Prof. Dr. Olivier Degomme, Director of the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH-Ghent University) took stock of the consequences of the pandemic on SDG3, ‘good health and well-being for all’. He showed the worldwide measurements have serious consequence for the access to contraceptives, family planning services and maternal health. Recent research of the WHO indicated that 90% of all countries reported interruptions of essential health services, and 68% reported interruptions of family planning services.
Lina Neeb, president of the Advisory Board on Gender and Development (ARGO) explained how governments worldwide failed to take the needed social measurements to protect the hardest hit sectors, which are often the most feminised ones. Different global processes interconnect, with conservative governments taking advantage of the pandemic to undermine multilateralism and human rights agreements and women rights’ organisations are less heard.
In an important year, with the 75th anniversary of the UN General Assembly, the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 and 25 years Beijing Platform of Action, we need to continue to encourage policy makers to talk loud and clear about the importance of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Belgium can also do better in terms of building an understanding of the impact of its support for gender equality in developing countries, and in terms of support for women’s rights organisations in partner countries, who will be the ones needed to bring about change, Neeb concluded.