Upcoming Dialogue: 21ID

21st International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development
Reimagining Tomorrow – Charting the Future of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

The 21st International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development will:

  • Map pathways for the future of SRHR, including safe abortion and family planning;
  • Assess how access to abortion can become and remain a critical component of comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare;
  • Highlight the major roadblocks ahead when it comes to seeing progress related to the programme of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of action and universal access to sexual SRHR, and develop strategies to confront and overcome these;
  • Discuss concrete steps that we as a community and as individuals can take to help overcome these challenges;
  • Bring together key stakeholders for SRHR from different regions, and from a range of sectors – government, international organisations, civil society, grassroots activists, SRHR networks and movements, academia and the private sector
  • Provide a ‘safe space’ to explore ideas, share experiences, build alliances, strategize, and find new ways forward.
21ID - 21st International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development - Illustration


What does the future hold for SRHR? With the 30. anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) approaching fast, this and many other questions continue hang in the air. How will we finally succeed in achieving the goals that were set in Cairo, and have been reaffirmed several times since then – e.g. at the Nairobi Summit and related to the SDGs? Which current and emerging trends can help, and which ones may hinder us to realise every person’s right to bodily autonomy?

It has been four years since the Nairobi Summit, and while we have seen some progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights, globally, we remain far from reaching the commitments made at ICPD. These include the right of all women and girls to have autonomy over their bodies and lives through universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Yet, many women around the world still lack access in these areas: Unintended pregnancies and abortions are experienced by millions of women around the world. In fact, nearly half of all pregnancies, totalling 121 million each year throughout the world, are unintended. Of these unintended pregnancies, 61 percent end in abortion which translates to 73 million abortions per year. Additionally, lack of access to family planning and safe abortion care is one of the leading causes of preventable maternal death and disability. Intensifying education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and access to family planning would help avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place, especially given there are 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy who are not using safe, modern methods of contraception. At the same time, anti-choice movements around the world continue to gain influence and celebrate successes in undermining previously won grounds in regard to sexual and reproductive freedom and human rights, amplifying the challenge to realise the ICPD commitments.

Having in mind these numbers and being aware of the many challenges that lie ahead, the 21st International Dialogue on Development and Population will provide the opportunity to look ahead: How can we pave the way for universal access to essential sexual and reproductive health services such as save abortion care and family planning? How will key products, treatments and mode of access in this area develop over the next decade and beyond? Which new directions should we be taking? What are the roadblocks? And what existing pathways can we build on? Together, we will explore paths and trends that can lead us to a future where every individual can exercise his or her right to bodily autonomy.