IPS Examines Work Of U.N. High-Level Task Force On Population, Development To Eliminate Stigma Surrounding Reproductive Health

Inter Press Service examines efforts by the U.N. High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) to overcome stigma surrounding sexual and reproductive health in global discussions about population growth and development. “The task force’s work — titled ‘Policy Recommendations for the ICPD Beyond 2014: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All’ — reaffirms values established almost 20 years ago in Cairo, where 179 governments gathered to adopt a Programme of Action that placed the human rights of women at the center of international development goals,” the news service writes, adding, “The task force calls on the governments to address Cairo’s ‘unfinished agenda’ by: ensuring sexual and reproductive rights through law; working towards universal access to sexual and reproductive health services; providing sexuality education for all young people; and eliminating violence against women and girls.”

“It argues that governments should expand access to safe abortion and to services for victims of gender-based violence, and that the international community should adopt a definition of ‘comprehensive sexuality education,'” IPS notes. “The task force’s work will inform U.N. negotiations for a new development framework, to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post-2015,” according to the news service, which adds, “According to the task force, the sexual and reproductive health of young women and girls are particularly compromised.” The news service quotes a number of members of the task force, including Joaquim Alberto Chissano, a former president of Mozambique and co-chair of the task force; Ishita Chaudhry, founder of the YP Foundation, a non-profit organization in India; and Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland and co-chair of the task force, among others (Gao, 4/26).