Today, Wednesday 15 April, marked the third day of the 48th CPD. it was a day full of events, but with slow progress on the negotiations...
Yesterday, the first 'negotiations' since the start of the official session (after a week of informals last week) took place. These negotiations were on the preambular paragraphs of the resolution and did not result in much agreement. Countries mostly stated and repeated their positions, which differed widely. The African and Arab groups were amongst others pushing for the deletion of references to reproductive rights and for the inclusion of a sovereignty clause. 20 other countries, including the Netherlands, were, instead, asking for a referral to sexual and reproductive health and rights. At the end of the day, the Facilitator promised to prepare a document with altered preambular paragraphs. This document with preambular paragraphs was shared around lunchtime today.
Before preparative discussions with, within and between delegations and later negotiations started again, two strong side events on meaningful engagement of young people and SRHR took place. The first, co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Ghana, the SRHR Alliances of Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda and Simavi, entitled 'Voices of Young Africans on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights - Identifying Steps towards Post-2015 SRHR Interventions', brought together African youth representatives and CSOs, the Ministers of Social and Allied Agencies and Social Development from Ghana and South Africa respectively as well the Director of the High-Level Task Force on ICPD. Clear experiences and opinions were shared and the MInisters, visibly impressed by the youth representatives, spoke out strongly in favor of Youth SRHR. This is not likely going to alter negotiations, but it is nevertheless an encouraging signal for youth SRHR advocates! Encouraging words also came from the Director of the High-Level Task Force on ICPD: she presented a long list of ideas and opportunities to ensure voices of young Africans are taken into account in the Post-2015 Agenda (summary will follow).
Last but not least, an inspirational speech was delivered at the second side-event on meaningful youth engagement, co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and Dance4Life.
Both side events have encouraged us as advocates. Despite the fact that negotiations during the evening did not result in many agreements, we will continue pushing delegations for a document which includes strong language on SRHR, gender equality and rights of women, girls and young people.
By Nienke Blauw, Public Affairs Officer SRHR at Simavi. She is attending the 48th CPD with her colleague Lara van Kouterik and partners from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda.