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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Addis Ababa Statement of Commitment
ISSUE 90 - 17 November 2009
On 27-28 October 2009, over 400 delegates, including parliamentarians and ministers from around 115 countries, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the fourth International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD).
Other participants included representatives of non-governmental organizations, UNFPA, national, regional and global parliamentary groups on population and development, as well as youth, experts and government officials.
During the two-day meeting, lawmakers reaffirmed their support to the principles and goals of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and underlined the indispensable role of its Programme of Action in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They also committed to supporting accessible and affordable health services that promote family planning, HIV prevention and the health and well-being of women and girls.
At the conclusion of the conference, the parliamentarians and ministers unanimously adopted the Addis Ababa Statement of Commitment, in which they pledged to exercise their oversight responsibilities to break the silence around gender discrimination and to promote sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
In this ambitious document, the parliamentarians and ministers also pledged, among others, to:
- Increase budget allocations to at least 10 per cent of national budgets and development assistance budgets for population assistance, and ensure the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance is met;
- Review all laws and practices that still restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services and,
- Strengthen parliamentary capacity for oversight and budget analysis, particularly gender budgeting, to increase accountability and achieve the ICPD goals and MDG 5.
This year's IPCI/ICPD marked the 15th anniversary of the Cairo mandate that resulted in an impressive and ambitious set of goals for improving reproductive health and rights all over the world. Previous IPCI/ICPD conferences were held in Bangkok in 2006, Strasbourg in 2004 and Ottawa on 2002. The next IPCI/ICPD Conference is scheduled to take place in Panama City in 2011.
Addis Ababa Statement of Commitment
We, the representatives of our people from all the regions of the world, gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 27-28 October 2009 to set a course of action over the next five years to implement the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). We reaffirm the principles and goals of the ICPD and recognize the indispensable role the Programme of Action plays in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We must act with a sense of urgency. Time is short. Access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights and family planning for all women is a top priority. Investing in the health and rights of women and girls is smart economics for families, communities and nations.
We endorse the 2002 Ottawa Statement of Commitment, the 2004 Strasbourg Statement of Commitment and the 2006 Bangkok Statement of Commitment. We note that some progress has been made on their realization. But in spite of national efforts and international partnerships, many of our countries have made slow progress on the ICPD Programme of Action, and the urgency to act has been heightened by conflicts, foreign occupation and emerging issues, including climate change, demographic challenges, environmental degradation, and the food and financial crises.
Maternal death and disability is one of the greatest moral, human rights and development challenges of our time, and is the world’s largest health inequity. We endorse those recommendations addressed to parliamentarians in the Addis Call to Urgent Action for Maternal Health of the High Level Meeting on MDG, which preceded the IPCI on 26 October 2009.
To achieve action-focused outcomes, broad based partnerships, including with civil society, academia and the private sector, are essential.
We Parliamentarians, consistent with the Principles of the ICPD, are determined to play our roles in -
Awareness raising and advocacy responsibilities:
- To break the silence, foster dialogue and mobilize parliamentarians and constituents to promote gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
- To hold parliamentary hearings with experts and civil society, and campaign to increase awareness of benefits and barriers to effective access to and utilization of sexual and reproductive health services.
- To include young people as partners in shaping reproductive health and rights policies and laws that address young people’s needs.
- To promote and strengthen partnerships with other parliamentarians, donors, the UN, local authorities, NGOs and the private sector to leverage human and financial resources to achieve the ICPD Programme of Action and MDG5 and related MDGs.
- To ensure full use of the target on universal access to reproductive health within the MDG framework and to mainstream reproductive health into all development and poverty reduction plans.
Budget and oversight responsibilities:
- To strengthen parliamentary capacity for oversight and budget analysis, particularly gender budgeting, to increase accountability and achieve the ICPD goals and MDG 5.
- To demand from national governments improved and specific accounting for budgetary allocations in both recipient and donor countries, including progress reports and addressing shortcomings.
- To increase budget allocations to at least 10 per cent of national budgets and development assistance budgets for population assistance, and ensure the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance is met.
- To ensure equitable access to health services by allocating resources to improve the lives of the marginalized, including persons with disabilities.
- To ensure that a basic package for sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services, including education, maternal health, family planning, elimination of traditional harmful practices and HIV prevention is costed and included in education and health budgets.
- To ensure the timely availability and use of quality and regularly updated and appropriately disaggregated data and the capacity building of national statistical systems to improve information-based development planning, implementation and monitoring of progress on the goals of the ICPD, the MDGs, and the Beijing Programme for Action.
Legislative and policy responsibilities:
- To review all laws and practices that still restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services.
- To demand that governments enforce national laws and implement policies, through the formulation of road maps, to accelerate women’s economic, social and political rights, and to reduce gender inequality and gender-based violence.
- To evaluate national development plans and request governments to include health as a programme priority in national policy dialogues, ensuring the inclusion of the private sector, civil society and communities at large.
- To ensure school curricula furthers the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action.
In exercising these responsibilities to implement the ICPD Programme of Action, we must -
Empower young people by:
1. Recognizing that young people are our most important and irreplaceable resource and that the nature and vulnerabilities of young persons demand that:
a) We divert adequate resources to their education and skill development with an aim to provide equal and universal access to primary and secondary education.
b) We move to facilitate and create gainful employment opportunities for this growing demographic of the population, embracing their right to decent work as a basic and fundamental human right.
c) We create legislative and policy mechanisms to ensure meaningful and effective youth participation of all levels of our socio-political processes, empowering them to influence, implement, and monitor and evaluate national policy that affect their interests.
2. Ensuring consideration and protection for the sensitivity, diversity and the special sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights of young persons, providing accessible and effective age and gender-sensitive reproductive health education and adequate reproductive health systems to address their needs.
3. Uncovering, eradicating and preventing all types of exploitation and abuse against young people, including the illegal trafficking of young persons and economic, sexual, physical and mental abuse, creating a socio-economic and legal environment conducive to the elimination of all child marriages under 18 years and the elimination of discrimination against young pregnant girls.
4. Supporting, measuring, and monitoring inter-sectoral investments in youth development, with particular emphasis on marginalized adolescents, seeking to improve their quality of life, their decision making capacity and their contribution to sustainable development.
Strengthen health systems by:
- Generating the political will to ensure that strong, high quality, accessible non‑discriminatory, transparent health systems are in place by 2014.
- Prioritizing the provision of and access to quality sexual and reproductive health services and supplies, in particular family planning services, including education, informed support and provision of effective options.
- Ensuring access to quality pregnancy and birth services that are engaged with local communities and include skilled, culturally appropriate birth attendants, antenatal and emergency obstetric care, post-natal and newborn care, and treatment and support for fistula in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
- Ensuring a quality, skilled health workforce that includes quality training, a focus on staff retention, engagement with local communities, and flexibility in the scope of practice, task allocation and task sharing.
- Ensuring the preparedness and provision of quality health services for emergency crisis and post-crisis situations, including during times of conflict and post-conflict situations, humanitarian disasters, and refugee and migrant movements.
- Ensuring, consistent with the ICPD Programme of Action and the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD, universal access to post abortion care, and access to safe abortion where not against the law.
- Ensuring the development and maintenance of health data collection systems on maternal and child health, including establishing a national maternal death audit.
Promote access to sexual and reproductive health, including family planning, by:
- 1. Fully integrating a basic and affordable package of sexual and reproductive health services and information in community based facilities, including services for family planning, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, reproductive tract infections, cervical and breast cancer screening and prevention, and maternal and newborn and child health.
- Ensuring specific attention is paid to the feminization of HIV/AIDS, especially among young girls, and that the family planning needs of women living with HIV/AIDS are met.
- Ensuring that national programmes exist for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections.
Promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by:
- Promoting gender equality, equity and the empowerment of women and the girl child through the adoption and implementation of laws and policies that are in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women by those countries that are States Parties, as well as its Optional Protocol, and the Beijing Platform of Action and other relevant non-discriminatory international frameworks.
- Continuously improving and strengthening accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure the full realization of the sexual health and reproductive rights of women and girls, including through dynamic interaction with all relevant stakeholders.
- Supporting advocacy programmes targeting men and boys to promote behavioral change, positive perceptions of the empowerment of women and girls, and the achievement of equity and gender equality within their society.
- Strongly condemning persistent acts of violence against women and girls, demanding that governments ensure there is no impunity for acts of violence against women, and supporting awareness campaigns and advocacy programmes.
- Recognizing that obstetric fistula is largely preventable, and supporting campaigns that emphasize the dangers of early childbearing, the harm and danger of female genital mutilation/cutting and other discriminatory practices, encouraging proper ante-natal care for all women, and ensuring the provision of corrective and reconstructive surgery to all women and girls who suffer from fistula, in addition to psycho-social support and empowerment programmes by governments.
Ensure adequate financing by:
- Calling on donors to address the imbalances and fragmentation of development assistance in terms of coordination and efficient use of aid to allow for a better use and distribution of resources to increase overall coverage for a larger segment of the population to health services.
- Promoting innovative financing methods, while at the same time adhering to ODA commitments for the remaining five years of the ICPD, and ensuring the sound use of development funds, including by ensuring a link between health, budget and education committees to ensure that information and services regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights are included in national development budgets, including family planning, maternal health and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.
- Reviewing current national budget priorities to correct imbalances that allow military budgets to out-weigh health budgets, and to place a greater priority on funding the unmet health needs of their populations.
Address climate change and emerging population issues by:
- Promoting the development of national policies, strategies and plans for emergency preparedness and other programmes addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as responses to local environmental change, lack of access to clean water, and ensuring that analyses of population dynamics and health impacts, particularly on women and vulnerable populations, are incorporated in this effort.
- Demanding that programmes for health and education services address the needs of persons in slums and peri-urban areas, as well as those impacted by sanctions and humanitarian crises, conflict and post-conflict situations.
- Developing evidence-based policies and programmes to address the impact of ageing on economic growth, and ensuring that social protection plans are in place to address the needs of the elderly, taking into consideration the specific needs of older women and the most vulnerable elderly.
We Parliamentarians pledge to carry out these actions and to systematically and actively monitor the progress we make in doing so. We further pledge to report regularly on this progress through parliamentary groups and to meet again in two years to assess the results we have achieved and to look ahead to priorities and emerging concerns that should be addressed in ICPD and MDG successor discussions. We make these commitments, determined to implement the urgent actions contained in this Declaration in order to complete the unfinished agenda of the ICPD.
For more information on the 4th IPCI/ICPD conference, visit: http://www.unfpa.org/public/parliamentarians/ipci2009
All previous issues of the UNFPA Global Population Policy Update can now be found on UNFPA's website at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/parliamentarians/pid/3615.
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as the secretariat for the biennial International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD). The first IPCI/ICPD was held in November 2002 in Ottawa, Canada; the second in October 2004 in Strasbourg, France; and the third in November 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can stay informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow counterparts in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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