscoring the critical role of population-related measures and policies in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Access to sexual and reproductive health-care services are key for sustainable development
The use of modern methods of family planning (FP) has risen significantly. Globally, among married or in-union women of reproductive age who express a need for family planning, the proportion for whom such need is satisfied with modern methods of contraception increased from 72% in 1994 to 78% in 2019. Nonetheless, in 44 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, less than half of women’s demand for family planning is being met by use of modern methods.
Globally, the birth rate for those aged 15 to 19 declined from 65 births per 1,000 women around 1994 to 44 per 1,000, currently. The highest levels of adolescent childbearing are found in sub-Saharan Africa (101 births per 1,000 adolescent women) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (61).
In introducing the political declaration, Courtney Rattray of Jamaica, Chair of the Commission, said that while the CPD had not previously adopted a political declaration, other UN bodies had, including the Commission on the Status of Women in 2005, 2010 and 2015.
The political declaration:
- Reaffirms the commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action, critical actions for its further implementation, and the outcomes of its reviews, including regional reviews
- Welcomes the progress made so far in the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Calls for accelerated implementation of the Programme of Action, without which the SDGs will not be met
- Underlines the critical role of partnerships with Civil Society and Foundations
- Encourages Governments, the UN System and International Financial Institutions to assist developing countries in implementing the Programme of Action through technical assistance and capacity-building
- Emphasizes the importance of high-quality disaggregated data for measuring progress towards achieving the SDGs
- Calls on UN System, all sectors of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to fully commit and intensify their efforts for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The CPD52 highlighted that measures to increase the quality of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights of the world’s population have been taken in many countries, but there are challenges that remain – and are very persistent. A lot of speakers emphasized the fact that millions of women and girls around the world still hardly have access to sexual and reproductive health services, despite increased efforts and funding from Members States and non-state actors. This means that, in the 21st century, 25 years after the Cairo meeting, many still live with the consequences of unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, do not have access to modern family planning, and most importantly, hardly ever have the possibility of enjoying youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health care. The CPD52 also stressed the importance of Member States to increase their efforts to completely eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation, sex slavery, child marriage, and domestic violence.
The Universal Health Coverage and SRH/FP
With the upcoming High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September 2019, a lot of voices from Member States but also non-state actors mentioned that the Universal Health Coverage must include sexual and reproductive health services, and must ensure that the services are inclusive and non-judgmental, especially towards marginalized groups.
The most important follow-up meeting of this year’s CPD will be the Nairobi Summit on ICPD+25: Accelerating the promise, which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 12-14 November, 2019. Countdown2030 Europe will be monitoring and engaging in the process closely, so stay tuned!