Countdown 2015 Europe partners were very actively involved before and during the Committee on the Status of Women (9-20 March, New York), helping to ensure a strong European voice on SRHR, including family planning, both from governments and from civil society.
In the run-up to CSW, we provided input to European governments as they negotiated the political declaration which was signed by Ministers in New York. This helped to ensure that several governments from our region, including Belgium, Sweden and Denmark, took a more progressive stance on SRHR and FP in the talks, and that the final version of the global statement was stronger than earlier drafts – even though ultimately it was still weaker than we would have liked.
Once the Committee got underway on 9 March, Countdown partners from Sweden, France and Norway organised and participated in side events and continued providing input to their national delegations in order to increase the visibility of SRHR and FP.
Our French partner Equipop organised a side event together with the organization Le Planning Familial, focusing on the role of comprehensive sexuality education in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Speakers included France’s Secretary of State for Women’s Rights Pascale Boistard, Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary for Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Family and Youth, Elke Ferner, UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Kate Gilmore, and IPPF Regional Director Carmen Barroso.
Meanwhile, Karin Nilsson of Sweden’s RFSU spoke alongside the Swedish Minister for Gender Equality and Babatunde Osotimehin from UNFPA at a high-level event entitled ‘Why Reproductive Rights Matter’. This was co-hosted by the government of Zambia, Sweden and UNFPA. She underlined the importance of comprehensive sexuality education for empowering young people, arguing that: “empowered adolescent girls can be the transformative change that the world urgently needs, if we support them rather than oppress them, if they have access to non-discriminatory sexual and reproductive health services and empowering sexuality education.”