Yesterday UN member states reached consensus in the Rio+20 negotiations. From the perspective of the Population and Climate Change Alliance (PCCA) which called for the summit to address the critical linkages between population, sexual and reproductive health and rights and sustainability, Rio+20 has delivered some wins for women and sustainability, but there have also been failures.
Considering the point of departure; not a single reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the zero draft outcome document, we can celebrate the good language on sexual and reproductive health, and the reaffirmation of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action of (ICPD PoA). But on the other hand, the consensus document fails to recognize both reproductive rights and the critical relationship between population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and sustainable development.
Below we provide an overview of these issues in relation to The future we want.
References to sexual and reproductive health and rights are mostly found in the ‘Health and population’ and the ‘Gender equality and women’s empowerment’ sections in Chapter five covering cross-cutting issues.
In the end, the negotiations came to a close very quickly, with the Brazilians keen to secure an outcome document from what had been extremely slow and difficult negotiations.
It seems that the Brazilians who put the last negotiation draft together took the decision at the last minute not to include reference to reproductive rights, despite according to various sources having promised to.
In contrast to recent negotiations on the Commission on Population and Development, the EU did not split in the Rio negotiations. And as Malta and Poland do not support reproductive rights, nor did the EU. The G77, with over 130 countries, has never had a shared position. The G77 did split in the negotiations and in what seemed to be a coordinated effort, all the well-known anti-SRHR countries spoke out against reproductive rights. Throughout the negotiations the Holy See had been vocal in opposing text relating to to both SRHR and population dynamics. Only a few Latin American countries spoke in support of reproductive rights while the African and Asian countries were almost completely silent.
It was clear that delegations lacked SRHR experts in the negotiations and that this had a very negative impact on the SRHR outcome.
The final outcome document sets out a process for the establishment of a set of Sustainable Development Goals, but unlike previous drafts does not suggest specific themes or cross-cutting issues.
On the SDGs:
It is still the intention that the SDGs and the MDGs should be integrated post 2015. How this will happen is more uncertain but one thing is sure; SRHR advocates must address the shortcomings of Rio+20 and integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and human rights-based consideration of population dynamics as cross-cutting issues that are central to a sustainable future.
The PCCA had a strong presence at the Rio+20 summit, with the member organisations Blue Ventures Madagascar, IPPF, PAI, PATH Foundation Philippines Inc., PHE Ethiopia Consortium, RFSU, Sex & Samfund, as well as PSN, all represented at the summit.
The alliance had a visible impact on the final document, particularly the inclusionof a ‘Population and Health section’ originally proposed by the alliance, and containing some of our recommendations.
We held a successful side-event Population, rights and sustainability: voices from the Global South and PCCA was busy throughout the informal negotiations in the run-up to the summit, seeking to influence the outcome of the summit.
To stay up to date and share infomation about the latest Rio+20 developments relating to population and SRHR issues you could join the PCCA Rio+20 egroup. Contact Sarah Fisher if you are interested in joining.
Read more about the PCCA, our call for Rio+20 and our publication Why talk about population and reproductive rights at Rio+20?