In the Agreed Conclusions, Member States emphasised that social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, underlined the need for coordinated approaches, financing and policy coherence. Member States acknowledge that health disparities, including reproductive health and family planning disparities, are exacerbated by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. They urge governments to ensure acceptable, accessible, available and quality health care services, including universally accessible primary health care and universal health coverage for all women and girls.
As in past years, the Commission reaffirmed agreed language, urging governments to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights; recognising the human rights of women including the right to have control over and decide freely on all matters relating to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, and to develop policies and programmes of comprehensive education on sexual and reproductive health. For the first time the Member States urged not to reverse levels of protection previously achieved and recognised a right to social security.
A number of countries, including the African group, the Arab Group, Brazil, the Holy See, the USA, Sudan, Russia and Iran stated they wanted to see stronger language on the role of the family.
While the majority of delegations expressed solidarity with the Kenyan ambassador and condemned the abuse against her, the Holy See, equated this harassment with the pressure that conservative delegates experienced to come to an agreed outcome.
Belgium, represented by Walloon-Brussels Minister President Rudy Demotte stated: “It is imperative that we ensure that the specific health needs of women and girls are addressed through access to quality health services. In this regard, I would like to stress here that their sexual and reproductive rights must be respected. These services must meet their needs and be complemented by mechanisms that ensure access to information and comprehensive sex education from an early age for both boys and girls.” Demotte also called on all member states to decriminalise abortion, saying: “Too many women still die as a result of illegal and unsafe abortions. However, voluntary motherhood is a fundamental human right. Women must have the freedom of choice and self-determination to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy.” Demotte advocated the importance legalising abortion during a side event co-organised with IPPF.
Watch the panel “All united for the right to abortion”