EuroNGOs Conference Berlin, October 24th, 2013
Next Steps: Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) on the Post-2015 Agenda.
Fulfilling Rights, Achieving Universal access to SRHR, Empowering Women, Investing in Youth, through a Coherent Post-2015 Development Framework.
Young Women's Knowledge and Leadership Institute (YOWLI) 2012 alumni Chifundo Patience Chilera from Malawi represented AWOMI at the 2013 EuroNGOs International Conference in Berlin. The event included over 150 sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) civil society organizations, coalitions, and NGOs who are active in advocacy and campaigning on the post-2015 agenda, as well as UN agencies, donors, and decision-makers from Europe and beyond.
Conclusions and Reflections
The EuroNGOs Conference 2013 was concluded with representatives from the UNFPA and the UN sharing their organizations’ post-2015 strategies, priorities and plans for engaging with civil society organizations (CSO). Lopa Banerjee (Chief of Civil Society Section of UN Women) and Diego Palacios (Coordinator of MDGs Beyond 2015 Secretariat and the Post-2015 Development Processes at UNFPA) represented their respective organizations. This session was particularly exciting for the African Women’s Millennium Initiative (AWOMI) and especially for the Young Women’s Knowledge and Leadership Institute (YOWLI) because it was presided over by a youth discussant, Paulien Boone (Partnerships Officer, CHOICE for the Youth and Sexuality). This was important for identifying possible areas for joint CSO-UN work that are youth specific.
Both UN representatives and Diego Palacios concurred that a solid human rights base is fundamental to the post-2015 framework, especially regarding SRHR. A human rights basis is important for three main reasons. Firstly, it has inherent accountability mechanisms such that it is possible to hold specific persons or agencies answerable regarding certain actions and inactions. Secondly, human rights and SRHR cannot be mutually exclusive, if we aim for quality results. A human rights basis allows for an integrated approach to effectively address SRHR. For instance, an integrated approach for effective SRHR advocacy would have to address issues of women’s choice, women’s agency, and women’s decision making. Lastly, a human rights basis is fundamental because it accounts for equality, taking into consideration disadvantaged communities and minorities, for example.