In a world over-run with negative news, here is some good news: yesterday, a number of countries including the United States, Brazil, and South Africa stood on an international stage and demanded that the world recommit to securing a just and healthy life for every woman and girl.
The United States expressed its renewed and deep commitment to the world’s women and young people, and it was in good company.
At the United Nations 42nd Commission on Population and Development , the South African delegation asked countries to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights programs, particularly those focused on adolescents, and to involve men. South Africa affirmed its commitment to achieving gender equality and equity by including women and young people at decision–making tables and empowering them economically among other actions.
Brazil reinforced its view that human rights are the foundation for sexual and reproductive health and rights and spoke forcefully about all women’s right to live lives free of violence and discrimination. These are all keys to meeting the goals laid out in The Programme of Action from International Conference on Population and Development, which was supported by 179 countries in 1994. This document is still the blueprint for achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals and for keeping the promises we made to the world’s women and young people 15 years ago. Government rhetoric must be supported by cold, hard cash, but saying the right thing at the right time is good start.
Susanna Smith is the Program Officer for Communications at the International Women’s Health Coalition. Read her bio here.