The group, likely to make up around 30 members, will see to Belgium’s international role to achieve the ICPD PoA and the SDGs, and more specifically SDG 3, to achieve health and wellbeing for all, and SDG 5, to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. They will do so by convening regularly, informing the public, participating in international delegations, visiting the field, inquiring the government and drafting resolutions.
With powerful countries such as the USA and Russia trying to turn back the clock when it comes to women’s rights, parliamentary work on sexual and reproductive rights is all the more important, Els Van Hoof, MP and newly appointed president of the Commission on Foreign Affairs flagged.
Karine Lalieux, who presided the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda for two terms emphasised how family planning and access to contraception is fundamental for women’s rights. She pointed out that despite Belgium being Europe’s leading contraception champion (according to the European Parliamentary Forum’s Contraception Atlas), Belgian women living in poverty are struggling with easy access to contraceptives.
Fresh from the field
Cécile Thibaut testified about her recent visit to Burkina Faso, where she joined an EPF parliamentary delegation. During her stay, she met with progressive MPs and a vibrant civil society, engaged with women’s access to contraceptives. She had the opportunity to see first hand how a Belgian supported project, focused on connecting with young people on their sexual and reproductive health and rights needs through an online smartphone application, has been very successful.
On a march to the Nairobi Summit on ICPD
Neil Datta introduced the new members of the group to the European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, that serves as the umbrella for 29 European All-Party Parliamentary Groups and explained plans for the upcoming ICPD Summit in Nairobi, a celebration of 25 years of SRHR advocacy. Three members of the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda will go to the Summit: Goedele Liekens, Els Van Hoof and Fourat Ben Chikha.