Administrator

Administrator

CSO Joint Statement on the occasion of the Midterm Review of the 2013 Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development
 
 INTRODUCTION

More than 52 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 24 Asia and the Pacific countries convened for the CSO forum “Charting the way forward: Progress Gaps, and Actions” in advance of the mid-term review (MTR) of the 2013 Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development (APMDPD) from the  6th Asian and the Pacific Population conference (6APPC) and International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA) in Asia-Pacific in Bangkok on 24-25 November 2018.

The Forum discussed the progress towards the implementation of the 6APPC and ICPD PoA, gaps as well as challenges as it relates to globally and in the context of Asia and the Pacific.  The Forum culminated in this joint statement that has strong recommendations to the member states and delegates at the MTR of the 6APPC.

Various constituencies represented at the forum included women and girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people, migrants, young people and adolescents, aging, people living with and affected by HIV, people with disabilities, rural people, indigenous and tribal peoples.

 

REVIEW OF PROGRESS

There has been significant progress in terms of policies that promote sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) across the Asia and Pacific region. Implementation of SRHR policies still continues to be a challenge, especially in regards to marginalized and vulnerable groups such as women, adolescents and young people living in urban slums, rural areas, hard to reach places, persons with disabilities, migrants, stateless and ethnic minorities, indigenous and tribal peoples, people who use drugs, sex workers,  people living with and affected by HIV and people of diverse gender identities/expressions, sexual orientations and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

Structural problems in the government, inadequate human, financial and material resources, centralization of the services, limited capacity of the government agencies to operationalize human rights-based policies, and curative framework of the health care system, lack of disaggregated data often lead to implementation gap. Some of the persistent impediments pertain to patriarchal ideology, violence, stigma and discrimination, regressive policy and legislation, lack of accountability and monitoring mechanisms.

 

We call on our governments and duty bearers to take the following actions:

1.    Review, repeal and amend laws and policies that restrict the fulfilment of Universal access to SRHR including services, information and education.

2.    Ensure an enabling environment through enactment and enforcement of laws and policies to address SRHR issues of marginalized and vulnerable groups. Promote and facilitate the participation of these groups in leadership and decision-making positions.

3.    Ensure universal access to SRHR information and services using a continuum of quality care through the life cycle approach. This includes access to the full range of contraceptives services, maternal health services including emergency obstetric care, safe abortion and post-abortion care, HIV, STIs and reproductive cancers for all. This should address the needs of especially young, unmarried, adolescents and LGBTIQ.

4.    Institutionalize a mechanism for regular capacity building of key stakeholders including statistical, finance, justice and other relevant departments on gender sensitive approach and SRHR.

5.    Ensure respect for women, informed decision making, autonomy, confidentiality and privacy in the provision of safe abortion services. Expand laws and policies to reduce unsafe abortions and increase access to safe abortion as well as provide post abortion care.

6.    Increase national investment and enhance capacities of providers for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to ensure availability and accessibility of rights-based information.

7.    SRHR policy-making and programming must be evidence based and supported by ethical, gender-sensitive and country-specific research with strong inter-linkages to ICPD, and Agenda 2030.

8.    Eliminate all forms of multiple intersecting sexual and gender-based discrimination and violence including intimate partner and non-partner violence, violence perpetuated against LGBTIQ

 

EMERGING ISSUES AND GAPS

The Asia-Pacific region is at the forefront of experiencing extreme climate change events and disasters. This has increased in frequency and intensity in recent years, and disproportionately impacts women, girls and marginalized groups. SRHR is often neglected in the context of climate change and humanitarian responses.

 

We call on our governments and duty bearers to take the following actions:

1.    Ensure the collection, availability and use of high-quality data, disaggregated by sex, age, gender, disabilities, geographical settings, ethnicity, religion, marital, economic status, migrant and social status, on the impact of humanitarian situations in order to promote effective policy-making for enhanced disaster preparedness and management as well as effective implementation.

2.    Strengthen regulations and policies to halt global carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions without resorting to geo-engineering and other techno-fixes to protect livelihoods. Where countries can no longer support the lives of people due to adverse changes in their circumstances and environment resulting from climate change, the policies should ensure survival and adaptation of migrants with dignity and according to human rights based standards.

3.    Address inequalities through the formulation of policies for enhancing mobility, resilient human settlements to address the impact of climate change and disasters.

4.    Regulations should ensure corporate and government entities are accountable to actions that increase degradation of the environment. They should promote environmentally friendly practices and ensure the publishing of regular environmental impact assessments, especially in high risk areas and industries.

5.    Ensure that human rights and SRHR of marginalized and vulnerable populations, receive increased attention during the humanitarian response to crisis and post-crisis situations through access to timely, safe, high-quality, gender sensitive, affordable and comprehensive information and services.

6.    Integrate SRHR, including minimum initial service package (MISP) and prevention and response to GBV into disaster risk management mechanisms at country level.

7.    Recognize and promote local and traditional knowledge on mitigation and adaptation.

8.    Disseminate information on climate change and disasters in local languages.

9.    Ensure public participation in environment and climate change related decisions.

 

The reliance on private sector and external funding that allow States to shift the burden and responsibility of Universal Health Care (UHC) to the private sector is alarming. Combined with lack of regulatory mechanism this perpetuates corruption and capitalization of health resources and commodities. The lack of transparent and accountable health financing structures exacerbate the non-alignment of national policies with resource allocation. 

 

We call on our governments and duty bearers to take the following actions:

10.  Health financing policy frameworks need to be redesigned/created and aligned with health priorities, keeping in mind a rights-based perspective to encourage an enablingenvironment to ensure health financing for marginalized and vulnerable groups.

11.  Conduct assessment of the specific health needs, including SRHR, of marginalized and vulnerable populations to ensure appropriate resource allocation in national budgets

12.  Engage CSOs in the review and development of budgets. Independent Monitoring Bodies with CS representation must be appointed/created to evaluate health allocation and budget expenditure.

13.  Provide technical support for countries, particularly low and middle-income countries to scale-up access to essential medicines by maximizing utilization of the flexibilities under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Doha Declaration.

In many countries in Asia and the Pacific, spaces for CSOs, Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and whistle blowers are shrinking; those who dare to make a stand against injustice and defend human rights are under attack. 

 

We call on our governments and duty bearers to take the following actions:

14.  Promote, protect, respect human rights of CSOs and all human rights defenders to ensure safe and enabling environment for all.

15.  Institute, protect, and strengthen the implementation of whistle-blower policies.  Ensure effective grievance redressal mechanisms are in place.

16.  CSO registration and renewal should be transparent, simple, and according to human rights standards.

17.  Ensure meaningful spaces for CSOs and human rights defenders in decision making processes at all levels including local, national, regional and global.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY AND MONITORING

Critical dimensions of sustainable development are poorly or not measured at all in most countries.  This includes critical issues such as the extent of stigma or discrimination, the quality of education, access to health care among adolescents and youth, the quality of health care, and spatial inequalities. In the absence of a uniform data collection mechanisms to capture such qualitative and disaggregated data, planning and addressing the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations becomes impossible.

True accountability requires robust, transparent, participatory and well monitored mechanisms. Reminding Member States of their commitments towards regular monitoring and evaluation by relevant national authorities of progress towards the continuing implementation of PoA of ICPD and its related follow up outcomes, we recommend:

 

We call on our governments and duty bearers to take the following actions:

1.    Ensure all national policies are inclusive and non-discriminatory and sensitive to the rights of all, to uphold the highest standard of human rights, including SRHR.

2.    Create and strengthen mechanisms to empower communities to demand the accountability of governments in the implementation of the APMDPD and ICPD PoA.

3.    Develop and implement a rigorous rights-based and qualitative regional indicator framework for tracking the commitments of 6APPC, beyond Agenda 2030 indicators.

4.    Evaluate national frameworks and indicators to ensure alignment with the ICPD PoA and APMDPD commitments. Frameworks should include qualitative indicators and be amended as appropriate.

5.    Strengthen national data collection and statistical bodies to collect data disaggregated by sex, age, gender, disabilities, geographical settings, ethnicity, religion, economic, marital, social and migrant status.

6.    Provide adequate financial and human resources and regular capacity building to enhance collection, analysis and dissemination of data and statistics.

7.    Establish an effective partnership between governments and CSOs to develop regular country progress reports on regional and national commitments pertaining to ICPD and APMDPD. These progress reports should be translated into local languages and shared through public domain for dissemination.

8.    Regulate the private sector through development of robust and transparent regulatory frameworks to strengthen accountability.

9.    The right to information should be instituted, promoted and protected in all countries.

Calling for Applications!  CSO Forum in advance of the Midterm Review of 2013 Asia Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development

The Asia-Pacific CSO Forum will be held on 24-25 November 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, and serves as a preparatory civil society (CS) meeting in advance of the midterm review (MTR) of the 2013 Asia Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development.  The intergovernmental MTR is being organized by UNFPA APRO and ESCAP on 26-28 November 2018 at UN ESCAP, and aims to review the implementation of the Programme of Action, the key actions for the further implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the recommendations of the 2013 Asia Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development.

The CSO Forum is open to CS representatives from throughout Asia and the Pacific.  Organizations that work on the following issues are particularly encouraged to apply: SRHR, Gender Equality, HIV, Human Rights, Migration, Aging, Youth, Climate Change, or Conflict.

 Please make your applications as strong as possible, as there will be more applicants than there is space for.

A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available. Full scholarships include airfare, accommodation and modest daily subsistence allowance (DSA) will be available for a limited number of organizations according to criteria listed above. Partial scholarships includes support for  accommodation and DSA only (for participants that can support their own airfare).  If you need funding to attend, please ensure that you indicate this in your application.

The early deadline for scholarship applications is 15 October 2018.   The deadline for self-funded applications is 22 October 2018.  

Apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/QhU8LiGRUd4cnnD02

Please also indicate on the application form if you are going to attend the MTR as a CS representative on a national delegation.

Due to the limitations of space, only one person per organization is encouraged to apply.  No more than 2 persons will be considered for participation from the same organization.

Note that participation in the CSO Forum (or Youth Forum) is required for those that would like to attend the Midterm Review, but acceptance to the CSO Forum does not imply acceptance to the Midterm Review.  Please also note that the CSO Forum is open to CS representatives that do not wish to attend the MTR.

Applications will be reviewed by a regional CSO Steering Committee in consultation with the ESCAP, prioritizing those who best fit the target group and to ensure balance in geographic and thematic representation, scope of mandate, and level of experience with ESCAP processes amongst other criteria. Notification on the status of the applications will be sent by 31 October 2018.  

 

Asia Pacific Preparatory Meeting for the Global Compact 

The Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration took place from 6-8 November 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by ESCAP. The meeting was a forum for exchange of perspectives and identification of priorities with regards to the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in the Asia-Pacific region.  The preparatory meeting aimed to take stock of inputs for the global compact, to be held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from 4-6 December 2017, and to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific at its seventy-fourth session in 2018.

Read the Report of the Meeting here, and the Chair's Summary here.  

 

 

Indonesia NGO Stakeholder Submission for the UPR 

Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia 27th Session April/May 2017 Joint submission by a coalition of NGOs in Indonesia and the Sexual Rights Initiative to highlight human rights violations in Indonesia related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

21 November 2017 07:31

FPA Gender Strategy

Family Planning Australia Gender Strategy 

This plan was developed to identify how Family Planning Australia can improve reproductive and sexual health outcomes in the region through the promotion of gender equality, with a specific focus on addressing gender-based violence. The plan identifies the actions FPA can take to support their partners in the region over the next five years (2016-2020).  Read it here 

CS Intervention at the 2017 Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment

APA delivered the Women’s Constituency Intervention under Agenda Item 8: Regional input to outcomes of the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, at the Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment organized by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Environment (UNE) on 5-8 September 2017.  The Summit brought together the seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-7), organized by ESCAP, and the second Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, organized by UNE.

The statement as delivered follows: 

 

Chair, honorable delegates, fellow activists, and other stakeholders.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the women’s constituency at the Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism. We appreciate the space given to CSOs  and the chance to provide a regional perspective for UNEA 3, and support the transparency of the process.

In Asia Pacific, interlinked systemic barriers are blocking the achievement of just and sustainable development, and the creation of a pollution free environment.  We are particularly concerned about the effects of patriarchy, fundamentalism and authoritarian governance, which are currently undergoing a resurgence in this region.  

We wish to commend UNE for its comprehensive and timely report, ‘For a Pollution Free Planet’.  Pollution has already caused an unprecedented number of deaths in our region, and has harmful effects on pregnancy outcomes, fertility, and fetal health, amongst others.

However, we feel the report lacks a deeper analysis of the feminization of pollution, and how it impacts various marginalized groups.

Women and men’s health is affected differently by pollution.  Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens, with the majority of the region’s poor being women. Their unequal participation in decision-making processes and labour markets compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to planning, policy-making and implementation.  Other marginalized groups  such as people living with HIV, LGBTIQ, sex workers, people who use drugs and migrants are particularly vulnerable due to intersecting forms of discrimination.  

Honourable delegates, the planet cannot be pollution free if half of women and girls remain undernourished, face routine violence and discrimination, lack power to take decisions at multiple levels,  and lack equal opportunities for employment and  political representation.

Achieving gender equality and fulfilling the human rights of women and girls is a crucial step to sustainable development and sustainable resource use.  This includes ensuring that women and girls  are empowered and able to make fully informed choices and decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.  In this vein, we encourage stronger linkages with the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme for Action (PoA) and related processes.

To close,  we underscore the call for a Development Justice framework to tackle the rising and pervasive inequalities in the region and to support the existence of powerful, resourced, connected women’s rights movements and other social movements.

Thank you

 

Pakistan National Strategy to End Early/Forced and Child Marriages

This publication provides a strategy for tackling the reduction and elimination of early/child and forced marriages in Baluchistan Pakistan through involvement and engagement of caretakers, gatekeepers, INGOs youth, girls, boys, parents, teachers, political/ religious persons, community elders, marriage registrars, govt. officials elected representatives, legislatures, community, media, civil society, Nikahkhawains, and parliamentarians. Young girls and boys will directly benefit from the project through proper legislations for ending early/child and forced marriages, girls are not brides and boys are not grooms.

Capacities and Consent: Empowering Adolescents to Exercise Their Reproductive Rights 

This publication sets forth the barriers adolescents face in realizing their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), discusses recent critical developments in the human rights framework underpinning these rights, and proposes a way forward for guaranteeing all adolescents the full exercise of their SRHR, including their right to make informed decisions about their sexuality and reproduction. 

Read it here 

Asia Pacific SDG data portal

The 2030 Agenda is diverse and needing more reflection and consultation, the Asia Pacific SDG Partnership has committed to producing a suite of knowledge products that can meet the needs of different users, including an SDG data portal. Access it here.

Global Abortion Policies Database 

The global abortion policies database aims to promote greater transparency of abortion laws and policies and State accountability for the protection of women and girls’ health and human rights. It includes information on abortion laws, policies, health standards and guidelines. The database also includes country-specific SRH indicators, and the country profiles include penalties, ratified human rights treaties, and extracts from UN treaty monitoring body concluding observations and special procedures on abortion.

Access the database through the WHO here,  as well as on the UN website here.

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