oral statement for the 47th session of the CPD

April 15, 2014

The Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women and our partners from Asia Pacific and the global south welcome the theme “Realizing the future we want: integrating population issues into sustainable development” for this year’s CPD. This could not be more appropriate, as this year’s CPD session is happening right before the week of Intergovernmental Negotiations for Post-2015’s Means of Implementation and Global Partnerships.

We would like to start by stating that it is highly imperative for sexual and reproductive health and rights to be recognized and fully included into next week’s agenda of negotiations. It is without a doubt that a world where people, especially women and girls, are empowered to have autonomy of their choices and their bodies is a just, equitable one and most definitely, a world where sustainable development can be fully realized. Sexual and reproductive health and rights issues are critically inter-linked with most, if not all, of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals and the post 2015 development agenda in its spirit and entirety. Further we stress that the unfinished agenda of the ICPD PoA after 20 years, which puts women’s equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights at the center of development, should be incorporated into the post-2015 agenda.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights do not exist in isolation. They are further exacerbated at the intersectionalities of poverty, and lack of food sovereignty, including food (in) security and nutrition (in) security. Sexual and reproductive health and rights for all remains unattainable when people are deprived of their most basic rights, including the right to food and nutrition for all. The Asia-Pacific region has the world’s biggest share of the most hungry people with poor people having to spend as much as 60-70% of their income on food, a problem growing with rising food prices. Women and girls are over-represented in this context, constituting almost 60% of the under-nourished population.

Asia-Pacific has one of the largest population of young people – a vulnerable set of population with unique needs and challenges. Being a young person is hard enough trying to navigate circumstances due to their age and economic positions that they do not need additional negative and judgmental experiences while accessing services. What they need is to be consulted upon and included into the planning of youth-friendly services as well as be provided with comprehensive sexuality education that would enable them to make informed choices. The term “youth-friendly” would have to be exactly that – welcoming and open to this set of population. We use the term “set of population” because the youth community is not a homogenous one, even though they are categorized as a singular group. Youth come in all shapes and sizes as well as social and economic backgrounds – youths living in rural areas, urban poor, refugee youths, youths living with disabilities and many more. When it comes to engaging stakeholders of any category, a “one size fits all” approach cannot be applied.

Increased migration is also a dire issue for sexual and reproductive health and rights, as amplified migration due to employment needs, conflicts, natural disasters or famine can reinforce traditional gender roles, perpetuate inequalities and expose women and girls to risks of violence and exploitation. Therefore we call for ensuring the protection of migrant rights, inclusive of their sexual and reproductive health and rights and the key role of migration issues in post-2015 agenda must not be left behind.

Correspondingly vital is that climate change impacts women and girls detrimentally, constraining access to services, and increasing maternal health risks and exposure to unhygienic conditions. Climate change continues to erode gender equality and achievement of SRHR. Hence, we demand for policy coherence of commitments to gender equality, SRHR, and addressing climate change, as well as increasing women’s access to decision-making structures and climate change resources. We also recommend that Post-2015 agenda endeavours to eliminate social, political, and economic barriers to women’s enjoyment of human rights as this increases women’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Religious extremisms and fundamentalisms in the region has created a harmful ripple effect towards limitation and regression on sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as access to contraceptives, safe abortion services, early and child marriages, female genital cutting, bodily integrity, and violence as well as the ability to access other rights such as education. There must be a recognition of the implications of extremism and fundamentalism on rights and the political will to address it. We demand for protection from all forms of violence, including domestic violence and rape, and for the protection against gender based violence to remain an integral component of the post-2015 agenda, and within a human rights framework.

We ask for a greater resource allocation within the health sector to improve health facilities and systems to enhance sexual and reproductive health services. Access to a rights-based continuum of quality healthcare across home, community and health facilities, including access to contraception, emergency obstetric care, breastfeeding protection, promotion and support, and skilled attendants at birth should be prioritized to minimize maternal deaths, morbidities and adolescent birth rates. Unsafe abortions remain a large contributor to maternal deaths as very few countries have made provisions for legal and safe abortion services.

In realizing the future we want, we call for the post 2015 agenda to address universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in a truly comprehensive way and beyond the scope of family planning. Any approach must recognise that full access to sexual and reproductive health and rights is inextricably linked with gender equality and its connecting elements.

For the Sustainable Development Goals to be truly transformative, development needs to be contemplated and tacked holistically. The overarching aim of the post 2015 agenda to eradicate poverty can only truly be made a reality if the lives and sexual and reproductive health and rights of peoples, especially women and girls, are put at the forefront and made to matter significantly.

Thank you.

Endorsed by:

  1. Abdul Momen Khan Memorial Foundation (Khan Foundation), Bangladesh
  2. Action Network for Migrant Workers, Sri Lanka
  3. Action Works Nepal
  4. Active Society Nepal (ASN), Nepal
  5. Alga, Rural Women Association from Kyrgyzstan
  6. Aksi! for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice, Indonesia
  7. Arpan, India
  8. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
  9. Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO)
  10. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
  11. Asia Pacific Regional Council ( APRC ) of the International Council of Women ( ICW )
  12. Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)
  13. Asian Rural Women’s Coalition (ARWC)
  14. Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW)
  15. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
  16. Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP)
  17. ASTRA Network
  18. AWAZCDS-Pakistan
  19. Beyond Beijing Committee (BBC), Nepal
  20. Borok People’s Human Rights Organisation, India
  21. Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON), India
  22. Centre for Creative Initiatives in Population and Development (CCIHP), Vietnam
  23. Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia
  24. Chintan Trust, India
  25. Citizen News Service, India
  26. Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center, Philippines
  27. Dabindu Collective, Sri Lanka
  28. Elige Red de Jóvenes por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos
  29. EquityBD, Bangladesh
  30. Feminist League Kazakhstan
  31. FEMNET (The African Women’s Development & Communication Network)
  32. Forum Asia for Human Rights and Development
  33. Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM), Fiji
  34. FIAN International
  35. Federation of Reproductive Health Associations Malaysia (FRHAM), Malaysia
  36. Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, Philippines
  37. Gita Pertiwi Indonesia
  38. GRAVIS
  39. Humanitaire Plus, Togo
  40. Huvadhoo Aid, Maldives
  41. IBFAN-GIFA (Geneva Infant Feeding Association)
  42. Ikhtyar Collective, Egypt
  43. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Cambodia
  44. Indigenous Nationalities Women Youth Network (INWYN), Nepal
  45. Indigenous Women and Children Foundation (IWCF), India
  46. Innabuyog- Alliance of Indigenous Women’s Organizations, Philippines
  47. Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (PKBI), Indonesia
  48. Insan Foundation Trust, Pakistan
  49. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) South Asia
  50. IPPFEast and South East Oceania Region (ESEAOR)
  51. International Coalition of Women Living with HIV Asia Pacific (ICWAP), Malaysia
  52. International Federation of Women Lawyers
  53. International Federation of Women in Legal Careers
  54. Institut Perempuan (Indonesia)
  55. Jago Nari, Bangladesh
  56. JERA International, Australia
  57. Just Associates Southeast Asia (JASS SEA)
  58. Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association (KCLCDA), Nepal
  59. Kirat Youth Society (KYS), Nepal
  60. Kirat Welfare Society (KWS), Nepal
  61. Laghu Seemant Krishak Morcha, India
  62. Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, Philippines
  63. MAP Foundation, Thailand
  64. Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW), Hong Kong.
  65. Narigrantha Pabartana, Bangladesh.
  66. National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD), Nepal
  67. National Network of Indigenous Women’s Organizations, Philippines
  68. National Youth Federation Nepal (NYFN), Nepal
  69. Nepal Women’s Watch (NWW), Nepal
  70. NGO Federation of Nepal
  71. NGO-Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities (NGO-FONIN), Nepal
  72. NGO Gender Group, Myanmar
  73. Nijera Kori, Bangladesh
  74. Oikotree Indonesia
  75. Pacific Women’s Watch, New Zealand
  76. Paryavaran Mitra, India
  77. Pergerakan Indonesia
  78. People Unity Young Society (PUYS), Nepal
  79. Positive Change for Cambodia, Cambodia
  80. Ranao Women and Children Resource Center, Philippines
  81. Réseau Genre et Droits de la Femme (GEDROFE), DRC
  82. Regional ASEAN Youth Forum (Representing Southeast Asia)
  83. Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC)
  84. Research and Advocacy for Women Network, Peace and Culture Foundation, Thailand
  85. Rural Development Organization Pakistan
  86. Rural Women’s Social Education Centre (RUWSEC), India
  87. Rural Volunteers Centre(RVC), Assam, India
  88. SAHAYOG, India
  89. Sangat, India
  90. Sangsan Anakod Yaowachon Development Project (Sangsan)
  91. Save the Earth Cambodia
  92. Saathi Nepal
  93. Shirkat Gah, Pakistan
  94. SILAKA, Cambodia
  95. Sisters in Islam, Malaysia
  96. Society for Appraisal & Women Empowerment in Rural Areas-SAWERA, Pakistan
  97. Society for International Development (SID), Italy
  98. Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégral (SOFEDI), DRC
  99. Sri Lanka- United Nations Friendship Organisation
  100. Sri Lanka Women’s NGO Forum, Sri Lanka
  101. Srijansil Mahila Samuha (SMS), Nepal
  102. Stichting Ultimate Purpose, Suriname
  103. Sustainable Development Foundation, Thailand
  104. The Faculty of Postgraduate Studies, University of Health Sciences, Lao PDR
  105. The Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
  106. The Women and Media Collective (WMC), Sri Lanka
  107. VAAGDHARA, India
  108. Vision Spring Initiatives, Nigeria
  109. VSO Asia Pacific Region
  110. Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH), Nepal
  111. Women for Human Rights, Single Women Group (WHR), Nepal
  112. Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC), Nepal
  113. Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI), Marshall Islands
  114. World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
  115. Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan (YJP), Indonesia
  116. Yayasan Kesehatan Perempuan (YKP), Indonesia
  117. Youth Advocacy Network (YAN) Pakistan
  118. Youth Awareness Society Nepal (YASN), Nepal
  119. Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (YFIN), Nepal
  120. Young Progressive of Southeast Asia (YPSEA)
  121. Young Women for Change NGO, Mongolia
  122. Young Women’s Leadership Institute, Kenya
  123. Yunnan Health and Development Research Association (YHDRA), China

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