8th International Dialogue

Making sexual and reproductive rights a reality: What does it take?

8th International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development
Making sexual and reproductive rights a reality: What does it take?
October 05-06, 2010

Objective

In addition to fostering information exchange between participants, this year’s dialogue aims to collectively produce an action guide to support policy makers and advocates in their efforts to strengthen rights based approaches to sexual and reproductive health.

Background

The promotion of human rights, including the right to health (RtH), is an important issue on international development cooperation agenda. The German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel, has clearly declared the promotion of human rights as one of his main political priorities.

Human rights and health are interrelated. The underlying causes of morbidity and mortality in developing countries – malnutrition, inadequate access to clean drinking water, living and working conditions which are hazardous to health, lack of education and the exclusion of many poor and disadvantaged people from essential health services – arise out of the failure to meet human rights commitments. Human rights-based policies that empower women and address unmet needs for sexual and reproductive health services – whether in developed, developing or least developed countries – would have an important impact on population dynamics. While giving people, especially women, more control over their lives, this would also have critical longer-term impacts on new emerging issues such as climate change. In this light, everything possible should be done to provide women with the means to achieve their desired family size.

Within the last years, a growing number of bi- and multilateral agencies as well as civil society organisations – and to a lesser extent partner governments – have declared their interest or committed themselves to a human-rights based approach to promote sexual and reproductive health. There is also growing practical experience in the promotion of the Right to Health and/or human rights based approach to sexual and reproductive health in the context of development cooperation programmes. Looking ahead, discussions around strategies going beyond the Cairo ICPD Programme of Action (in 2014) and the Millennium Development Goal target date of 2015 might be enriched by a clear focus on human rights. The objective of this International Dialogue is three-fold:

  • provide a forum to present and discuss strategies and good practices to promote a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health and population dynamics;
  • address current and potentially controversial issues around the RtH and a human rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health, including e.g. family planning, abortion, protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or the fi nancial viability and fi nancial implications of the approach;
  • focus on defi ning (joint) ways ahead to further promote a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health within donor, civil society organization, private sector and partner government strategies, development cooperation programmes as well as within various international development cooperation and human rights fora.

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