Africa: High-Level Commission On Nairobi Summit Endorses Justice Framework to Accelerate Commitments and Counter Backlash Against Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

The High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-up has launched a groundbreaking new report making sexual and reproductive justice a vehicle for delivering on people’s rights and choices.

Marking the third anniversary of the landmark 2019 Nairobi Summit, the report calls for better services and maps a far-reaching justice agenda. Entitled Sexual and reproductive justice as the vehicle to deliver the Nairobi Summit commitments, the report urges unwinding social, political, economic and other disparities that hamper advancement on a spectrum of global and national commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Sexual and reproductive justice requires dismantling discrimination, challenging the unequal distribution of power and ending marginalization. This process tackles multiple, often intersecting kinds of discrimination, including those related to gender, race, ethnicity, income level, location and disability.

“For all countries, continued development and realization of the Sustainable Development Goals depends on achieving sexual and reproductive justice,” said Commission Co-chair H. E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Co-chair The Right Honorable MichaĆ«lle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, underlined that the framework can apply universally, including in crisis situations. “We must leave no one behind,” she emphasized. “Sexual and reproductive justice is a framework for solidarity and for people to work together on issues that concern all of us.”

The report outlines how to use a sexual and reproductive justice framework to analyse the conditions in a community and broader society that determine sexual and reproductive destiny, going beyond individual choices and access to services. It provides a rallying point for social movements to establish momentum powerful enough to propel necessary changes.

Based on tracking numerous country and global commitments made at the Nairobi Summit, the report finds increasing alignment with sexual and reproductive justice through measures paying explicit attention to marginalized and vulnerable populations and a slew of new reproductive rights legislation. A high number of commitments prioritizing sexual and gender-based violence offers a potent entry point to promote sexual and reproductive justice.

Some improvement is evident in meeting unmet need for family planning. But no region has registered positive movement towards zero preventable maternal deaths. Domestic and international finance, while critical to sexual and reproductive justice, persistently lags commitments. More than 4 billion people globally will lack access to at least one key sexual and reproductive health service during their lives.

Almost all countries have committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights, notably at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. Despite signs of progress, rights and choices remain compromised on multiple fronts, however, and the pressures are mounting fast. Authoritarianism, far-right rhetoric and populist movements are on the rise, pushing back gains. COVID-19, food insecurity and climate change are worsening disparities and further compromising human dignity, security and well-being.

UNFPA will host a high-level event to launch the report in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania, from 9-11 November 2022. Participants will include H. E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania (TBC), Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director, the Commission Co-chairs and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, a member of the Commission, among others.

Established in September 2020, the High-Level Commission annually tracks progress on the set of 12 Global Commitments made at the Nairobi Summit and provides guidance and political backing for meaningful follow-up. Coming from diverse backgrounds in governments, civil society, parliaments, youth and faith-based organizations, the private sector and others, Commission members provide recommendations to remove bottlenecks and accelerate momentum towards a world of rights and choices for all.

Besides the core Global Commitments, the Nairobi Summit led to more than 1,300 commitments made by some 140 Governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders from 172 countries and territories. Follow-up actions are steps towards achieving three transformative results: zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices. All three are central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

For more information: UNFPA Tanzania CO | Warren Bright | bwarren@unfpa.org

UNFPA Regional Communication Adviser, East and Southern Africa | Daisy Leoncio | leoncio@unfpa.org

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