In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting forward 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with no less then 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. What progress has been made since?
The Commission on Foreign Affairs of Belgium’s federal parliament has unanimously adopted a resolution for the implementation and follow-up of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the 2030 Agenda.
The resolution identifies the challenges with regard to SRHR. To mention a few: 225 million women who want to prevent or avoid pregnancy lack access to contraception, one in three women is a victim of partner violence or sexual violence in her lifetime and every year 16 million teenagers give birth. The 2030 Agenda contains specific targets to tackle these problems, such as universal access to family planning and the elimination of violence against girls and women.
The members of parliament call upon the Belgian government to implement the Agenda and to encourage other countries to do so. They want systematic attention for SRHR in the negotiations of collaboration programmes with partner countries of the Belgian development cooperation. They also want Belgium to increase the support for SRHR within international organisations, such as the WHO, UNICEF and UNWOMEN, and to call on other countries in the UN Human Rights Council and other international forums to protect and promote SRHR.
The resolution was submitted by Hon. Sabien Lahaye-Battheu, president of the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda. With Belgium presenting its Voluntary National Review to the UN in mid-July the timing is perfect.
As part of the She Decides-Initiative, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo visited Benin and Senegal, partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation. In Benin, the Minister signed two programmes promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The Trump-Pence administration has decided to cease all support to the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA. In 2016 only US support to UNFPA helped to prevent 2.340 maternal deaths, 947.000 unplanned pregnancies and 295.000 unsafe abortions. It allowed an estimated 800.000 people to freely decide about their number of children. US support to UNFPA also reached no less than 9 million people in humanitarian emergencies and refugee camps, where the organization provides sexual and reproductive health services and tries to prevent genderbased violence.