An Unfinished Agenda: Sexual and Reproductive Rights in the 21st Century

The Huffington Post

World leaders will descend on United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 September to commemorate twenty years since the adoption of a landmark agreement known as the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The ICPD transformed the world's thinking about sustainable development, shifting the concern from population growth and numbers to placing human rights at the centre of policy-making -- in particular the fundamental rights and freedoms of women and girls to have control over their sexual and reproductive lives. 

After an extensive process of reviewing decades of country experience and progress in implementing the ICPD commitments, a bold vision has emerged for a sexual and reproductive rights agenda suited to 21st Century realities. It is the product of analysis from governments around the world, the findings of experts and researchers, contributions from the UN system and civil society, and the priorities set forth in regional agreements - encapsulated in a visionary report of the UN Secretary-General that serves as a Framework of Actions to guide country efforts for years to come. 

That visionary action agenda is rooted in social justice and equality for all, and provides proven, practical, and cost-effective recommendations for solving some of the world's most pervasive problems. It aims to end the deaths of 800 women and girls that happen every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth; to provide access to contraception to the over 200 million women who would like to prevent pregnancy but lack effective means to do so; to expand access to safe, legal abortion to stop the tens of thousands of deaths and countless more injuries that result every year from unsafe procedures.