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ICPD25: Our reflections

Friday 22 November 2019 MSI Reproductive Choices Contraception, Safe abortion and post abortion care, Opinion

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Last week the Nairobi Summit brought together over 9,500 participants from 170 countries, marking the 25th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action agreed in Cairo in 1994. The event was hosted by the Governments of Kenya, Denmark and the UNFPA and aimed to make actionable commitments to fulfil the promises made 25 years ago.

The Summit centred around achieving three zeros by 2030 - zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for contraception, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.

A joint statement released by 28 UN Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and Working Groups ahead of the Summit called on the “international community to reaffirm unambiguously its commitments to the unfinished agenda of ICPD and increase its political will and investment to women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights”.

By the end of the Summit, the international community had done just that – with over 1,250 commitments made from governments, civil society, the private sector and individuals, including MSI’s own commitment, $10 billion made in new pledges, and UNFPA’s announcement that it will lay out a plan to ensure accountability for the pledges made.

However significant challenges remain. The Summit opened with the launch of new research which put the estimated cost of achieving the three zeros at $264 billion. With only $42 billion expected from donor funding in the next decade this still leaves a gap of around $222 billion. Another challenge is the increasing backlash to sexual and reproductive health and rights, specifically around safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education. There were some anti-choice protests and side events around the conference and although they did not succeed in disrupting the event their efforts were bolstered by the US delegation who spent the week trying to gain support for its statement against the full realisation of women and girl’s rights.

Despite this, the Summit closing ceremony conveyed strong solidarity and political will to unite. Some key takeaways included:

  • Increasing collaboration both within and across sectors
  • Listening to the voices of and funding grassroots organisations
  • Ensuring the neglected issues – including abortion and comprehensive sexuality education – and the most marginalised groups are prioritised.

Mare Stopes International was proud to attend the Summit and be working in partnership to eliminate unsafe abortion and unmet need by 2030, contributing to the realisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.

You can read the UNFPA closing press release here.

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