Index Report: the implementation of ICPD PoA beyond 2014 is key to sustainable development
The UN Secretary General’s Index Report was released earlier this month, marking one of the final milestones of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond review process. The report, which will serve as key document for the upcoming UN General Assembly Special Session on ICPD, recognizes that fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women, men and young people is imperative for sustainable development.
The Index Report “Recurrent themes and key elements identified during the sessions of the Commission on Population and Development” is the conclusion of the technical part of the ICPD operational review and developed in accordance General Assembly resolution 65/234 on the follow-up to the ICPD beyond 2014. It draws mainly on statements delivered by UN Member States at the 47th Commission on Population and Development (CPD) and the previous sessions between 2005 and 2013. It gives a comprehensive overview of the status of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues, recognizing the unfinished business of MDG 5B, and identifying the most critical issues and new challenges to be prioritized to realize the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA).
In terms of SRHR, the report goes even beyond the outcome of CPD2014 and the Open Working Group Sustainable Development Goals and refers explicitly to sexual and reproductive health and rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), abortion and comprehensive sexuality education. The main message is that sustainable development depends on the success of the ICPD beyond 2014 and that the post-2015 agenda should give priority to the human rights and people centered approach of the Cairo Agenda and the goals of «gender equality, empowerment of women, investment in young people, inclusive economic growth and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights» (par 83, p. 20)
As an outcome of the ICPD operational review, the Index Report should be considered during the negotiations on the post-2015 sustainable development framework. This is extremely important as it supports explicitly and strongly issues that have been highly ‘controversial’ or left out by the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, such as sexual rights, comprehensive sexuality education, SOGI, abortion, expanded access to SRH services for youth. Although the upcoming UNGASS on ICPD (on 22 September) will not have a negotiated outcome, this event is a major opportunity to call for the Index Report to be considered a mandatory input to the post-2015 negotiations and the post-2015 Synthesis Report.