A month before Rio+20, more than 120 activists, advocates and NGO representatives from 27 countries in the Asia and the Pacific gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to demand for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as a critical part of sustainable development.
Coming from diverse movements and across generations, the participants developed and supported the Kuala Call to Action, a 12-point call for SRHR for sustainable development to governments, international organisations, including the United Nations agencies, development partners and other duty bearers.
As we go to Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, these demands from the Asia and the Pacific civil society resonate:
1. Recognise that gender equality, equity and sexual and reproductive rights are central and integral to sustainable development. Achieving sexual and reproductive rights must be placed within a broader frame that includes fulfilling basic rights to education, health, food, nutrition, housing, livelihood, political participation and freedom of expression; addressing various inequities and inequalities, including between and within nations, communities and families; and achieving social justice.
2. In reshaping the international political and development agenda beyond the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD PoA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) [as well as the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21], ensure a comprehensive and holistic sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRHR) agenda.
3. Review, amend and implement laws and policies to address the needs and realities of women, young people and LGBTQI persons, and to uphold human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights.
4. Ensure that accountability mechanisms are in place and adhere to the highest standards of transparency in order to monitor progress in achieving SRHR, social equality and equity, and achieving universal access for all.
5. Fulfil the right to universal access to a continuum of quality care and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, supplies and information, through all levels of healthcare and public provisioning.
6. Provide universal comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and youth-friendly health services (YFHS).
7. Conduct and support ethical, gender-sensitive research that provides the evidence for policymaking and programming related to SRHR and its linkages with other issues. Data should be disaggregated according to age, sex and other socio-economic indicators.
8. Unequivocally endorse, sustain and scale up domestic resources and official development aid (ODA) for the implementation of comprehensive SRHR interventions in the region.
9. Address the impact of religious extremism on SRHR for women, young people, LGBTQI persons and other vulnerable groups, including by removing legal and policy barriers based in political and cultural conservatism.
10. Address the increased vulnerabilities of women and young people due to migration, climate change, disasters, conflict and displacement, and adopt concrete measures to mitigate their impacts, including on SRHR. Addressing SRHR among communities affected by these vulnerabilities requires eliminating disparities in accessing resources and SRHR services. Comprehensive SRHR responses must be integrated in existing programmes and services for migrants and displaced people. Women’s bodies should not be the vehicle for climate change solutions, but concern for the impact of climate change on women should prompt effective, as well as rights-respecting, efforts. Climate change particularly affects small island states and disaster-prone areas of the region, which disproportionately impacts women and other vulnerable groups. These complex problems should be addressed using a gendered, intersectional approach, situating sexuality and rights concerns within macroeconomic, environmental and livelihood issues.
11. Abolish global and regional trade and financial policies that perpetuate food insecurity, malnutrition and interlinked SRHR concerns. Recognise that food security and nutrition greatly impact SRHR, particularly of women, young people and other vulnerable groups. In times of food insecurity, women bear the greater burden of work in meeting the gap of nutrition for the household, often leading to dangerous work, unsafe food sources and malnourishment of women and girls. Inequalities along the global food chain greatly exacerbate these vulnerabilities. Local food supply chains, particularly the role of women producers, should be supported. Unfair trade policies also affect access to lifesaving medicines and must be abolished.
12. Meaningfully engage NGOs and progressive social movements from the global South as equal partners in development at all levels, particularly women-led and youth-led groups, and ensure an enabling environment for their work.
(Note: Only the 1st, 10th and 11th calls were elaborated here. For the complete KL Call to Action, please visit: www.arrow.org.my/APNGOs/KL_Call_to_Action.pdf)
We hope that these can be incorporated in Summit's outcome document and the Sustainable Development Goals!
About the Kuala Lumpur Call to Action
The Kuala Lumpur Call to Action is the outcome document of the regional meeting, Beyond ICPD and MDGs: NGOs Strategising for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region, which was organised by the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) along with our partners the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
To support this Call, volunteer to translate it in your language, or get print copies for distribution, please get in touch with any of the following ARROW staff: Ambika Varma (email@example.com), Maria Melinda (Malyn) Ando (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nida Mushtaq (email@example.com) and Rachel Arinii Judhistari (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The participants of the meeting also formed the Asia-Pacific Partnership for SRHR and Sustainable Development - an alliance to ensure the action-oriented follow-up of the meeting. The Partnership will take forward the youth, sub-regional and regional advocacy action plans developed at the meeting, to advance the SRHR agenda in the Asia-Pacific region in the lead up to 2014/2015.
Maria Melinda Ando (Malyn)
Programme Officer / AFC Managing Editor
Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
1 & 2 Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel. +603-22739913 / Fax. +603-22739916
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Facebook: The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)