This dialogue is organized on the occasion of the Dutch launch of the UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2019 titled "Unfinished Business: The pursuit of rights and choices for all". It takes place in The Hague.
The most important conclusion of the World Population Survey 2019: ‘Universal access to sexual and reproductive health not only relates to the issue of rights, but also the vital importance in achieving other global development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals.’
About unfinished Business
In 1994 the ground-breaking ICPD Programme of Action was accepted by 179 governments. In this ICPD Action Programme human rights are central to sustainable development. The programme recognises the right of all people to be free from abuse or sexual harassment, and everyone’s right to experience their sexuality in a satisfactory and pleasurable way. Young people and adolescents are also recognised as rightsholders in relation to their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
Sexual rights under pressure
A lot has been reached in the past 25 years, though many challenges still remain. Growing political populism and religious conservatism are making it continually more difficult for young people, young women and LGBT people in particular, to make independent choices about sex, sexuality, use of contraception, relationships and having children. For example, only this week Brunei has implemented the death penalty for homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians. Last week, the Trump administration extended its ban on funding for groups involved in abortion or promoting abortion rights, known as the global gag rule. Moreover, we also see a growing trend against abortion in the Netherlands, and topics such as gender and sexual diversity and sexual violence are insufficiently addressed, particularly in education.
It is important to join forces and take action together so that everyone can be part of social and economic developments and benefit from them, and can exercise their human rights and make their own choices.
Rutgers and UNFPA have a long-term partnership. This includes the annual launch of the State of The World Population report. This year 's focus is the 'Unfinished Business' and overcoming the barriers that prevent people from fully exercing their sexual and reproductive health and rights.