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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Riga Parliamentary Statement of Commitment
ISSUE 60 - 31 January 2006
On 23-24 January 2006, parliamentarians from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and other European countries attended the Baltic/Finnish Round table on Development and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Riga, Latvia. The two-day meeting was co-hosted by the Finnish All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population and Development in collaboration with Väestöliitto (the Family Federation of Finland), Estonian Sexual Health Association, the Latvian Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health and the Lithuanian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association.
Around 60 participants, who included parliamentarians and government officials from Finland and Baltic countries, representatives from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organization (WHO), European Commission, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), ASTRA and the Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD) among others attended the meeting aimed to foster dialogue among policy makers from Finland and the Baltic countries on development cooperation, European Union (EU) development policies and global SRHR issues.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the parliamentarians adopted the following Statement of Commitment, which reaffirms the high priority they accorded to SRHR in international development policies of their respective countries and within EU Institutions. They also reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 as endorsed at the 2005 World Summit.
RIGA PARLIAMENTARY STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT
Finnish-Baltic Round Table on Development and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Riga, Latvia, 24 January 2006
- We, Parliamentarians from Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania gathered in Riga, Latvia 23-24 January 2006, are concerned by the lack of priority dedicated to sexual and reproductive health and rights in our societies and globally. With the enlargement of the EU, the Baltic countries have become Member States of the European Union, as such, they have become donors to international development assistance and are required to create national policies for development cooperation.
- We, Parliamentarians wish to contribute to raising awareness to solve the main challenges in society by promoting better understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in the national and European Union development policies and to strengthen cooperation between various stakeholders in development issues.
- We, Parliamentarians understand sexual and reproductive health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Sexual and reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce safely and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
- We fully agree with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that "the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed. And that means stronger efforts to promote women's rights and greater investment in education and health including reproductive health and family planning".
- We recognize that it is our duty to promote the implementation of the UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action as a roadmap to achieve the MDGs. This includes the right to universal access to reproductive health by 2015, the right for everyone to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, the advancement of gender equality and women's and young people's empowerment, access to sex education, opportunity to personality development and strong measures to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.
- We recognize that in order to achieve these goals, real cooperation is needed among the various stakeholders including the civil society and young people on national, European and international levels.
CALL TO ACTION
We, Parliamentarians commit ourselves to the following actions:
- Give high priority to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the international development policies of our respective countries and within the European Union Institutions so that the commitment of the international community reaffirmed in 2005 World Summit to reach the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved.
- Strive to reach the UN recommended target of 0,7 % of GNI for official development assistance and to mobilize the needed resources to implement the ICPD Programme of Action.
- Recognize the urgent need to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic both inside and outside Europe. Ensure that all possible measures are taken to prevent the spreading of the HIV infection and that all people living with HIV/AIDS, without discrimination, will receive proper treatment and care. Furthermore, ensure that HIV/AIDS prevention is integrated into the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health programmes and that active measures are taken to overcome discrimination on any basis, including sexual orientation, this discrimination, which contributes to the further spread of the disease.
- Mobilize support for legislation, regulation and funding for comprehensive reproductive health services, including acceptable and affordable family planning, and for women to have services that enable them to go safely through pregnancy, have a safe delivery and post partum period, or a safe abortion.
- Promote men's understanding of their roles and responsibilities with regard to reproductive health and supporting their partners' as well as their own access to sexual and reproductive health care helping to prevent unwanted pregnancy and reducing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
- Guarantee the rights of adolescents including their right to sexuality education, personality development and youth-friendly services as well as their full participation in decision-making, design and implementation of policies and programmes affecting their lives and recognize that these must be ensured for each successive generation.
- Adapt policies and provide services and information on sexuality and reproductive health and rights to all age-groups in society ensuring that these are appropriate for the age, gender and status in society of individuals (young people, married, single, adult, elderly).
- Ensure provision of comprehensive sexuality education throughout all levels of school and outside schools based on objective information on adolescent sexual behaviour and risks and provide necessary resources including human resources to accomplish this.
- Intensify efforts to promote the real dialogue and cooperation among civil society, decision-makers and policy-makers as well as other relevant stakeholders including young people and women's networks, when formulating international development policies and other relevant policies, drawing upon the existing expertise in addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Finland and the Baltic countries.
- Take initiative to create an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population and Development within the Parliament of those countries where one does not yet exist.
We, Parliamentarians pledge to carry out these actions and to actively monitor the progress we make in doing so. We further pledge to report regularly on this progress through parliamentary groups and networks and to meet again to assess the results we have made. We also pledge to continue the cooperation on global development issues among the Parliamentarians in the Baltic States and Finland.
We Parliamentarians pledge to communicate the Riga Declaration on Development and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to:
- the Ministries and Parliamentary Committees in each country in charge of Foreign Affairs, European affairs, International Development Co-operation, Education, Social Affairs, Finances, Equality and Health
- the Austrian and forthcoming Finnish Presidency of the European Union
LIST OF SIGNATORIES:ESTONIA
Marko Pomerants, MP Irina Krohn, MP
Katrin Saks, MP Minna Sirnö, MP
Mai Treial, MP
Ingrida Circene, MP Marija Pavilioniene, MP
Sarmite Kikuste, MP Ona Valiukeviciute, MP
THE FOLLOWING PARLIAMENTARIANS SUPPORT THIS STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT:
Eugenio Castillo, MP, Spain Sonia Fertuzinhos, MP, Portugal
Mary Henry, MP, Ireland Carina Hägg, MP Sweden
George Tsereteli, MP, Georgia
Ruth Genner, MP, Switzerland, President of the Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD)
Anne Van Lancker, MEP, Belgium, President of the European Parliament Working Group on Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS and Development
All previous issues of the UNFPA Global Population Policy Update can now be found on UNFPA's website at: http://www.unfpa.org/parliamentarians/news/newsletters.htm.
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as secretariat for the biennial International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD). The first IPCI/ICPD was held in November 2002 in Ottawa, Canada and the second in October 2004 in Strasbourg, France. These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can be kept informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow parliamentarians in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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