Each year IWHC issues a publication highlighting the “Top Ten Wins for Women’s Health and Rights” for that year. This week on Akimbo, we’ll be unveiling our latest picks for the top ten wins for women’s health and rights of 2009. Click here to view the list from last year.
During the 1990’s, UN world conferences on population and development revolutionized the way the world views population policy and funding. Specifically, at the UN’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994, IWHC mobilized women worldwide to help achieve an unprecedented commitment by 179 governments to pursue an ambitious 20-year “Programme of Action” (PoA) that places women’s rights and access to reproductive health at the center of population policy.
In April 2009, the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) conducted reviewed 15 years of implementation of the original Programme of Action, and produced a resolution recommitting national governments to priority actions. The first strong intergovernmental statement that implementation of the Programme of Action is essential for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the 2009 CPD resolution placed an unprecedented emphasis on human rights, including in regard to sexuality. The resolution also included a new commitment to “comprehensive education on sexuality and gender equality,” access to male and female condoms, reproductive health services for adolescents, and the importance of SRRH to HIV/AIDS
What’s next: This strong resolution is the result of collaboration and leadership by government delegations and a web of dedicated advocates, and can be used to move implementation strongly forward. At the country-level, advocates can hold government accountable for policies, funding, and programs to meet the ICPD commitments. Global advocates can work with UN agencies and multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, to help them align their policies and funding with the CPD resolution.
Government delegations and advocates will promote reaffirmation of the language of the 2009 resolution in future negotiations, including the UN General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the Commission on Population and Development. This fall, the UN General Assembly adopted a historic resolution to create a strong women’s agency to consolidate and monitor the work of UN bodies. If vigorously implemented—and funded—the resolution promises a politically powerful, independent agency to move adopted goals for gender equality and women’s empowerment forward.