Gender Equality and Development MEPs attended the 25th UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi, Kenya, from Tuesday to Thursday.

During the three-day UN International Conference, Women’s Rights and Development MEPs participated in different sessions and took part in discussions on advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, which are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.


They also met, inter alia, Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director, youth champions from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda supported by the German Foundation for World Population (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung) and representatives of a number of local NGOs (FEMNET, Centre for Reproductive Rights Regional Office, SheDecides Kenya, FGM activists...). After these lively exchanges with civil society organisations, Members of the EP delegation, jointly with representatives of the European Commission and the EU delegation to Kenya, issued a statement of solidarity with Kenyan civil society working on women’s rights. On Thursday, both Co-Chairs of the delegation held a press conference.


In parallel, MEPs also participated in a parliamentary forum on health, rights and development, where they discussed parliamentarians’ commitment on these three subjects with national MPs, Speakers of Houses and high representatives from UN bodies.


At the end of the mission, Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT), Chair of the Women’s Rights Committee and Co-Chair of the delegation, said: ‘‘It is crucial to ensure that in today’s world, all girls and women have access to comprehensive sex education and contraceptives. The promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights will be essential to achieving the SDGs by 2030. In order to deliver, we do need a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the Nairobi commitments.’’


Norbert Neuser (S&D, DE), second Vice-Chair of the Development Committee and Co-Chair of the delegation, added: ‘‘Population trends will fundamentally shape Africa’s future developments prospects. Political leadership is needed to promote gender equality, sexual and reproductive health rights and sustainable family sizes.’’


Next steps


DEVE and FEMM MEPs are drafting a motion for resolution on the 25th anniversary of ICPD. The text looks into the main commitments of the Summit: zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women, girls and youth. It also proposes the way forward in terms of the political and funding commitments. The draft resolution is foreseen to accompany an oral question to the Commission and the Council and will be finalised after the Summit.


Background


This year marked the 25th anniversary of the ICPD in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted a landmark Programme of Action that set out to empower women and girls for their sake, and for the benefit of their families, communities and nations.


Members who participated in the delegation:


Evelyn REGNER (S&D, AT), FEMM, Co-Chair of the delegation

Norbert NEUSER (S&D, DE), DEVE, Co-Chair of the delegation

Pierrette HERZBERGER-FOFANA (Greens/EFA, DE), DEVE/FEMM

Eugenia RODRIGUEZ PALOP (GUE/NGL, ES), FEMM

Chrysoula ZACHAROPOULOU (Renew Europe, FR), DEVE/FEMM

Robert BIEDRON (S&D, PL), FEMM

Frances FITZGERALD (EPP, IE), FEMM/DEVE

Ryszard CZARNECKI (ECR, PL), DEVE

Shaffaq MOHAMMED (Renew Europe, UK), DEVE/FEMM

Virginie JORON (ID, FR), FEMM