Women and Sustainability: Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health at Rio+20

By: Women Deliver and Worldwatch Institute

Women Deliver is collaborating with Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project to highlight the important role of women, youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC) is a consortium of 16 former heads of state, policymakers, and other national leaders who, in collaboration with The Aspen Institute, who advocate for expanded access to reproductive health as a breakthrough strategy for lasting development and prosperity worldwide.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates, every year, approximately 287,000 girls and women die from pregnancy-related causes. Globally, 215 million women who want to avoid a pregnancy are not using an effective method of contraception, according the Guttmacher Institute. The GLC advocates that family planning is crucial to sustainable development. Research shows that if we were to meet women’s needs to plan the number and spacing of their pregnancies, population growth would slow and global carbon emissions would decrease by between 8-15 % – the equivalent of stopping all deforestation today.
The GLC is represented this week at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. In a statement this week, the council declared their desired outcome at Rio: “As members of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, we call on the negotiators at the Rio+20 conference to ensure that reproductive health and voluntary family planning have a central role in any comprehensive strategy for sustainable development.” To accomplish this, the Global Leaders Council argues that strong language on reproductive health is vital to negotiations authored at Rio+20: “The language must be reflected in the first two sections of the negotiating document, demonstrating that the words have meaning and will be followed by action. Including reproductive health in a comprehensive strategy for sustainable development is the right and smart thing to do.”
The GLC hosted a side event at Rio+20 today, with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the UNFPA, entitled Sustainability Revisited: Population, Reproductive Health & the Planet. The event – featuring Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway; Musimbi Kanyoro, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Fund for Women; Tewodros Melesse, Director General of IPPF; Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice; and Tim Wirth, President of UNFPA - encouraged dialogue on reproductive health within discussions at Rio+20 this week. Read the full statement from the GLC on their goal at Rio+20, here.

Entry Comments

  1. LIFE NEWS is touting the fact that the terms reproductive rights and reproductive health are not in the Rio agreement. Can you comment?

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