Transforming the World for Women’s Reproductive Rights

The world leaders, civil society organizations and private sector representatives gathered in Nairobi for a three-day global summit on International Conference on Population and Development, (ICPD25) to deliberate on immediate action to ending maternal deaths, accelerate access to modern contraception, reproductive health services, stop violence against women and girls by 2030.

“In 1994 at the ICPD, we imagined a world where one day, no woman would die giving birth, where no woman would be at risk of unintended pregnancy, and no girl would be denied her right to make a safe and healthy transition through adolescence and adulthood,” Said Denmark’s Special Envoy for ICPD25 Ambassador Ib Petersen.

The ICPD goals are anchored on women’s empowerment and gender equality, a catalyst towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the Summit brought together diverse group of people including top government officials, thought-leaders, technical experts, religious leaders, activists and community organizers, young people, business leaders, indigenous peoples, international financial institutions, people with disabilities, academics and many others committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The meeting focused on universal health coverage to improve access to sexual and reproductive health, measures to end gender-based violence and harmful practices, and the right to sexual and reproductive health care and finally the power in demographic diversity to drive economic growth and sustainable development.

“We have come a long way since the ICPD in living up to our global commitment to make sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights a reality for all,” Says Arthur Erken, Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

Financing ICPD programmes of action was among the issues discussed. The new research done by researchers from UNFPA and the Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Victoria University, the University of Washington and Avenir Health. And it’s findings was released during the conference shows that only $42 billion in development assistance is expected to be spent on advancing these goals. That means some $222 billion in investments is required over the next decade.

“The Nairobi Summit represents a renewed, re-energized vision and community working together to act and deliver. Together, we will make the next ten years a decade of action and results for women and girls, keeping their rights and choices at the centre of everything we do,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem.

The findings further shows the detailed costing per each programme objectives with over 95 per cent of maternal mortality in 120 countries will cost $115.5 billion for paying medical staff, drugs and obstetric supplies in key maternal health interventions.

While $68.5 billion will finance the unmet family needs like ensuring reliable contraceptives and efforts to strengthen national health systems. Ending child marriage will take $35 billion, gender-based violence in 132 priority countries will have a share of $42 billion and finally ending female genital mutilation will require $2.4 billion

“Closing the substantial gap with investment of urgently needed resources will ultimately improve health among women and their families and that vision is what should motivate us looking forward after the Nairobi Summit,” said Victoria Chou, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Summit, co-convened by the governments of Kenya and Denmark with UNFPA, where 9,500 delegates from more than 170 countries took part. The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency unveiled critical new data about the cost of achieving these goals. It mobilized more than 1,200 commitments from around the world, including billions of dollars in pledges from public and private sector partners

“The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 was a massive success,” said Director-General of the Kenya National Council for Population and Development Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae. “But it was only a start. We leave Nairobi with a clear roadmap of actions we must all take to advance the ICPD agenda and transform the world for women and girls.”