According to Professor in bio-ethics Peter Singer (DM, 7 July) population growth has become a taboo due to “a bizarre coalition of the Vatican, which has always been against anticonception and birth control, on the one hand, and radical feminists on the other, who gave priority to women’s freedom to choose how many children they want.” I choked in my coffee. Peter Singer is not an opponent of women’s rights, quite the contrary. And indeed, immediately after, the professor stated that these feminists “had a point, namely that family planning is a women’s right”. “But”, he continued, “at the level of the collective this leads to problems they forget to take into account, as an increase of young children equally increases the need for more schools, hospitals, jobs, etcetera.”
More than 16,000 researchers, advocates, policy makers, funders and community leaders from more than 160 countries came together in Amsterdam for the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). They are all committed to achieving a world free from HIV. These are the main takeaways:
“Progress in SRHR requires confrontation of the barriers embedded in laws, policies, the economy, and in social norms and values (….) that prevent people from achieving sexual and reproductive health.”
This is what the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission “Accelerate progress – sexual and reproductive health and rights for all” states in no uncertain terms. The report documents the magnitude of the SRHR needs, provides a comprehensive definition of SRHR and a roadmap on how to advance universal access to SRHR.
The commission underlines that the improvement of people’s health depends on individuals’ ability to make decisions about their own sexual and reproductive lives and respecting the decisions of others. The commission’s report is the result of two years of joint collaboration of 16 respected SRHR experts from different parts of the world. Belgian Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman was one of them.
With a High-Level Panel on the European Development Days, Belgium raised attention for the unmet needs of adolescents.
June 6, Brussels. "Unsafe abortion is more accessible then contraceptives”, Young EDD leader Archane Phonsina said, in her testimony of young women’s challenges in the DR Congo. Phonsina lost one of her best friends to an unsafe abortion and is one of the leading voices for adolescents’ access to family planning and safe abortion in her country. “Simply speaking about family planning is still stigmatised and many girls will have at least two unsafe abortions in their lifetime”, she explained.
UN Member States failed to reach a consensus on a resolution on Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration, the main theme of the 51st Commission on Population and Development, April 9th-13th. It is the third time in the past four years that the CPD remains without agreed conclusions.
Parliament calls on government to step-up the promotion of gender equality in Belgium's development cooperation
On March 15 the Belgian Chamber of People's Representatives adopted a resolution to promote gender equality and women's emancipation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The resolution, an initiative by MP Fatma Phelivan, calls on the Belgian government to step-up it's efforts.
Upcoming event 26 April: ‘Beyond the stigma: fistula and safe delivery in the South’, Federal Parliament, Brussels
Date: Thursday 26 April 2018, 12:30-14:00
Place: Belgium's federal parliament, Room Jacques Brel, Leuvenseweg 13, 1000 Brussels.
Dr. Shershah Syed, well known fistula surgeon from Pakistan, Wendy Marijnissen, photographer and
Felipe Sere, Public Health Officer at Memisa, the Belgian NGO dedicated to the right to primary health care.
Despite the progress in safe deliveries, 830 women a day die due to birth or pregnancy related complications. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. In addition, millions of women suffer from health problems as a result of these complications.
Fistula is one of the most serious delivery complications. Every year there are an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 new cases and an estimated 2 million women are living with the complication. Especially women living in remote areas where health care services are absent run the risk of fistula. Fistula can lead to stillbirth, incontinence, shame, stigma and social exclusion and in some cases death. With the 2030 Agenda we committed to substantially decrease the number of maternal deaths and to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
This lunch seminar is organised by the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda in the run-up to Mothers’ Day. The seminar is free and open to all interested parties but requires registration by Friday April 20th the latest. For practical reasons, the language of this seminar will be English.
Sandwiches will be provided.
On 17 May 2018, the Belgian platforms Be-cause health and Educaid.be jointly organise an international conference on the intersection between health and education in international cooperation at the Egmont Palace, Brussels.
“In too many contexts, she has actually never decided anything. Telling her that she decides WITHOUT giving her the foundation upon which to do so, could be naïve at best – and irresponsible at worst. We cannot raise expectations of autonomy and agency without providing a foundation for this to actually happen.” Lina Abirafeh, Director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University in Lebanon and She Decides Champion’s message was clear. Abirafeh delivered the key note at the She Decides’ anniversary event in the Belgium parliament, which sought to answer the question ‘Can She Decide in times of crisis?’, focusing on women’s and girls’ access to SRHR during humanitarian crises.
Ten years following the first edition, UNESCO published an updated version of its International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. UNESCO developed the guidance in collaboration with UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNWOMEN and the WHO. Sensoa interviewed Karin Nilsson (RFSU, Sweden) who was part of this process.