“Belgium is determined to build a world in which no one, not a single child, not a single young person, not a single woman nor a single girl is left behind.” These were the closing words with which Belgium reconfirmed its strong commitment to the full implementaton of the International Cairo Programme of Action (ICPD) at the 52nd CPD, 1-5 April 2019.
For Valentine’s Day, the European Parliamentary Forum on population and development launched its third edition of the European Contraception Atlas in the European Parliament. The Atlas is a map that marks 46 countries throughout geographical Europe on access to modern contraception. The Atlas reveals a very uneven picture across Europe.
Belgium top of the list
From the 46 countries surveyed, Belgium ranks first, in joint position with France, thanks to its reimbursement schemes, including for long-term contraception, special arrangements for young people and government supported websites such as the multilingual website zanzu.be for migrants and allesoverseks.be (everythingaboutsex.be) a website that specifically addresses the needs of young people. Compared to the Benelux, France and the UK, contraception policies are weak in Latvia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy and Denmark.
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.”
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.