Youth advocates share pressing recommendations with UNFPA in run-up to Nairobi Summit

This year marks 25 years after the signing of the ICPD Programme of Action. In the run-up to the anniversary celebrations in November, UNFPA is joining forces with the strategic partnership Right Here Right Now to advance SRHR for all. At a special reception in Naivasha, Kenya, all parties re-affirmed their commitments and young advocates from across the international partnership shared their recommendations and experiences.

Holding governments accountable

“Since 1994, Honduras has taken some steps forward on SRHR. However, we now see majors setbacks. We have a ban of emergency contraceptives and very high rates of teenage pregnancy”, said Natalia Lozano, National Coordinator of RHRN Honduras. “We want to hold our government accountable for their lack of implementation of the plan of the ICPD Programme of Action.”

“ICPD means a global endorsement that SRHR are human rights. Securing these rights is the obligation of every country”, said Tendaishe from Zimbabwe. “My country is doing quite well in achieving targets, but we need to continue advocating for youth-friendly services and CSE. We hope we can share recommendations on these issues with you, to encourage decision-makers on this law. And we want strong government commitments.”

There was also a notable call to make the summit inclusive. “We want to see UNFPA taking a leading role on advancing the SRHR of all, and give voice to youth and LGBTI people”, added Sanila Gungung from Right Here Right Now Nepal.

Responding, Ezizgeldi Hellenov, UNFPA Kenya Deputy Representative, said: “You raise very important issues. It’s about rights and choices of individuals. It’s about young people coming to the summit and accelerating the promise of Cairo. Let’s be active and constructive, and raise our voice on unfinished business.”

Amplifying and accelerating

In preparation of the Nairobi Summit the Right Here Right Now partnership composed 102 recommendations in its shadow report Amplifying and Accelerating Action on Young People’s SRHR. which highlights the critical importance of the ICPD+25 review processes in addressing the SRHR issues often left at the margins: comprehensive sexuality education, youth-friendly SRH services, safe and legal abortion and LGBTI rights. The young RHRN advocates presented this report to UNFPA.

Working together constructively

“Right Here Right Now has proved to be really special in several ways”, said Ton Coenen, Executive Director of Rutgers. “It’s special because of the active involvement of young people, but also because we focus on sensitive topics. We address those issues at the global level, like we did at CPD where we hosted an event on youth involvement in the ICPD agenda. The question now is: how can we make sure we contribute in the best way to the upcoming Nairobi summit?”

“We’re very excited to have this conversation, and to partner with you, to make the Nairobi summit a success”, responded, John Motosi, UNFPA Representative for the ICPD+25 Nairobi Summit. “We want to work together positively and constructively.”

More information about the 25th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action, as well as the shadow report, can be found here.

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