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The Bali Global Youth Declaration: For Young People, By Young People

8:27 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Lindsay Menard-Freeman and Amanda Keifer for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Flags at the United Nations

The Bali Youth Forum is setting important agenda for the global community.

With the world’s population now at seven billion and counting, issues of human rights, health, education, and employment require action more urgently than ever before — especially for youth under the age of 25, who comprise more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

That’s why we joined more than 3,000 young people from more than 150 countries — in Bali and virtually — this week at the Global Youth Forum to chart a progressive vision for equitable, sustainable, and just global development.

At the meeting, hosted by the United Nations Population Fund and the Indonesian government, the multi-stakeholder attendees agreed to a historic set of recommendations for the global community on sexual rights; gender equality; ending discrimination against LGBTQI youth; safe, legal and accessible abortion; support for meaningful youth participation in policy and program design and development; and a whole range of other amazing and forward-looking outcomes!

In recent decades, the international development agenda has changed dramatically. Historic United Nations agreements throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, such as the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD), the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Millennium Development Goals, established a new paradigm for sustainable development that privileges a human rights-based approach to development instead of a ‘population control’ framework.

This shift towards a human rights-centered development agenda, which includes ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health and achieving gender equality, was a watershed change. But today, we live in a very different world. Young people everywhere face threats to their human rights and health, including discrimination, violence, and a lack of educational and employment opportunities. At the same time, an increasingly interconnected global youth movement has been at the forefront of political and social transformations like the Arab Spring. Now, more than ever, engaging the largest-ever generation of youth is critical as we determine the future of global development.

We know what it’s like to live as youth and adolescents in an ever-changing and increasingly globalized world. That’s why our participation in the Forum was so important: With the 20th anniversary of the ICPD quickly approaching and with the Millennium Development Goals set to expire in 2015, world leaders are now tasked with setting the “post-2015 agenda” that will determine global development policies for years to come.

Moving forward, our agenda is clear: young people must be meaningfully involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of international development policies. The Global Youth Forum is the first of its kind in the process of forging consensus on the post-2015 development agenda. The resulting Declaration will inform ongoing events within the post-2015 process, including the Secretary General’s report to member states in September 2013.

The outcome of the Bali Youth Forum is another momentous step in the formation of a new set of global development priorities as FOR young people and BY young people. We have made our voices loud and clear: we want our rights upheld and respected regardless of our sexual orientation, gender, income, education or location.  And we will not settle for anything less.

Click here to read the final declaration.   

Photo by UN Photo/Joao Araujo released under a Creative Commons license.

Dispatches from CPD 2012: Tracking the Opposition’s Attacks on Youth Rights

12:47 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Anonymous for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

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

Photo by David Dennis.

This week, the United Nations (UN) is host to the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development. This annual meeting builds on a resolution made in Cairo back in 1994 that outlines how country governments can ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights needs of their people, and of women and young people in particular. Each year, the Commission assesses countries’ progress on this agreement and new commitments are made to prioritize efforts for the forthcoming year. This year, for the first time, it’s focused exclusively on the needs of young people and we are here at the UN, en force.

As a young sexual and reproductive health activist, I believe in the importance of a rights-based approach to all aspects of sexuality, realized through the provision of basic health services like comprehensive sexuality education and safe abortion. It is not my opinion that we should force these, or any other, services on young people, but rather that we should have the ability to access them if we want to.

Clearly, not everyone believes this. Over the past few years, as the global economic recession and a neoconservative shift has swept the globe, there are more and more organisations that exist to oppose the values and missions of rights-based organisations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which I’m here representing. Many of these opposition efforts are religiously-motivated. Their ‘anti-sexual and reproductive health and rights’ discourse is forever present in the media and continued debate occurs over these controversial issues.

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Dispatches from CDP 2012: Why Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Not “Anti-Family”

12:42 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Yolí Sánchez Neyoy for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Cross-posted with permission from The Watchdog. To see all our coverage of the 2012 Commission on Population and Development, click here.

Photo by Tetra Pak.

I am a 29-year-old woman from Mexico, and I’m here at the Commission on Population and Development working to promote young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. I come from a family which I love, and from which I have received a lot of support for all my endeavors. I am a strong believer that family, in all its forms, is an important unit of society, and that it can play a strong role in educating young people and adolescents. I am also a strong believer that individuals’ human rights should be respected.

I do believe however that youth and adolescents’ access to comprehensive sexuality education should not be limited by or to their parents. Why? Many young people do not have a supportive family, their family may not know how to or want to answer young people’s questions, or worse, they may have the wrong information that will put young people at risk.

Some young people may be mistreated by their parents for bringing up controversial topics, regarding sexuality and health; how does THAT help? Additionally, adolescents will not ask questions if they are not in a safe environment, and some families don’t always make this easy. These are questions they need and have the right to have answers on, and their health and wellbeing is at stake.

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