Two years on, the commitments made at the Nairobi Summit have not been fulfilled

The Countdown 2030 Europe Consortium welcomes the first report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on the ICPD25 Follow-up (HLC). The Commission’s mandate to review progress of the twelve Nairobi statement commitments and to advocate for meaningful follow-up of the 2019 Nairobi Summit, is critical. The Nairobi Summit was a landmark moment for various stakeholders to firmly recommit to accelerating the implementation of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and scaled-up action needed to follow up on those commitments.

The Consortium regrets to read in the HLC report that no region has yet fully achieved these commitments, showing how critical the work of civil society organisations playing a watchdog role and ensuring accountability to advance SRHR for all everywhere is. Increased quality funding and political prioritisation are key to achieve full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, and Countdown 2030 Europe is at the forefront of monitoring the implementation of pledges, including those made in Nairobi in 2019, by European donor governments and the EU.

In this sense, while commending the Commission’s call to action and its efforts to provide clear and impactful recommendations, Countdown 2030 Europe especially supports the Commission’s recommendations related to (1) making justice the end goal, (2) putting rights and development at the core of action, (3) thinking differently and pursuing innovations in health-care service delivery, (4) reaching further and prioritising marginalised groups facing the worst disparities in terms of sexual and reproductive justice, (5) tracking and increasing funding for SRHR, and (6) creating new narratives around sexual and reproductive justice that are accurate and powerful enough to counter ongoing oppositional voices. 

In particular, we support the Commission’s analysis of the need to establish and use mechanisms for accountability for realising the Programme of Action adopted in 1994. We are pleased to see that the Commission recommends that all states should establish national follow-up mechanisms for Nairobi commitments, as well as bringing the commitments into their Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and using existing human rights mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and CEDAW, to help advance the Nairobi commitments.

We also welcome the emphasis given to social movement-building and ensuring that diverse voices have meaningful roles in leadership and national mechanisms monitoring the Nairobi commitments. In light of shrinking civil society space, which has been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic, this is even more critical. 

Finally, we applaud the recommendation to use recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to advance Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and move towards universal coverage built on strong health systems, quality care, and comprehensive services for sexual and reproductive health and rights tailored to diverse groups of people. 

In order to continue to ensure the meaningful follow up of the commitments made at the Nairobi Summit, we recommend the following:

  1. That the HLC continues to review and provide recommendations that are actionable and impactful in order to ensure that the commitments remain on the agenda and are not forgotten,
  2. That UN entities and member states take into account the HLC’s recommendations and respond to the recommendations in a meaningful manner. 

In order to achieve the ambitions stated and the commitments made at the Nairobi Summit, accelerated action is needed and the follow-up by the HLC is a critical catalyst for change. 

Read the progress report.

Illustration by Burcu Koleli for IPPF x Fine Acts