A few days ago, Countdown 2030 Europe co-hosted a panel discussion during the European Development Days entitled “No health without rights: women and girls decide”.
This was also an opportunity for civil society representatives to call on the European Union to make a dedicated commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and family planning in the EU’s next multi-annual budget.
Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, made a powerful speech, saying: “I want to assure you that our strong support to SRHR remains front and centre in our discussion on the future EU budget”. He added:
C2030E believes that the EU must include earmarked funding for SRHR, including family planning, through an explicit SRHR budget line or by designating SRHR as an objective under various budget lines (health, education, youth empowerment, human rights, gender). Regardless of how SRHR is tackled when it comes to budget lines, the EU should have a specific commitment in terms of funding levels, to ensure that SRHR issues consistently taken up every year in the period 2021-2027.
But in its current form the next EU budget fails to even mention gender equality which could indicate that SRH/FP could fall off the political agenda.
The Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) also launched its latest report during the event. The report proposes a new definition for SRHR and argues that without the fulfillment of reproductive rights, we can’t achieve reproductive health.
Speaking at the event, Renate Baehr, Executive Director for DSW, said: “Gender equality, family planning, and SRHR are issues at the core of the global development agenda. But without rights for all, we can’t achieve health. Without empowering women to take control of their health, their bodies, and their futures, we have no hope of achieving the goals we have set ourselves for 2030. The Guttmacher-Lancet Commission report makes this crystal clear: we need to close the gaps in access to contraception, maternal and new-born healthcare and make sure that all women have universal access to SRHR.”
Finally, among the highlights, Nigerian young leader Hope Jeremiah Offor made an impassioned case for girls’ and young women’s sexual rights, especially referring to their right to have access to comprehensive sexuality education. He added that young people need to be included in SRHR-related conversations in order to achieve real change.
The event was co-organised with IPPF EN, DSW, UNFPA, Women Deliver, Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.