The European Council elected Belgian prime minister Charles Michel as President of the European Council. The president presides over and drives forward the work of the European Council and is the European Union’s principal representative on the world stage. He is elected for the period from 1 December 2019 until 31 May 2022. But who is Charles Michel and what is his track record on SRHR and gender equality?
Belgium put sexual and reproductive rights in the spotlight during the ‘European Sustainability Week’ in Berlin, June 2019. Sensoa participated in a panel with Moroccan documentary maker Mohammed Nabil and human rights activist Katrin Erlingsen of the NGO Deutsche Stiftung Weltvölkerung (DSW) at the Belgian Embassy in Berlin.
New Lancet Series on Gender Equality, Norms, and Health exposes failures by governments and health institutions to make progress towards gender equality, despite compelling evidence on impact of gender - and the spoken and unspoken rules of societies about acceptable gender behaviours - on health.
UNFPA launched the State of the World Population 2019 in Brussels, May 7th, entitled ‘Unfinished Business. The pursuit of rights and choices for all’. Marking the 25th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) as well as the 50th birthday of UNFPA itself, the report highlights the progress made, and the challenges ahead.
Belgium’s Directorate General for Development (DGD) Deputy Director Guy Rayée opened the launch, reminding everyone about the milestone the Cairo Programme of Action was. Tremendous progress has been made since, particular for women and their access to family planning.
“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.
To date, no fundamental change in governance has been seen, Perspective 2030, the Belgian coalition of NGOs monitoring the realisation of the 2030 Agenda of which Sensoa is a member, stated. The coalition published a critical report that took stock of Belgium’s efforts since signing on to the Agenda in 2015.
Late March the American association ‘International Organisation for the Family’ (IOF) and anti-choice associations ProVita and CitizenGo co-organised the 5th World Congress of Families in the Italian city of Verona.
The congress allows anti-choice associations to meet associations who are against freedom of choice with regard to relations, sexuality and family planning.
For International Women’s Day the Advisory Commitee for Societal Emancipation of the Chamber of People’s Respresentatives and the 'Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda' co-organize a lunch seminar to present and discuss the report ‘the State of African Women’, on Thursday 28 February.
In 'the State of African Women' report the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) of the Netherlands has mapped the implementation of African countries’ commitments to women’s rights. The report inquires into the uptake of gender-based violence, harmful practices and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African women.
Gina Wharton, policy advisor at IPPF European Network will present the findings of the report, followed by an exchange with Mme Wharton and Anouka Eerdewijk, KIT's leading researcher on this report.
A sandwich lunch and translation from English to French and Dutch is provided. We will close at 13:45 with a network coffee.
Entrance is free, but registration is required. If you would like to participate, mail your full name, title and organization to Marlies.Casier@sensoa.be by Monday 25th February the latest.
Date & time: Thursday 28th February, 12h30-14h. Please present yourself by 12:15 at the reception with your ID card.
Venue: Room Popelin, Forumgebouw, 2nd floor, Leuvensweg 48, 1000 Brussels
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.
Despite the international backlash against SRHR and an increasing anti-women’s rights sentiment entering our decision-making spaces both in Europe and across the Atlantic, the past year saw financial and political commitments solidified and support for SRHR championed by European donor countries in many global fora, including Belgium.