May 28, 2014
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister:
As you prepare Canada for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the Programme of Action (PoA) of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 on September 22 2014, we would like to draw your attention to a document regarding the twenty year review of the ICPD PoA and the post-2015 agenda, approved unanimously by Parliamentarians of 134 nations at the Sixth International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (IPCI/ICPD) held in Stockholm, Sweden from April 23-25.
The Stockholm Statement of Commitment was based on the highest-quality data and a formal analysis of the state of population and development, globally. Previous outcomes called for at least 10 per cent of national development budgets and development assistance budgets for population and reproductive health programmes.
The Statement of Commitment asks governments to move beyond the narrow Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 (To reduce child mortality) and 5 (To improve maternal health by 2015) to full implementation of the Programme of Action, agreed to 20 years ago, in Cairo.
It further draws on the key actions and recommendations of the global thematic meetings on youth, human rights and women’s health and the outcomes of regional reviews.
The Statement of Commitment also acknowledges the progress made on some of the goals of the ICPD, but recognises that challenges remain to achieve the Millennium development goals; especially MDG 5b: universal access to sexual and reproductive health, and to the full range of reproductive health services, including safe abortion, where legal.
Indeed, evidence shows that many women and girls who are the poorest, most marginalised and vulnerable or who live in regions where they do not enjoy gender equality because of religious and cultural barriers, or who live in the poorest nations, have not realised the same gains made by other women.
Global Parliamentarians recommend that women’s reproductive health can only be achieved when the human rights of women, girls and youth are realised. Women do not only need health care when they are pregnant. Their overall health as girls, adolescents and youth determine the outcomes of pregnancy, post-partum and neonatal health and survival.
Global Parliamentarians also called for policies and legislation that would put an end to domestic, societal and other forms of violence against women and girls including honour killings, early and forced marriages and rape as a weapon of war.
To this end, the Stockholm Statement of Commitment (available only in English) calls on the world’s governments to support a human-rights based post-2015 development paradigm that ensures gender equality, women and adolescent’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and comprehensive development for youth and women through education, social development and innovation.
It calls for targets and indicators on sexual and reproductive health; for effective accountability mechanisms and full transparency on funding and outcomes.
You will note that a Declaration of Human Rights (available only in English) is also attached. It is an integral component of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment, since it represents the over arching principles of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population on Development, as we move toward the post 2015 agenda.
We hope that you will give strong consideration to the Stockholm Statement of Commitment on the Implementation of the ICPD beyond 2014 and not only incorporate it into the Canada’s development policy but, in true Canadian fashion, be a champion for its acceptance by the UN General Assembly’s Special Session in September 2014.
Hon. Hedy Fry PC, MP
Liberal Vice-Chair, CAPPD,
Member of Drafting Committee of The Stockholm Statement of Commitment.
Mylène Freeman MP,
NDP Vice-Chair, CAPPD,
Member of Steering Committee IPCI/ICPD
Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development
Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health
Hon. Kelly Leitch, Minister of Status of Women
Read the Statement of Commitment, here.
Read the Declaration on Human Rights, here.
Click here to download original letter.