Dispatch

20 June 2012

Rio+20: Nations Renew Agreements on Reproductive Health, Family Planning, Youth and Women’s Empowerment

Acknowledges the rights and roles of women and young people in sustainable development efforts.
IMG_0211.JPG

High hopes have been pinned on the outcome of the Rio+20 Summit.  Photo: Ulisses Lacava/UNFPA

RIO DE JANEIRO —On the eve of the official opening of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Member States announced that they had agreed on the Conference’s outcome document, The Future We Want.

“We now have a text which will be adopted at the Conference,” Rio+20’s secretary-general, Sha Zukang, said in a statement. “We think the text contains a lot of action, and if this action is implemented, and if follow-up measures are taken, it will indeed make a tremendous difference in generating positive global change.”

Delegations worked on the consolidated text for days before announcing their agreement on Tuesday.

Mr. Sha stressed that since the document is the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations, it is a “compromise text,” in which countries have had to both give and take to achieve progress. The text will now be put forward for adoption by Heads of State at the conclusion of Rio+20 on Friday.

The agreed outcome document spells out action points such as the need to establish sustainable development goals and mobilize financing for sustainable development, as well as the promotion of sustainable consumption and production, among others.

It also stresses the need to include women and youth in the sustainable development agenda, calling for the full and effective implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the outcomes of its review conferences.

“We emphasize the need for the provision of universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health and the integration of reproductive health in national strategies and programmes,” the agreement states, reiterating Member States’ commitment to reduce maternal and child deaths, and to improve the health of women, men, youth and children.

“We reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and to protect the rights of women, men and youth to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including access to sexual and reproductive health, free from coercion, discrimination and violence,” the agreement highlights.

According to the agreed text, Member States will work actively to ensure that health systems provide the necessary information and health services addressing the sexual and reproductive health of women. This will include the work towards universal access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning, as this is essential for women’s health and advancing gender equality.

In another section, the agreement stresses the commitment to promote the equal access of women and girls to education, basic services, economic opportunities and health care services, including addressing women’s sexual and reproductive health, and ensuring universal access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning:

“In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to implement the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the key actions for the further implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.”

Rio+20 Summit runs from 20-22 June, and is expected to bring together over 100 Heads of State and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, chief executives and civil society leaders to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.

Read the full agreement.