Over 300 Parliamentarians from around the world will gather in Istanbul today and tomorrow for the Fifth International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. Discussions will focus on holding governments accountable to the promise made at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 in Cairo—to protect and empower women in exercising their reproductive health and rights.
The civil society community has high hopes for the outcomes of the meeting, which has gathered more Parliamentarians than any preceding conference. Tewodros Melesse, the Executive Director of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, summed up this interest :
“IPCI is a crucial event. It brings together Parliamentarians from around the world to look at the best ways for advancing the implementation of the ICPD. Without the tireless efforts of these parliamentarians the ICPD PoA would be just another paper plan, but with them, and the incredible support they have shown over the years, this still visionary document has turned into a highly influential tool that has transformed the lives and well-being of millions around the world, particularly those that are most vulnerable.”
This meeting is particularly timely, as the deadlines originally set for the ICPD Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals are fast approaching. World population has recently reached 7 billion, and there is a pronounced need for sustainable resources. Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver, issued the following statement:
“IPCI Istanbul could not come at a more critical moment for the world’s girls and women. The health of girls and women is central to development, and should be a key issue that all parliamentarians consider when helping to develop national plans, reviewing or introducing new legislation, and approving and overseeing the budget. Investing in girls and women is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. When parliamentarians play their part to save girls’ and women’s lives, benefits rebound through their communities, their nations, and their economies.”
Jill Sheffield will be hosting a roundtable discussion on maternal health during the Conference. At the close of the event, a powerful outcome declaration will be issued will be agreed upon by the participating MPs, which will stand as an important contribution to the international discussion on the future of the post-MDG & ICPD development framework. Following the event, this declaration will be published on the conference’s website.
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