Are Young People Prepared for ICPD+20?
As a part of the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD), IPPF/WHR held a luncheon at the UN Delegate's Dining Room to discuss the importance of protecting and promoting youth health and rights in Latin America for ICPD+20 and beyond. The side event featured Regional Director Carmen Barroso; Dr. Babarunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA; Maria Antonieta Alcalde, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at IPPF/WHR; and four youth leaders working in the field of youth sexual and reproductive health.
"This is one of the most important events to take place -- to talk about young people, for young people, and with young people," said Dr. Osotimehin. "We can't work with young people without knowing what they want. Now is the time to listen."
Dr. Osotimehin stated that universal access to sexual and reproductive health remains an urgent challenge and that youth need safe spaces to express themselves. He spoke about the positive impact investments in girls has on global development and explained that comprehensive sexuality education not only helps youth make informed decisions about their personal well being; it also improves the lives of everyone in their community.
After Dr. Osotimehin's remarks, Maria Antonieta Alcalde facilitated a discussion with the four youth experts on the importance of this year's CPD. She began by asking the advocates what they have seen change in their lifetimes. Juan Camilo Saldarriago, of ADC Costa Rica, responded that more people recognize the important role sexuality plays in a country's development. Stefanie Suclupe, of INPPARES Peru, spoke about the negative impact of laws that criminalize consensual sex between young people. She said the law is out of sync with public opinion, and she is involved in a campaign to deliver a petition to the Peruvian government demanding the law be changed.
In answering the question of what governments should prioritize in the ICPD+20, Alan Figueroa, of CIES Bolivia, said he wants his government to define 'sexual rights'. Figueroa said they need to look at sexual rights from a youth point of view, and that he'd be happy for elected officials to speak with youth advocates like him. Cecilia Espinoza, of IPAS, says she's concerned that violence against women isn't being well addressed. All agreed that youth are not simply standing by; they are taking action in the form of local activism and global advocacy.
You can see photos from the ICPD+20 and Emerging Issues Luncheon by clicking on the slideshow below. Many thanks to MYX Global for tweeting throughout the event!