In late March two young activists, Marta Paczkowska (ASTRA Youth Coordinator, Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland) and Julita Valancauskyte (Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Lithuania), traveled to New York at the invitation of the International Women’s Health Coalition as representatives of ASTRA Youth. For the first three days of their stay they participated in an IWHC Advocacy in Practice training aiming to prepare them for SRHR advocacy during the 50th session of the Commission on Population and Development that took place April 3-7 at the United Nations. Marta and Julita were the only representatives of Europe, as the rest of the participants came from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa, Fiji, Tunisia, Egypt, USA, Belize, Argentina, and Colombia. During the AiP, activists learned about the history of women’s rights at the UN, worked on developing a common SRHR agenda and a map of country positions, learned how to influence UN language, how to understand the opposition and the UN negotiation process, as well as how to develop and deliver advocacy messages.
A day before the CPD began, ASTRA Youth representatives attended a strategy session of the International Sexual and Reproductive Rights Caucus, where they joined the Opposition Monitoring and Advocacy working group, as well as the European group. Each day of the Commission a morning meeting of the ISRRC took place, where several dozen activists and advocates from all over the world discussed the work of the commission and exchanged information and ideas for more effective advocacy.
As it turned out on the last day of the commission, member countries were not able to reach consensus on the draft resolution, and therefore, there was no agreed outcome document at this year’s CPD. At the end of the session Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion Jinga, was elected Chair of the 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development in 2018.