E-NEWS AND INFORMATION ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS
APA will be attending the "Asia-Pacific Development Summit: Public-Private Partnerships to Close Regional Health MDG Gaps" on 3-5 September in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting is co-hosted by the Government of Indonesia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and ASEAN Foundation; and in cooperation with CSIS Washington, Pacific Health Summit, Save the Children, and U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
APA has been invited as a Gender Expert to the "Investment Framework Community Mobilization Consultation", on 3-5 September in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by the International Civil Society Support (ICSS) and funded by UNAIDS. The meeting will convene key civil society stakeholders from concentrated epidemics, particularly from Asia and is part of consultative process to achieve clarifications and support for active engagement with the Investment Framework (IF) uptake in several countries.
Population Action International (PAI) is organizing a workshop on “Population and Climate Change: Exploring the Connections for Research and Advocacy” on 26 August in Bangkok, Thailand. Their award-winning climate change documentary 'Weathering Change' will be screened at the workshop. Access the documentary here
Raks Thai Foundation is organizing a Regional Workshop on the “Review of the GMS Countries’ Existing Reproductive Health Legislations, Policies, and Services for Women and Women Migrant Workers” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 23-28 September. The workshop includes a sharing of national experiences from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries, strategizing for advocacy with ASEAN mechanisms for the reproductive health rights of female migrant workers, and a two day site visit.
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) is looking for an enthusiastic, talented and professional Event Co-ordinator to assist with management of the 2012 World AIDS Day Appeal. Reporting to the NZAF Fundraising Manager, responsibilities will include recruiting and training volunteers, producing appeal collateral, as well as developing post appeal recommendations for 2013. The contractor will work part-time from September to December out of the NZAF Auckland office. Read more here.
The Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) invites applications from young persons living and working in Asia to join the Advocacy Institute for Safe Abortion Rights to be held in Mumbai, India from 31 October to 3 November 2012. The deadline for applications is 31 August. Read more here.
UN Women’s Pacific Regional EVAW Facility Fund has a call for proposals to provide grants and capacity development to support civil society organizations and Pacific Island governments to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG) using a human rights and gender-responsive approach. Civil society organisations and governments (national and local) from 8 Pacific countries (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) to apply for grants between USD 10,000 to 100,000 for projects of 1-3 years in duration. Deadline for applications is 12 September. Read more here.
India is targeting to cut maternal mortality ratio by a quarter to 150 per 1,00,000 live births by 2015, stated Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on 14 August. According to the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group report on 'Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010' released this year by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, the Maternal Mortality Ratio in India has come down from 600 in 1990 to 200 per 1,00,000 live births in 2010. Read more here.
Efforts to improve maternal health and birth spacing services, designed to save the lives of mothers and infants and support reproductive rights, is one of the topics of discussion next week when Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, is scheduled to meet with Myanmar President Thein Sein and the ministers of Health, Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Planning, Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Population, National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and others. Read more here.
The Global Youth Forum: Youth Rights at the Heart of Development seeks to tackle emerging issues and priorities for young people globally and ensure that these issues are central to the outcomes of the ICPD review process, and will take place 4 – 6 December in Bali, Indonesia. Applications are now being accepted from youth under the age of 30. Deadline for applications is 15 September. Read more here.
A new article “Human rights accountability for maternal death and failure to provide safe, legal abortion: the significance of two ground-breaking CEDAW decisions” affirms that accessible and good quality health services are vital to women’s human rights and expand States’ obligations in relation to these. States must ensure national accountability for sexual and reproductive health rights, and provide remedies and redress in the event of violations. Published in Reproductive Health Matters, by authors E. Kismödi, J.B. de Mesquita, X.A. Ibañez, R. Khosla & L. Sepúlveda. Access the article here.
The Red Umbrella Fund has launched its first call for proposals. Groups and networks of sex workers operating in the following thematic issues (but not limited to) are eligible: promoting universal human rights; right to and access to quality health care; ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights; combating violence against sex works; labour rights for sex workers; decriminalisation and depenalisation of sex work; social justice: lifting stigma and discrimination and promote social inclusion; organisational development issues and movement building. Grant requests can range from 4,000 EURO to 40,000 EURO. Deadline for applications is 15 September. Read more here.
Nominations are now being accepted for the David Kato Vision & Voice Award. It is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrates courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particularly in environments where these individuals face continued rejection, marginalization, isolation and persecution. The award will be accompanied by a one-time grant of $10,000. Nominations are due August 31. Read more here.
"Wherever I go, I raise the issue of women’s empowerment with governments. That is because although there has been important progress, women still do not have a strong enough voice in decision-making. Women make up just a fraction of all chief executives of the world’s biggest companies. Fewer than one in ten presidents or prime ministers are women. And less than one in five parliamentarians are women." highlighted Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, in his remarks to the World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women on August 13. Read more here.
E-NEWS AND INFORMATION ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS
As the International Conference on AIDS (IAC) in Washington, DC, has come to an end, explore the challenges of placing women and girls on the HIV response agenda in a concentrated epidemic in Asia and the Pacific. “Critical ingredients for effective HIV responses... Women and girls in a concentrated epidemic” was written by Rose Koenders, Rodelyn Marte and Katy Pullen and published in ALQ/Mujeres Adelante July 2012. Read the article here.
‘Harmonizing Efforts for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for the ‘post-2015’ Global Framework’, the 11th APA Conference and General Meeting of Members will take place 13-14 November in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Read the Concept Note here. Registration information will be made available soon.
APA and members were amongst 74 CSOs from 34 countries that endorsed a letter calling for greater support for reproductive rights from governments that failed to support these rights at Rio+20. The letter was prepared by Catholics for Choice and Population Action International (APA Member) and was mailed to foreign ministers and UN Ambassadors. Read the letter here.
A new video by Pathfinder International (APA Member) explores the barriers that women face to reproductive healthcare. The video asks, what does the world look like when women can choose if, when, and how often to have children? The power of choice is when every woman, every man, every young person, has access to sexual and reproductive health. Watch the video here.
HIV treatment as prevention was one of the hot topics at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington DC last month. Shaun Robinson, Executive Director of New Zealand AIDS Foundation (APA Member) talks about the NZAF's position on treatment as prevention and the consequences of lowered condom use. Read the article here.
A New Zealand Parliamentarian's Open Hearing on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Pacific, and two capacity building projects - Sister Savve in Solomon Islands and Healthy Family Project in Kiribati - are the top highlights of this edition of Interaction Magazine, published by Family Planning International (APA Member). Access Interaction here.
A new article by Sean Mackesy-Buckley of Family Planning International (APA Member) explains that while most Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) have missed out being explicitly targeted at the recent Family Planning Summit in London, the Summit does nevertheless provide the region as a whole with a unique and rare opportunity to capitalise on family planning’s sudden and dramatic return to visibility on the global development agenda. Now is the time for regional advocates to step up calls for PICs and regional donors to be more accountable to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of the region’s peoples. Read the article here.
In a new article, Elissa Kennedy from Burnet Institute (APA member), shares that when speaking about increasing the access to contraception, some of the poorest progress has been made in the Pacific. Meeting the needs of women and girls dispersed across 500 islands in over 30 million square kilometres of Pacific Ocean will require considerable resources, but a forthcoming cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Burnet Institute and Family Planning International for Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands indicate that such an investment would have substantial benefits. Read more here.
The 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP11) will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 17-23 November 2013. The theme is 'Asia/Pacific Reaching Triple Zero. Investing in Innovation". Read more here.
The RH bill, which has been introduced in Philippine Congress in various versions for more than a decade now, for the first time has reached the second phase in the legislative process. The next phase is the period of amendments. Read about how the RH Bill offers a chance for reproductive justice in the Philippines here.
Australia will double its aid funding for family planning services in developing countries to $50 million a year by 2016. Announced on the eve of the recent Family Planning Summit, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australia's funding will deliver reproductive health services, family planning information and modern contraception, particularly in the Asia-Pacific. It will be delivered through partner organisations including the UNFPA and the IPPF. Read more here.
According to Dr. Jackie Blue, Chair of the New Zealand Parliamentarians Forum on Population and Developmebnt “New Zealand spends the majority of its aid money in the Pacific. Over the past decade family planning programmes in the Pacific have received just 0.03% of the region’s aid. Pacific women have expressed a desire to have fewer children, and a desire to space their children. Despite this, support for family planning programmes in the Pacific has diminished and does not meet demand. This is an issue of utmost importance that New Zealand should be seeking to support with our international development assistance.” Read the press release here.
Pakistan has one of the poorest maternal and health indices in the world. In order to achieve goals in reduction of maternal and child morality, family planning need to be part of broader sexual and reproductive health and rights. Dr. Tauseef Ahmed, Country Director for Pathfinder International, explained that "lack of political will and funding has severely hampered Pakistan from achieving most MDGs….No attention is given to several aspects of family planning, including contraceptive procurement, counseling to millions of women who want to adopt family planning methods, and quality of services." Read more here.
Activists are raising alarm over Indonesia’s anti-abortion laws, saying that criminalized abortion encourages women to turn to illegal practices that can be fatal. "The criminalization of abortion is a form of violence against women. State and society have failed to see women as subjects; women are increasingly seen as objects and are subordinated under the law," explained Inna Hudaya, founder of SAMSARA, an NGO that provides assistance to women with unplanned pregnancies. An estimated 2.5 million abortions are performed in Indonesia every year, but the figure might be higher than that, as many women turn to illegal clinics and traditional healers to have their pregnancies terminated discreetly. Read more here.
The Holy See led the charge against sexual and reproductive rights at Rio+20 last month, with support of the G77, an organization of developing countries. The participating countries emphasized the need for universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health and the integration of reproductive health in national strategies and programs in the outcome document. But express reproductive rights language was deleted. Read the article here.
A new resource on ICPD+20: ‘Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Rights: A Human Rights Framework’ sets out the link between human rights and the improvement of sexual and reproductive health. Published by Amnesty International, the briefing highlights some of the gaps in and challenges to the implementation of the Programme of Action in relation to sexual and reproductive rights; and contains recommendations to end exclusion, increase participation and accountability, and ensure sexual and reproductive rights as human rights. Read the Briefing here.
Evidence that punitive laws and human rights abuses are costing lives, wasting money and stifling the global AIDS response is contained in a new report by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. "HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health," finds that governments in every region of the world have wasted the potential of legal systems in the fight against HIV. The report also concludes that laws based on evidence and human rights strengthen the global AIDS response - these laws exist and must be brought to scale urgently. Read the report here.
Domestic funding for HIV has exceeded international investments, according to a new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). ‘Together we will end AIDS’, states that low- and middle- income countries invested US$ 8.6 billion for the response in 2011, an increase of 11% over 2010. BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) increased domestic public spending on HIV by more than 120% between 2006 and 2011. BRICS countries now fund, on average, more than 75% of their domestic AIDS responses. International funding however remained flat at 2008 levels (US$ 8.2 billion). Read the Report here.
A new series of publications by the Lancet reviews the evidence for the effects of population and family planning on people's well-being and the environment, timed with the recent Family Planning Summit in London on July 11. The Family Planning series amalgamates the latest thinking underpinning these debates, showing how lack of access to family planning carries a huge price, not only in terms of women's and children's health and survival but also in economic terms. Access the series here.
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