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Unmet needs for family planning remain high, resulting in millions of unwanted pregnancies, he said, emphasizing also the need for more information and scaling up preventative and curative measures. Closing gaps will not be possible without focusing on inequality and reaching those furthest behind first. Going forwards, several delegations proposed rolling out better quality sexual education programmes. Describing ageing as a megatrend for the region, he said the challenge for many Asia-Pacific nations is that their populations will get old before getting rich.
Many people will reach old age with no significant pensions or savings. He added that South-South migration in Asia-Pacific is the highest in the world, with remittances to countries of origin helping to reduce poverty and promote investment in health and education. States must do more to address poverty, inequality and exclusion, particularly among the most vulnerable groups, she said, adding that gender-based approaches remain crucial. Another major challenge is the teenage fertility rate, which is coming down too slowly.
While the situation of older persons in Latin America and the Caribbean is improving, national initiatives to protect them from violence and mistreatment are needed. Sexual and gender-based violence requires a great deal of attention, she said, adding that Member States recognize the importance of approaching the issue in a comprehensive manner.
Eighteen countries in the region have meanwhile adopted laws or undertaken reforms to criminalize femicide with severe penalties. AMAWI said that, during the Arab regional review conference, voluntary reports from Member States indicated, among other things, a decline in infant, child and maternal mortality rates and more gender parity in education. However, the conference also confirmed what is already known — that progress has been insufficient. Conflict and the resultant high numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons have prompted a reversal in development gains and an inability to shift from humanitarian to development assistance.
Other problems include weak urban planning and a scarcity of reliable disaggregated data. On emerging regional priorities, she said that, given the demographic window of opportunity before them, Arab countries must rethink their economic policies and focus on creating jobs for their youthful populations. Prospects for aging with dignity are meanwhile dim in the absence of relevant initiatives. Protracted conflict in many countries, and the continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories, will remain challenges unless root causes are addressed, she added.
In the ensuing interactive dialogue, the representative of the Russian Federation said that two regional reviews are not agreed in the intergovernmental format, including on the concept of sexual rights and comprehensive sexuality education, and the needs for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
The outcome documents use terminologies that are not universally accepted. Timor-Leste, for instance, has halved its maternal mortality rate. The second part of the panel discussion focused on recommendations for the way forward. How can the necessary resources be mobilized to support population and development programmes? Data must be owned by people for implementation of the Programme of Action. It is important to learn from each other as implementation lies at the local level.
KANEM said that this part of the dialogue shed light on the need for capacity-building for statistics, the greater need for coherence and the integration of data so that it is useful to local communities. The aspect of costs and financing must be reviewed on the road to the upcoming Nairobi conference. Delivering concluding remarks, Ms.
AMAWI stressed the need to integrate indicators from the Programme of Action and the Agenda, and the importance of supporting countries in need of capacity-building. Addressing youth unemployment holds the key. FIGUEROA, emphasizing that the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development is a road map for regional implementation of the Programme of Action, also stressed the importance of creating new alliances in the effective implementation of the Consensus to reach the most remote areas where implementation is most needed.
It is vital to minimize the wage gap and recognize the ageing population as active participants in society. Investing in the health, education and employment for youth is of utmost importance as is accurate disaggregated data to ensure no one left behind. Efforts must be supported by disaggregate data. KANEM stressed the importance of collecting and shaping data that responds to local needs. Noting the need to provide support for people at different stages of their life cycle, she said it is a complete cycle and there is much to do.
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The challenge, however, is providing those services to all, equally and equitably, when its population is spread thinly over inhabited islands. She added that the international community must help to strengthen country-level population and development data systems. International support is also needed to scale up financial resources, the provision of technical capacity-developing, sharing of best practices and technology transfer.
However, as its baby-boomer generation enters its retirement years, it would be happy to receive any input that will lead to a more positive attitude. Those over the age of 60 are seen as being too old and no longer productive, but their experience and wisdom is invaluable and their potential must be tapped. Remaining active in old age requires good infrastructure, but, even in a developed country like Germany, that is not always available, he said, adding that the establishment of equivalent living conditions in rural and urban areas is a priority for the Government.
As it prepares to conduct a new census in , it is striving to improve health, education and employment opportunities, as human capital is a cornerstone of sustainable development. Over the last few years, Uruguay has adopted laws and policies to improve living standards throughout the population, significantly reducing poverty. Drawing attention to efforts to achieve gender equality by , she said a national comprehensive care plan aims to instil the concept of shared gender responsibility.
Having recognized same-sex marriage, Uruguay has adopted a law for trans persons. A regional pioneer in sexual and reproductive health and rights, it has decriminalized abortion, enabling women to seek an abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and providing them with psychological and medical support to help them make informed decisions.
The total fertility rate declined from 8.
Government increases support for women’s health and safe abortion - Norway in Geneva
The infant mortality rate declined from 88 to 39 deaths per 1, live births over the same period. To address gender equality, the Constitution stipulates that no one gender shall hold more than two thirds of all public appointments. With the help of UNFPA, the Government is implementing a number of projects, including training volunteers for contraceptive services. He expressed hope that the upcoming Nairobi high-level conference will further assess the progress achieved and challenges. Gender equality has become a fundamental prerequisite for the Agenda.
Millions of girls are becoming victims of child marriage and female genital mutilation. The Programmes of Action serves as a comprehensive guide to addressing many issues, including the fight against gender-based violence. Portugal stands ready to strengthen partnerships with other countries and UNFPA to make the lives of millions of women healthier and safer.
Women and girls must be an active part of development, with full autonomy over their own bodies. Democracy requires the participation of women and girls, she said, adding that men and boys must be engaged to achieve that goal. Universal health coverage should include access to safe and legal abortions.
Providing adolescents with evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education is a concrete way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and foster gender equality. Its root causes must be better understood and addressed. Education and sexual and reproductive health policies need to be approached in a holistic manner that empowers women and girls to curb rising teenage pregnancies.
While the prevalence of communicable disease has declined in the Asia-Pacific region, non-communicable disease poses major concerns, and access to quality health services is an issue for rural dwellers. He added that vulnerable members of society, particularly women and girls in poor countries, must not be disproportionately burdened by the impacts of climate change. In urban areas, planning and provision of services must be informed by robust, reliable and innovative data, he stated. KATE WALLACE Australia said her country remains strongly committed to advancing universal access to quality sexual and reproductive health and rights as a cornerstone for achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
Investment in those rights save lives, enables women and girls to participate equally in economic and social activity and makes it possible for families to better invest in their children. Like other Member States, Australia is concerned by growing efforts to dilute, caveat or eliminate sexual and reproductive health and rights language in both the Commission and other forums, she said. However, noting positive changes in percentage terms does not reflect the absolute number of those in need as the overall population grows.
Attention must focus on improving health care and education, combating non-communicable diseases and promoting healthy lifestyles, employment and opportunities for women. Lower fertility rates must be approached in ways that take national circumstances into account, and priority should go towards ensuring social well-being, not combating climate change.
He added that the Russian Federation is not bound to introduce in schools so-called comprehensive sexual education, which is the primary responsibility of parents and guardians.
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VICTOR MORARU Republic of Moldova , aligning himself with the European Union, said that his country has made progress over the past five years in key areas such as population dynamics and sustainable development, families, sexual and reproductive health, inequality and social inclusion. His Government revised the demographic security programme through the lens of human rights and developed the concept vision on population and development which is people-centred and evidence-based.
The Government also integrated the active ageing principle in relevant policy documents to address the issue of population ageing and its impact on sustainable development. In , Japan is also calling for the promotion of universal health coverage, including sexual and reproductive health, he said, reiterating also its commitment to the Programme of Action and broader population and development issues as a core driver of the Sustainable Development Goals. Having met all the Millennium Development Goals, Cuba is close to meeting all the Sustainable Development Goals, despite an embargo that has been in place for the past six decades.
Cuba ranks high in human development indicators, she said, with universal access to mandatory quality education up to the secondary school level, women making up A national sex education programme is in place, while abortions are available through the national health system, ensuring that women have the human right to make their own decisions about their bodies. The Government advocated full application of comprehensive sex education, universal access to sexual and reproductive health and family planning, he added. However, too many are still deprived of a life free from gender-based violence and harmful practices.
Although progress has been made since , too many inequalities remain. Too many young people lack the knowledge, access and power they need to make informed actions about their sexual and reproductive health and too many lack access to health services, quality education and jobs. Governments have a responsibility to do what is needed to enable youth to live healthy, good lives. Millions get pushed into poverty due to out-of-pocket payment on medical expenses. This cannot continue, as health is a human right.
KENSEY Canada said her country has been and continues to be a strong and vocal advocate for the full and effective implementation of the Programme of Action and the outcomes of its review conferences. In , Canada co-chaired a regional conference together with colleagues from Belarus and Bulgaria. Her delegation underscored the importance of understanding individual country and subnational experience because aggregate regional progress can conceal inequalities in access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.
Stressing the importance of education, she noted the upcoming high-level political forum will review Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, including comprehensive sexuality education. While life expectancy at birth reached 74 years old in , the share of declining birth rate causes the number and proportion of older persons to increase from 6. The Government explores ways to develop effective strategies to properly place these issues in national policies and plans.
AL KUWARI Qatar said the international community must do more, and cooperate more, to reach practical and consensual solutions and to achieve progress that will benefit all peoples of the world. Underscoring the principles of Islamic law, he said population is the sustainable development and that Qatar is addressing population dynamics in a way that respects human rights. He emphasized the sovereign right of States to implement recommendations in ways that respect religious backgrounds. Qatar is trying to strike a balance between population growth and sustainable development, concentrating on programmes that target education and draw youth away from violent extremism.
For his country, universal health coverage is essential for providing quality, accessible and affordable family planning and reproductive health care, he said, adding that an integrated service centre has been set up for victims of gender-based violence. PRICA Bosnia and Herzegovina , associating himself with the European Union, said after achieving a modest success in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, his country has embarked on a much more comprehensive path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.