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.
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.
The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded March 23rd after a long week of negotiations. The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Observers claim it was one of the most successful commissions in recent years, in terms of process and outcome. This session focused on the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls, a population all too often disregarded and amongst those most left behind.
“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.
During the diplomatic days, vice prime minister and minister of development cooperation Alexander De Croo addressed the Belgian diplomatic staff on sustainable development. The Minister pointed out the progress made over the past ten years with regard to human rights in half of the partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation. With the Ibrahim Index on African Governance in his hand, he underlined that human and economic development go hand in hand with progress regarding human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination of minorities and sexual minorities.
How to promote and protect sexual health and rights in times of populism and conservatism? This was the key question of the EuroNGOs’ conference, the European network of organisations that advocate sexual and reproductive health and rights, organised in Brussels on 27-28 September. Growing support for conservative and populist movements leads to a political and societal climate in which sexual and reproductive health and rights are marginalised if not criminalised.
Together with other members of the Be Cause Health Working Group on SRHR, Sensoa developed three information sheets and infographics on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with a particular focus on young people, gender and the linkages between HIV and SRHR.
These info sheets give an overview of the latest facts and figures and contain a number of guidelines for Belgian development stakeholders. The info sheets should contribute to a better knowledge and understanding among Belgian development stakeholders such as diplomats, Belgian Development Agency employees and representatives of NGOs as well as identify needs and good practices better. With this initiative, the Working group on SRHR aims to encourage Belgian development stakeholders to dedicate more attention to young people, gender and the links between HIV and SRHR in development programmes and policies.
Body & Rights, the e-tutorial developed by Sensoa the expertise centre for sexual health and member association of IPPF in Belgium and commissioned by the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Be-cause Health, the Belgian platform for international health is now available in English.
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.