Statement of Iceland in a meeting in the Commission on Population and Development
Commission on Population and Development
Statement by H.E. Greta Gunnarsdottir, Permanent Representative of Iceland
47th Session of the Commission on Population and Development, April 2014
Assessment of the status of implementation of the
Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development
The MDGs have brought progress in several areas. However, progress has been uneven and tends to be slower for women and girls. Improvements in maternal health have been particularly slow, and it is of serious concern that the target to reduce the maternal mortality rate by three-quarters is one of the goals that is lagging farthest behind. To accelerate progress on MDG5, it is vital to increase focus on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.
As the MDG´s deadline draws closer, progress must be accelerated, especially for the most marginalized groups. At the same time, we will have a valuable opportunity in 2015 when we will be renewing our commitments and adopting a new development agenda.
In this regard, Iceland welcomes and endorses the findings and recommendations of the Framework of Actions for the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the ICPD Beyond 2014 as an essential contribution to the SDG´s and Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Allow me to highlight a few critical issues that require greater commitment in our efforts to implement our commitments from Cairo and in setting the stage for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
First and foremost it is vital to increase focus on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. We need to be far more progressive in this field and must respect and protect the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive rights, without any discrimination, regardless of age, sex, race, class, religion, marital status, disability or HIV status, or sexual orientation and gender identity, or any other factor.
Second, all efforts must be made to end violence against women and impunity for perpetrators. This includes eradicating domestic violence which is a disgrace in all our societies as well as all harmful practices against women and girls, including early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Additionally, the importance of ensuring universal access for all victims and survivors of gender-based violence to critical services for their safety, health, legal and other supports and access to justice cannot be understated.
Third, we need to accelerate progress to achieve universal access to quality, integrated, comprehensive and affordable sexual and reproductive health information, education and services that protect the rights to privacy, confidentiality, informed choice and voluntary consent and prohibit any form of discrimination, coercion or violence. Emphasis must be placed on adolescent girls, early pregnancy prevention and reducing maternal mortality and morbidity among this group and HIV prevention for all young people.
This should include comprehensive sexuality education for all young people to enable them to make informed decisions and plan their lives and protect themselves from sexual and reproductive health problems. Such education also promotes respect for human rights and gender equality as well as mutual respect and non-violence in relationships, tolerance, responsible parenthood and equal rights within families and relationships.
This should also include achieving the existing MDGs on improving maternal health and halting the spread of HIV, ensuring access to quality information and counseling on a full range of modern methods of contraception, including emergency contraception, and ending maternal deaths and morbidities due to unsafe abortion by ensuring access to quality treatment of complications, removing punitive measures for women and girls who have undergone unsafe abortion.
Now that we are examining the successes and challenges of the MDG´s, reviewing and appraising the implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD and deliberating a new development framework, we are presented with a unique opportunity to let all these three important issues come together and ensure that we continue to build upon what we started in Cairo and at the Millennium Summit to achieve a future that we want as a result of the new commitments we will make in 2015.
Thank you Madam/Mr. Chair