Over 100 young people from across the globe came together during the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) to let governments know that their sexual and reproductive rights are non-negotiable.
The weeklong Commission, which ended early Saturday morning, was convened at the UN headquarters in New York to assess 20 years of progress since the groundbreaking agreements made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. At Cairo, 179 governments agreed that women’s health and rights—specifically sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights—must be central to global development policies, programs, and funding, and are the key to reducing the social and economic inequalities that exist worldwide.
Throughout the week, young people representing civil society from all regions and diversities spoke up on sexual and reproductive rights issues ranging from comprehensive sexuality education to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services; access to safe and legal abortion; and recognition of the human rights of all people, including young people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
There was a strong presence online and offline, with young people participating in and leading side events on youth participation, advancing youth sexual and reproductive health, and acknowledging young people’s sexual and reproductive rights in the post-2015 development framework as well as presenting eight oral statements to the Commission.
“20 years beyond Cairo, it’s unacceptable for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights to be deemed ‘too controversial.’ It is deeply disappointing to hear calls from governments for a procedural resolution instead of one that fully elaborates on key issues relevant to our lives,” said Nur Hidayati Handayani representing the Youth Caucus during an oral statement presented on the opening day of the CPD.