Reproductive Rights: From Rio+20 to Aspen Ideas, London and BeyondJul 4th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Family Planning and Women's Health, Rio+20 Earth Summit
by Suzanne York, HowMany.org – In the aftermath of the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, which deliberately left reproductive rights out of the official outcome text, there is little time to feel discouraged. There are education and awareness campaigns to undertake, and alliances to build and strengthen – especially between the environmental and women’s rights movements.
However, the world won’t have to wait until Cairo to pick up the discussion and create a positive plan of action. Family planning and reproductive health are in the spotlight now. At the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, a gathering of distinguished speakers, policymakers, journalists, academics and others interested in current affairs, population-related issues, for the first time, are part of the agenda. Though it hasn’t been front and center as much as it should be, population has been lurking throughout the week-long conference workshops and plenaries. This week, family planning services and women’s health were finally the main subject of a panel titled “Politics and Sex”.
Elias talked of the importance of understanding the three main drivers of population growth:
3) the largest driver of population growth is population momentum, the natural increase in population in a world where half of the population is under thee age of 25 and are either in or will soon reach their peak reproductive years. The global community should focus on education for girls and women, and create opportunities for better livelihoods.
Looking past Aspen, in London next week, the Gates Foundation and the UK government is gathering together an impressive group of people, including world leaders, the private sector, and those who work on population and reproductive rights. The main goal is to increase global funding for family planning services.
Elias from the Gates Foundation said they plan to reach 120 million new women users of contraceptives between now and 2020. The cost of this undertaking will be $4.3 billion.
In addition to ensuring better access and supply of contraceptives and increased financial commitments from governments for family planning, the summit will also seek to build greater support for research into developing new contraceptives. Despite the disappointment in Rio, there is a lot of hope and excitement of things to come for women’s rights and empowerment and creating a positive picture on reproductive health and rights for all. Stay tuned. Or, as Scoop Nisker used to say, “if you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”