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Parliamentarians pledge to work for reproductive health rights

Members from 6 countries vow to mobilise support for higher ODA allocation

Parliamentarians from six Asia Pacific countries on Sunday committed themselves to fostering dialogue and mobilising fellow legislators to accelerate allocation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for sexual and reproductive health rights-related programmes and ensuring concrete action through high-level advocacy and regular monitoring and review of policy and legislation.

A statement of commitment adopted at the Regional Parliamentarians Consultation on Emerging Economies and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights here also agreed to create an oversight mechanism on ODA within respective parliaments. It agreed to continuously improve and strengthen parliamentary capacity for accountability, and budget mechanisms to ensure full realisation of sexual and reproductive health rights. Despite the current economic crisis, the participants pledged to carry out their commitments, and actively monitor the progress.

The two-day consultation, organised by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development and the European Parliamentary Forum, on Saturday expressed concern over the possibility of a sharp decline in the ODA as a result of the global economic slowdown particularly in European countries, which were the major ODA donors. Political instability in the oil-rich West Asian countries and natural disasters too had diminished funding for developing countries. And, the sector of sexual and reproductive health rights would be the worst-hit in this process.

Parliamentarians from Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam attended the meeting. India was represented by four MPs under the aegis of the Indian Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development.

The statement said the parliamentarians would work for increasing resources for sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services, including education, counselling, maternal health, and family planning in national development budgets, specifically in the allocations meant for education and health. Mobilising support for legislation, regulation and funding for comprehensive reproductive health services — including acceptable and affordable family planning, complete care for safe pregnancy, delivery and post-partum period or a safe abortion where it is legal — was another commitment agreed upon. Importantly, they sought to support development of collaborative partnership between their respective governments and non-governmental organisations and civil society in matters of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The parliamentarians called for a broader and more strategic approach to South-South cooperation for sexual and reproductive health rights by drawing on resources and expertise in emerging economy countries while ensuring that the voices of women and young people were heard and represented in identifying opportunities and formulating policies and programmes that support population and development-related issues.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 9:56:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliamentarians-pledge-to-work-for-reproductive-health-rights/article2379880.ece

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