UN75: shaping a gender-equal future

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The United Nations took a landmark step in a long journey towards collective action for global peace, development and human rights when it acknowledged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that access to family planning for every woman is essential to the development of us all.

This journey continues, as the UN prepares to mark its 75th anniversary in 2020.

FIGO welcomes the announcement of the launch of their biggest-ever conversation on the role of global cooperation, UN75: 2020 And Beyond – shaping our future together.

We also re-affirm the fundamental importance of women’s health and rights in building that future.

There are still many areas where slow progress across multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continues to adversely affect the health and well-being of women and children.

With only 11 years until the agenda is due, there is still so much more work to be done to deliver the goals and make the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres a reality:

“We are pushing for human rights and gender equality -- and saying “no” to hatred of any kind.”

UN75 asks stakeholders to take three actions: connecting people, amplifying their voices, and inspiring action.

As a global federation, dialogue is the engine of FIGO’s community; we look forward to bringing the strength of our 132 National Member Societies to UN75, along with our expertise in key areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights, education, research and advocacy.

This will include other interlinking milestones across 2020, including the 25th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women, the five-year review of the SDGs and the 10th anniversary of UN Women.

Said Dr Faysal El-Kak, FIGO’s Vice President and a vocal advocate for women’s health and rights,

“Gender and women’s empowerment are key to achieving the 17 ambitious SDG goals. Goal 5 - achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls - is fundamental in that regard. Gender equality, education, health care, and ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights all contribute to raising status of women.”  

Two of the 17 ambitious SDGs directly relate to sexual and reproductive health, and as we made clear in our statement to the World Health Assembly in May 2019, they will only be met through the full contribution of every person.

The equal participation of women as decision makers, in their own lives and at both national and global levels, ensures unique perspectives and experiences are heard. Listening to women themselves, and leveraging their authentic voices, brings a better understanding of women’s needs, and leads to better decisions and policies.

FIGO is pleased to see that UN75 seeks to place special emphasis on youth and those whose voices are too often marginalised or not heard in global affairs, and welcomes the emphasis on forward-looking, inclusive dialogue:

We need to listen better to those who feel left out and left behind. We need to discuss how we can move from where we are – and are headed – to where we need to be. The costs of not talking, not communicating are too high.

Too many have paid the cost, for too long. Together with our partners across the women’s health and rights community, FIGO will work to shape a future that works for us all.