As we head into the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD), in the 20th year of the Programme of Action developed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), let’s not neglect substance and content for procedure and posturing.
1. Civil society access to the U.N. grounds and to government delegations is in question. Hundreds of representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) have come to New York at great expense, assured they would have access to the grounds and to the conference rooms. To have this access changed—further limited—only after deliberations have begun is unacceptable.
2. Before even officially getting underway, negotiations were suspended for the day because there was no room available that could accommodate the work of this key Commission. Women and girls deserve better.
3. As we work to achieve a strong negotiated outcome document, we need to zero in—and quickly—on the key priorities and principles. Let’s reach agreement on the need for a strong statement on sexual and reproductive health and rights and stake a claim for these issues at the center of development. Process, procedure, and management of diverse views and opinions is key, but we need to make sure the real focus remains on a content-driven document that will feed into the post-2015 development agenda, and ultimately advance that agenda for girls, women, boys and men.
4. Finally, let’s celebrate courage and leadership when we see it. Nafis Sadik, Fred Sai, and Mervat Tallawy gave remarks in the opening plenary that should serve as our true north from this point forward. What amazing testimonies they gave from their career spent in this field. Nafis and Fred both served on PAI’s board of directors, and we are proud to associate ourselves with the remarks made from such distinguished individuals.
For live daily updates from #CPD47, be sure to follow Suzanne (@SuzannePAI) and Allie (@adoodyPAI) on Twitter!