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Parliamentarians at #IPCI2014 Advocate for Rights of Women, Girls and Youth

Women Deliver welcomes the strong outcomes of the 6th International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI) held in Stockholm, Sweden on April 23rd-25th. This event that brought together parliamentarians from 125 countries served to reaffirm the strong consensus among global parliamentarians about the importance of positioning, population and development issues at the heart of the international development agenda.

A forward-looking and action-oriented  declaration called “Stockholm Statement of Commitment” was developed, under which parliamentarians unanimously advocated for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, youth participation,  and gender equality. The statement builds upon the commitments from previous IPCI conferences in Ottawa, Strasburg, Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Istanbul. It also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the end of the original ICPD mandate.

The outcome of this conference is crucial to the development agenda because it boldly recognizes and highlights the need to uphold girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive rights and youths’ equal participation in the development process. The outcome document also bears in mind the need for a systematic, comprehensive, and integrated approach to population and development issues.

The statement recognized that although the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have advanced progress in some areas, the goals that focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, particularly MDG5 which called for improved maternal health and universal access to reproductive health, have made the least progress. Moving forward, parliamentarians called for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; for universal health goals, including universal health coverage; and for a goal on the rights of young people, which highlights the need for investments in quality education, decent employment opportunities, and effective livelihood skills.

Parliamentarians call for the integration of population dynamics into all development planning at national and sub-national levels as a critical foundation for sustainable development, taking into account the need for a life-cycle approach from birth to ageing.Some highlights parliamentarians committed to working on included:

• Enacting and advocating for the enforcement of laws and policies to respect and protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals;
• Promulgation where absent, and advocating for the enforcement of laws to prevent and punish hate crimes without distinction of any kind, and take active steps to protect all persons from discrimination, stigmatization and violence;
• Adopting, designing, implementing and promoting policies, programmes and laws that promote and protect the rights of women, girls and young people, including sexual and reproductive health and rights of all persons, youth access to good education that includes comprehensive sexuality education, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and ensure women’s full participation in political and decision-making processes;
• Advocating for the allocation of appropriate resources, and creating an enabling environment for implementing the ICPD Programme of Action and the recommendations of the ICPD Beyond 2014 review;
•  Advocating for increased development assistance budgets for population assistance, and ensuring the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance as agreed at the previous IPCI/ICPD conferences.

The three day event was attended by dignitaries including  the Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden; Ulrika Karlsson, Chair of the Swedish All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA; and Hillevi Engström, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation.

The conference was organized by UNFPA and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development, together with the Swedish Parliament, the Swedish All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read Stockholm Statement of Commitment here

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