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CPD: Renewed Support for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gender Equality, and Youth Participation

The week-long 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended on Saturday with governments calling for the promotion of gender equality, young people’s participation, and sexual and reproductive health in the next set of development goals. The Commission emphasized the need to advance these issues to achieve sustainable development.

The Commission, which met at UN headquarters in New York, assessed what progress has been made in the 20 years since the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. There, 179 governments agreed that women’s health and rights must be central to global development policies, programs, and funding. Read more...

Sexual and Reproductive Rights are Not ‘New’ Rights, Says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations, New York, 8 April 2014 – Although sometimes considered controversial, sexual and reproductive rights are not ‘new’ rights, but “are intrinsic to a range of internationally binding treaties.”

That was one of the messages in the keynote address by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, speaking at a side event, Celebrating Cairo and Going Beyond, organized by the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) on the occasion of the Commission on Population and Development. Read more...

CSW: Good News for Women’s Rights

Women Deliver welcomes the strong outcome of the 2014 UN Commission on the Status of Women, where a big battle was fought to prioritize gender equality and view women’s rights as human rights in the next development agenda.

After two weeks of tough negotiations between delegates, advocates praised the strong language around sexual and reproductive health in the outcome document. With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire at the end of next year, the Commission recognized that although the MDGs have advanced progress in some areas, the goals that focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, particularly surrounding maternal and sexual and reproductive health, have made the least the progress. Read more...

Development is Being Derailed by Ignoring Equality, Rights and Women’s Health, UN Cautions

Originally posted by UNFPA

New UN report says development gains from the past 20 years cannot be sustained unless governments tackle the inequalities that hurt the poorest and most marginalized

  • The number of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries has fallen dramatically from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010
  • But many of the estimated 1 billion people living in the 50-60 poorest countries will stagnate as the rest of the world gets richer

UNITED NATIONS, New York — A new report finds that growing inequalities will undo significant gains in health and longevity made over the past 20 years. To sustain these gains, the United Nations ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report argues that governments must pass and enforce laws to protect the poorest and most marginalized, including adolescent girls and women affected by violence as well as rural populations. Read more...

Today is a Significant Day in Mali

By: Molly Melching; Originally posted on Thomson Reuters Foundation

Today, on the UN-recognized International Day promoting the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC), these 14 neighborhoods have decided that they will no longer support the practices of female genital cutting and child/forced marriage. This public declaration marks a major change in community norms.  It will be a reference point people will use for generations to come marking the moment when they, as a collective group, agreed to protect the health and human rights of their daughters. Government ministers, traditional and religious leaders, hundreds of people from Yirimadio neighborhoods, project donors, Tostan International staff and Tostan’s implementing NGO partner, Muso, have all gathered at the Yirimadio community stadium to witness this celebratory event. Read more...

The Center for Reproductive Rights Releases New Briefing Paper on Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights has finalized a new resource titled Substantive Equality and Reproductive Rights: A Briefing Paper on Aligning Development Goals with Human Rights Obligations. International human rights norms have recognized that reproductive rights are women’s rights, clarifying that violations of reproductive rights are primarily manifestations of discrimination, poverty, and violence. Where women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination are not fulfilled, women’s access to reproductive health services and decision-making about their reproductive lives is limited. In addition, where women are unable to access reproductive health services, the inequalities and discrimination women face are exacerbated by the differentiated impact that childbearing has on women’s health and lives, including education and employment. Read more...

Stop Sexual Assaults & Violence Against Syrian Women & Girls

By: Tewodros Melesse, Director-General, International Planned Parenthood Federation; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The humanitarian situation in Syria has sharply deteriorated and though media interest in the conflict has ebbed and flowed the crisis affecting Syrians has steadily grown. Breaches of human rights by both sides and, as bombardment and shooting has continued so has another war -- a war of sexual assault and violence against women and girls. Vast numbers of Syrians are now displaced -- in their own country and around its borders. Read more...

Keeping Complexity in a Human Rights–Based Approach to Family Planning: Is It Worth It?

Submitted by Shannon Harris, on behalf of the team led by Futures Group and EngenderHealth that developed the Voluntary, Rights-Based Family Planning Framework, Originally posted on Champions4Choice

Human rights–based family planning (FP) programming—what does it mean? Where do you start to translate it into practice? How comprehensive do you need to be? It is easy to become daunted by a long list of inputs and activities, such as those listed in the voluntary, rights-based family planning framework developed by a team led by Futures Group and EngenderHealth. The recent Vision 2020 newsletter refers to the overwhelming nature of existing guidance documents for ensuring that FP programs are rights-based and offers a simplified starting point. But will simplification of a complex set of challenges lead to the transformation in FP programming that our field needs? Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Universal Periodic Review as an Inroad to Progress

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kyrgyzstan, civil society groups such as Labrys Kyrgyzstan have been struggling for years to convince the government to expand women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, to develop sexuality educations programs, and to effectively prosecute violence against women and LGBT individuals. In the face of strong gender norms and a legislative system reluctant to respond to domestic violence, the path to progress has been long and fraught with obstacles.

In 2010, Labrys Kyrgyzstan and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) partnered to submit a report to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As a result, the government of Kyrgyzstan accepted recommendations from the Czech Republic and Uruguay to review and reform legislative actions around gender-based violence and hate crimes, and invited Labrys to hold a training for government officials. Read more...

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2013

Today marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The 16 Days Campaign originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.  Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Sex Trafficking Survivors in the Philippines

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that works to end human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls worldwide. It is the world’s first organization to fight human trafficking internationally. With funding received from Catapult,  developed an innovative camp for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation in Manila, Philippines to provide support, education, and trainings. The three-day program, which took place this past September, built the capacity of self-help groups and provided support to survivors through counseling aimed to equip survivors with knowledge about women’s rights, create a safe space to share their experiences, and provide trainings in leadership and organizing. Read more...

Blog Action Day: Girls’ and Women’s Rights are Human Rights

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Today is Blog Action Day, bringing together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages together to talk about one important global issue. This year’s topic is human rights, one which is at the core of sexual and reproductive health and rights. At Women Deliver, we firmly believe that what we call “women’s issues” are issues that matter to all humans, and that girls’ and women’s rights should be advocated for as human rights. Read more...

The Right to Be a Girl: Moving From Rhetoric to Reality

By: Purnima Mane, Pathfinder International; Originally posted on Huffington Post

2013 has been an exciting year for girls. The rallying cry for girls' education, ending early marriage and pregnancies, and preventing gender-based violence is resonating with a more global and diverse audience than ever before. In May, the global health community convened at the Women Deliver conference around the central message that investing in women and girls is not only an important investment, but a smart one.In July, Malala—the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes—addressed the United Nations with an impassioned call to action in support of girls' education, "Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons." Read more...

The World We Want: An End to Child Marriage

Originally posted on Girls Not Brides

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that a new agenda for international development should ensure the empowerment, wellbeing and social protection of the world’s most vulnerable people. In a commentary for the renowned medical journal The Lancet, three prominent figures in international development argue that to translate these principles into action and tangible results, we must end child marriage. Read more...

More Than “Just a Blog”: Chatting With Girls’ Globe

By: Amie Newman; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

As we head into the week prior to the 2013 Women Deliver conference, the largest global meeting of the decade to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, we thought it would be a perfect time to highlight the voices and stories of some of the amazing advocates, from around the world, who are attending this monumental world meeting. Today, meet Julia Wiklander founder of Girls' Globe. Read more...

Now Is the Time to Invest in Girls and Women

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Last month, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history. Less than six months earlier, she was shot at point-blank range by those who wanted to silence her for promoting girls' education in her native Pakistan. In a world that too often punishes and oppresses women, and tells girls that they cannot achieve, Malala is a beacon of hope. Read more...

Partner Spotlight: Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace

By: Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace

For maternal and reproductive health to be realized globally, women’s empowerment at the grassroots level is imperative.  Women’s empowerment is intimately linked to our ability to confront the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century. When women have a voice in decision-making at the family, community, and national level, society as a whole benefits. Read more...

UNICEF: “Addressing Inequalities Is Not a Choice - It’s a Moral and Practical Necessity”

By: Shannon O'Shea and Richard Morgan; Originally posted on UNICEF.org

In his opening remarks at The Leadership Meeting on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held 18–19 February in Copenhagen, Denmark, Executive Director Anthony Lake spoke of the growing inequalities that are an impediment to sustainable and equitable growth.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 21 February 2013 – “[W]e should be asking not only what growth will do for equity…but also what equity will do for growth.” Read more...

How the EU Can Make Valentine’s Day Happier for the World’s Girls

By: Véronique Mathieu and Katarína Neveďalová; Originally posted on EurActiv.com

The right to choose your partner is vital for achieving global gender equality and development: It is the EU’s duty to take the lead in ending forced child marriage, say MEPs Véronique Mathieu and Katarína Neveďalová.
Véronique Mathieu (EPP, France) and Katarína Neveďalová (S&D, Slovakia) are members of the European Parliament’s Working Group on Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS and Development.

Alongside Christmas and Halloween, there are few days in the European calendar that arouse more attention that Valentine’s Day. Love is something universal that unites us all. Read more...

Fewer Girls Threatened by Female Genital Mutilation

UNFPA and UNICEF call for accelerated efforts as the practice begins to decline

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 6 February 2013—Fewer girls are subjected to the life-threatening practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) according to new data from the United Nations, released on 6 February, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The data show that FGM/C is becoming less prevalent overall and the younger generation is less vulnerable to the practice. In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of FGM/C is concentrated, on average, 36 per cent of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53 per cent of women aged 45-49. The decline is particularly sharp in some countries: in Kenya, for example, women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19.  Read more...

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