The Cartagena Declaration
Declaration of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics’ Division of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Wellbeing.
The Division of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Wellbeing, with its three Committees – the Committee on Contraception, Committee on Safe Abortion, and Committee on Reproductive Medicine, Endocrinology and Infertility – met at the FIGO 2022 Regional Congress held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on 5 November 2022.
At that meeting, the Division’s leaders considered the Panama Declaration1 – which was developed during the second Federación Latinoamericana de Sociedades de Obstetricia y Ginecología (FLASOG) Summit on Contraception and Sexual and Reproductive Rights, held in Panama City in August 2022 – and the overall objectives of the Division.
FIGO declares that access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a basic and non-negotiable human right of every woman and girl in the world.
FIGO recognises that to fulfil their potential throughout the life course, a women must have access to modern methods of contraception (the choice to become pregnant when desired), safe abortion (the ability to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy) and fertility care (the ability to use artificial reproductive technology to achieve pregnancy).
In the pursuit of these rights, FIGO reiterates the following.
- The COVID-19 pandemic led to a marked setback in human rights around the world. Women were among those most affected by these setbacks. The defence of women’s SRHR is an inseparable part of the defence of human rights.
- All societies and federations of gynaecology and obstetrics should create and strengthen their committees related to sexual and reproductive rights.
- Around the world, medical doctors (including but not limited to obstetricians and gynaecologists, clinical leaders, academic specialists and other stakeholders) should promote activities that enrich the formative process and clarification of values. In turn, such activities strengthen the implementation of services that respond to the needs of women and support the promotion, protection and application of SRHR.
- The topics related to SRHR should be included in the curricula of medical student education and the training of gynaecology and obstetrics residents.2
- Working together with governmental authorities, societies and federations of gynaecology and obstetrics should draft and implement policies to ensure the existence of and access to all services and supplies that allow the protection and promotion of SRHR.
- Societies and federations should establish alliances with public and private institutions and local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that work towards the same goal, in order to maximise the effect of their actions.
- FIGO will source and support information for the dissemination of evidence-based information regarding women’s SRHR.
Dr Jeanne Conry, FIGO President
Dr Ivonne Diaz, Director, Division of SRHW
Dr Aparna Sridhar, Chair, Committee on Contraception
Dr Teresa Bombas, Chair, Committee on Safe Abortion
Dr Jaideep Malhotra, Chair, Committee on Reproductive Medicine, Endocrinology and Infertility
1. FLASOG. Declaration of Panama. 2022. https://flasog.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Declaracion-Panama-MGR-EGR-EIO-Ingles.pdf
2. FIGO, International Federation of Medical Students Associations, World Association of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Joint statement of support for the inclusion of contraception and abortion in sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing education for all medical students. 2022. www.figo.org/resources/figo-statements/joint-statement-support-inclusion-contraception-abortion-srhr-education
FIGO is a professional membership organisation that brings together more than 130 obstetrical and gynaecological associations from all over the world. FIGO’s vision is that women of the world achieve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing throughout their lives. Our work to achieve this vision is built on four pillars: education, research implementation, advocacy and capacity building.
FIGO leads on global programme activities, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. We advocate on a global stage, especially in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and wellbeing, and non-communicable diseases (SDG3). We also work to raise the status of women and enable their active participation in achieving their reproductive and sexual rights, including through addressing female-genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence (SDG5).
We also provide education and training for our Member Societies and build capacities of those in low-resource countries through strengthening leadership, translating and disseminating good practice and promoting policy dialogues.
FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization and a consultative status with the United Nations.
About the language we use
Within our documents, we often use the terms ‘woman’, ‘girl’ and ‘women and girls’. We recognise that not all people who require access to gynaecological and obstetric services identify as a woman or girl. All individuals, regardless of gender identity, must be provided with access to appropriate, inclusive and sensitive services and care.
We also use the term ‘family’. When we do, we are referring to a recognised group (perhaps joined by blood, marriage, partnership, cohabitation or adoption) that forms an emotional connection and serves as a unit of society.
FIGO acknowledges that some of the language we use is not naturally inclusive. We are undertaking a thorough review of the words and phrases we use to describe people, health, wellbeing and rights, to demonstrate our commitment to developing and delivering inclusive policies, programmes and services.