Ottawa – From 26-27 April, members of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Dr Hedy Fry (MP Vancouver Center) and Pam Damoff (MP Oakville North-Burlington) were among 130 Parliamentarians from over 65 countries at the Global Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, in preparation for the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit. The conference focused on priority areas including human security, infectious diseases, gender equality, youth and universal health care, and culminated in the adoption of a Declaration.
Returning to Canada, Dr Fry and Ms Damoff are urging the Canadian government to integrate the commitments contained in the Declaration into the outcome of the upcoming G7 Summit this 26-27 May in Ise-Shima, Japan. The delegation of Canadian parliamentarians, headed by Member of Parliament Dr Hedy Fry played a critical role in securing commitments related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“Representing Canada, and as lead negotiator for the Americas region, I was successful in securing theme commitments. Had it not been for Canada, the Declaration would not have included reference to the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution,” said Dr. Fry. With support from the UK and Germany, the delegation secured a reference to UN Security resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security.
Women and girls are often those most vulnerable in conflict and post-conflict settings, in part through the ongoing use of rape as a strategy of war and other forms of gender-based violence. It is therefore essential that G7 countries like Canada continue to advocate for women and girls’ empowerment through not only access to comprehensive support services for those affected by conflict, but also their engagement in peace prevention and resolution processes. Recognizing the importance of this issue, Italy has already announced it will host the 2017 Global Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development under the theme ‘women and girls in humanitarian settings.’
The Declaration further calls on parliamentarians to invest in Universal Health Coverage with a focus on the most marginalized, to enable access to full reproductive health services, to remove legal barriers preventing access to safe abortion, and to earmark at least 10% of ODA for sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls.
During the conference, Dr. Fry was invite to speak on a panel discussing ‘Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality: reproductive health and universal health coverage.’
“It was an exciting opportunity to work alongside Dr Hedy Fry, at a late-night drafting session to develop the declaration that was presented for adoption at the conference. Earlier this year I hosted a roundtable in Oakville North-Burlington and we discussed how we could work as a community to empower women internationally. I was able to bring these recommendations to the conversation. The exchange with parliamentarians from other G7 countries and other countries around the world on this topic was insightful and I am proud of the declaration we produced,” said Ms. Damoff.
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About CAPPD: The Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD), an all-party parliamentary association that works to advance issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and human rights. CAPPD’s membership includes parliamentarians from both the House of Commons and the Senate, representing all major political parties. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas on a range of population and development related-issues, both in Canada and globally.