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CPD: A Platform for Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

The 49th Commission on Population and Development (CPD) officially opened Monday to discuss the future methods of work for the Commission with a special theme of “strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda.” This is an important session for the Commission as the resolutions will not only help advance the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA), but also determine what role the CPD will play in the 2030 Agenda. While there are still unanswered questions about the High-Level Political Forum—the main body responsible for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda— this week can be used as an opportunity to highlight the importance of the CPD in a post-2015 world.

The CPD has an important role to play in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved without the full implementation of the ICPD PoA. As the sole body responsible for monitoring implementation of the ICPD PoA, CPD is an essential space for discussions that directly support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. The CPD provides member states with a space to discuss issues such as population trends and policies, migration, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is the only place in the UN system where these issues are the basis of discussions and where recommendations for the implementation of the ICPD PoA are developed. Additionally, these conversations provide member states with the opportunity to share their experiences from the regional and national level and to learn from each other to strengthen their own policies and programs on population and development.

As the Commission reviews its methods of work, there are several priorities that must be included. It is essential that the Commission continue to have a negotiated resolution. Negotiations allow for important discussion to occur on topics related to the ICPD PoA and emerging issues. Negotiations can sometimes be challenging, but this shows that member states recognize the importance of their commitments to the PoA and the impact of these issues on people’s lives. The Commission should also support the inclusion of civil society in the review of the methods of work by allocating time for them to deliver statements and include them as part of panels at the official session. Civil society offers additional expert voices that increase knowledge and strengthen CPD resolutions.

CPD remains an opportunity to have important discussions on the implementation of the ICPD PoA at the global, national, and regional levels. As the UN, member states, and civil society work to achieve the 2030 Agenda, commitment to the CPD and ICPD PoA must not only continue, but increase. Without the CPD, there will be no dedicated space to continue conversations on population and development, which will only make the SDGs that much harder to achieve.

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