Unfinished business: The pursuit of rights and choices for all
(The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

State of World Population 2019

Despite remarkable achievements in the past five decades, much more must be done to break the barriers that prevent women, men and couples from fully exercising their reproductive rights and choices, says new UNFPA report released today.

The year 2019 is unique as it marks two important milestones in the field of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights: 50 years since the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) began operations globally, and 25 years since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo where 179 governments agreed on a call for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, and safe pregnancy and childbirth services. UNFPA’s State of World Population Report 2019 traces advances in reproductive health on the anniversaries of these two important milestones.

These two events — the launch of the first United Nations agency dedicated to addressing population dynamics and the reproductive health needs of the world’s people with Filipino national Rafael Salas as its first Executive Director, and the declaration of a global commitment to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights — have fundamentally shaped the lives of women and families, and the societies in which they live, in the decades that followed. The revolutionary changes have been made in measurable and immeasurable, profound and trivial, permanent and fleeting ways.

Activists, advocates, government agencies like the Philippine Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) – which also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year - and UNFPA have jointly advanced the transformations that ordinary citizens see around themselves today and have helped tear down various and evolving social, economic and institutional barriers that women and young people have faced in exercising their reproductive rights over the past 50 years. As a result, more women today have access to the information and services they need to decide for themselves whether, when or how often to become pregnant. (To be continued)

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