Celebrating Progress and Charting the Path Forward: Reflecting on ICPD+30

As we convene for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action’s 30th anniversary, it’s imperative to acknowledge the strides made while recognizing the challenges ahead. The ICPD Programme of Action, a landmark global agreement ratified by 179 countries, established the foundation for reproductive rights and autonomy, asserting the universal human right for every individual to make decisions regarding their fertility and pregnancy.

Over the past three decades, the Programme of Action has served as a guiding light, holding governments accountable and shaping policies worldwide. However, as opposition voices grow louder, there’s an urgent call for renewed commitment and action. The central message of the 1994 ICPD remains as pertinent as ever: safeguarding reproductive choices and autonomy is not just a matter of individual rights but a crucial component of broader development agendas.

The upcoming ICPD+30 presents a unique opportunity to galvanize support for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). By engaging a diverse array of stakeholders including governments, international donors, NGOs, feminists, young people, and inter-faith actors, we can collectively shape the future of SRHR and reinforce the commitments laid out in the Programme of Action.

Failure to engage in ICPD+30 could jeopardize the progress made over the past 30 years and embolden anti-SRHR movements. As attacks on rights escalate globally, it’s imperative to hold the line at forums like the UN Commission on Population and Development and leverage ICPD+30 resolutions to advance SRHR agendas.

Moving forward, FP2030 underscores several key recommendations and messages to guide discussions and actions during ICPD+30 and beyond:

  1. Rights-Based Approaches: SRH policies and programs must prioritize rights-based approaches, respect reproductive autonomy, and adopt a gender equity lens to ensure inclusivity and effectiveness.
  2. Family Planning for Development: Robust family planning initiatives are essential for achieving broader development agendas, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Adequate funding and inclusive policies are imperative for success.
  3. Addressing Teen Pregnancy: Teen pregnancy continues to hinder opportunities for young women. Comprehensive strategies must be implemented to support education, empowerment, and access to reproductive health services for adolescents.
  4. Coordination and Alignment: Governments should coordinate commitments across various global initiatives, maximizing impact and reducing duplication of efforts.
  5. Political Will and Engagement: ICPD presents an opportunity to mobilize high-level political will and build champions among governments. The establishment of a Presidential Task Force can further drive progress.
  6. Inclusive Engagement: Women, young people, and civil society organizations must be central to decision-making processes, ensuring that resolutions and policies reflect the needs and rights of all individuals.
  7. Leave No One Behind: Proactive efforts are needed to include marginalized groups such as migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities in SRHR initiatives, ensuring equitable access to services and resources.

Reflecting on regional consultations, it’s evident that progress has been made, but challenges persist. In Africa, attention is drawn to the demographic dividend and the need for investments in youth SRH and economic opportunities. In Asia, the role of civil society and technology emerges as critical enablers for improving access to family planning services. In Latin America and the Caribbean, focus is placed on preventing early pregnancies and ensuring access to modern FP methods for marginalized groups.

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action, let us reaffirm our commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. By standing together, we can realize the vision of a world where every individual can exercise their fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about their bodies and futures. Together, we can build a more just, equitable, and inclusive world for generations to come.

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