Dispatches from CPD 2012: Will We Take Action to Make Things Better Or Just Keep Re-Writing Plans?

Dave is a volunteer youth delegate to the Commission on Population and Development, working with the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

To see all our coverage of the 2012 Commission on Population and Development, click here.

This morning, the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development officially began. Delegates from around the globe registered and entered the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to discuss the future of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and how countries can best implement the Programme of Action (PoA) that was formulated in Cairo in 1994. For the first time in recent years it was attended by the United Nations’ Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who opened the proceedings, applauding the large number of youth delegates attending this year.

So, the CPD process has been going for a while and it was imagined that the PoA would be implemented by 2014. As we are just two years away from this date there are still many unmet needs of people around the globe, particularly adolescents and youth. The implementation of the PoA is clearly going to be incomplete by 2014 and you can see this in your day-to-day lives when hearing about how many young people do not have the knowledge or agency to exercise their own rights and dictate decisions concerning their own bodies.

Given that there is clearly a great deal of work left to do in this extremely important field, there is a large amount of talk around a new stage in SRHR and development known as ‘ICPD+20 and beyond.’ The United Nations and its member countries need to evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the PoA and decide on a future direction. One of the ways that will assist with determining the focus for what the CPD process will look like after 2014 is a global survey that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is conducting over the next year. This survey aims to find out what countries are doing to implement the PoA and look at how their efforts could be improved in order to ensure all people are able to attain their sexual and reproductive health.

All of this talk is wonderful and it shows that the community is still committed to implementing the PoA. However, young people at the CPD want some assurance that the CPD process will not just continue for another 20 years and become ‘ICPD to infinity and beyond’: we want action, and a sense of urgency, from member states and civil society. We want real, concrete movements that will ensure the PoA is met sooner rather than later.

What is also very timely about this year’s Commission is that other big development programmes, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are coming to the end of their term and consequently there is a whole new global development agenda being formulated. At this extremely important time for the globe, we need to ensure that the outcome documents of this year’s and forthcoming meetings of the CPD are strong and will guarantee an increased focus on young people and their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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