In the context of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Segment, the High-Level Task Force on the International Conference on Population and Development was launched in New York on Monday. Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen and former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano are the co-chairs of the Task Force.
President Halonen reminded the full audience gathered at the Ford Foundation that sexual and reproductive rights of women are at the heart of sustainable development. For those millions of women and girls who experience early pregnancy, resort to unsafe abortions or die at childbirth it is also about their dignity as human beings.
Members of the High-Level Task Force, including Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Luis Ubiñas, President of the Ford Foundation and youth leader Ishita Chaudhury from India gave inspirational accounts of the importance of and expressed their strong commitment to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights. Nafis Sadik, former UNFPA Executive Director and a long-term champion in this area named ICPD as the main ‘unfinished business’ of the MDG agenda.
Reproductive health and rights, and the empowerment of women are also central in reducing poverty and promoting development, said co-chair Chissano emphasizing that the agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development is today as relevant as it was in 1994. For the Ford Foundation, it was stressed by President Ubiñas sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the core of its mission.
The Task Force which started its work on Monday is comprised of individuals from a range of countries and regions with a long record in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights. It will promote the agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development and the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health and rights on the Post-2015 development agenda.
The event was hosted by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Finland, Denmark and Mozambique at the Ford Foundation in New York. Minister of Development of Finland Heidi Hautala was also present at this landmark event.