Posted by Tamlyn Mac Quene on May 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm
On Monday 23rd of April, Share-Net members had the pleasure of having a conversation with UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Natalia Kanem gave a brief presentation on the new UNFPA Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021 and answered questions posed by Share-Net members. She highlighted the need and urgency to focus Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and believed that reliability, partnership and action were key points to be included during UNFPA conversations with Dutch organisations.
The Strategic Plan was adopted in January 2018 and will last for four years until 2021. Development of the plan was guided by UNFPA member countries, with universal access to SRHR as the central point. There are three major transformative results of the plan:
UNFPA aims to quantify the need and show how to address issues, especially for young women who need to access family planning and condoms. The Strategic Plan highlights the particular importance of sexual pleasure, as well as involving young people.
Although it is much better than 20 years ago, there is a need to accelerate the process of ending it.
SheDecides, MeToo, Women Marching and the European Union have all shown these are essential issues to be put on the agenda.
As UNFPA is working to protect Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for the next generation, they highlight the importance of working in partnerships and including young people in their actions and strategies. The Strategic Plan focuses on establishing partnerships with European countries and using evidence in every step to engage governments. For the first time, the UNFPA’s Strategic Plan was made in partnership with all the UN offices and follows the SDG goals.
After the short presentation from Dr. Natalia Kanem, Share-Net members reacted to the Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and raised questions about the role of CSE in the three main topics, the integration of HIV and AIDS and STDs in Family Planning and how NGOs and Civil Society can reach the UNFPA. In addition, the members wanted to know how to communicate better and contact UNFPA.
For now, Beatriz de la Mora is the contact person from UNFPA for the Netherlands. Share-Net can be in charge of connecting and Sharing Share-Net Member’s ideas with the UNFPA. Finally, examples of best practices can be shared via Share-Net. Further collaboration between UNFPA and Share-Net will be discussed.
The 51st CPD took place from April 9th-13th, concluding without an outcome resolution. Member States were unable to come to consensus on the issue of this year’s Commission on Population and Development, “Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration.” In response to the refusal of the US to adopt the resolution after nearly two weeks of negotiations (they could not agree with the references to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights), Tunisia made a powerful statement on behalf of a cross-regional group of 35 countries, including the Netherlands, on the critical importance of SRHR to women and girls around the world. While this result of the CPD is disappointing, the Commission on Population and Development remains a critical space for countries, CSOs and advocates from around the world to both reaffirm and advance their commitments to human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, for all. Continued engagement is critical now as the agenda (and SRHR specifically) is under attack and as we are preparing for the 25th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action in 2019. UNFPA is making significant efforts to keep the dialogue alive in the face of difficulties associated with the current US government’s stance on SRHR. Although there was no consensus at CPD 51, all of us need to ensure that we do not go back and continue to keep SRHR on the agenda. Dr. Natalia Kanem highlighted the importance of keeping in mind that we need to recommit, to celebrate and to advance. Finally, UNFPA is working with Guttmacher to quantify the damages (effects) of the Global Gag Rule.
UNFPA would appreciate if any Share-Net member that has information on the impact of the Global Gag Rule could share that with UNFPA.
Refugees are confronted with problems that often touch upon the broad spectrum of SRHR and we also know that providing these services can be lifesaving or putting it differently: that neglecting these SRH needs has potentially serious consequences. However, it seems that humanitarian organizations, humanitarian aid workers do not prioritize SRHR (or even more broadly, Health) into their interventions and actions. The focus is, rightfully so, on food, shelter, water. During the meeting it was discussed how civil society and NGOs can help strengthening and integrating SRHR in emergency settings. Such integration is essential to ensure that we can monitor and count what is happening for a better understanding of the situation and the actions required. For UNFPA, it is important to have more eyes and ears on the ground, which is why the Strategic Plan places a large focus on establishing partnerships.
One of the themes of Share-Net’s thematic meetings in 2018 will be Maternal Health (SRHR) in humanitarian settings. The UNFPA has also focused on the needs of people who live in refugee camps. There is space for collaboration with UNFPA during the Share-Net Thematic meeting on SRHR in Humanitarian settings.
Representatives from UNFPA:
Dr. Natalia Kanem – Executive Director
Charles Katende – Chief Strategic Information and Knowledge Management
Beatriz de la Mora – Resource Mobilization Specialist, Division of Communications and Strategic Partnerships
Arthur Erken – Director, Communications and Strategic Partnerships
Giffy Addico – Chief, Commodity Security Branch, Technical Division