Youth and the sexual and reproductive rights

It has now been twenty years since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) in Cairo set new principles and criteria on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The ICDP exposed the fact that issues of population increase and social as well as economic growth can only be brought forward with a rights based approach.

Where do we stand 20 years after the Cairo Plan of Action, which tied together voluntary family planning, development policy and the strengthening of women’s rights? There are still 220 Million women worldwide who do not have access to birth control and 25% of girls in southern Africa still leave school due to unwanted pregnancies. It is clear that we are still facing severe obstacles hindering access to sexual and reproductive health services.

At this year’s symposium we will be addressing these obstacles and emphasising that the results of Cairo 1994 are still of utmost importance to international health cooperation.

At the centre of our discussions we have set young people, who are the key group we need to be working with in order to improve health for women and girls, mothers and children. Which obstacles do we need to overcome in order to grant youth’s access to health services? How should health services for sexual and reproductive health be modelled in order to be more youth-friendly? What kind of social environment is required for youths themselves to be able to stand up for their right to health?

So please save the symposium's date - 5th November in Basel - and join the debate.

Martin Leschhorn Strebel Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland