25 years of international activism for women's health: gone with the wind?What [is] wrong with [the Millennium Development Goals “MDG” redirects here. For other uses, see MDG (disambiguation).
The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that 192 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. ]? According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. ... the UN Secretary General's office, the only substantive difference is that the reproductive health Within the framework of WHO's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene goal has been removed. Although discrete goals and indicators on maternal health Maternal health care is a concept that encompasses preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care. Goals of preconception care can include providing health promotion, screening and interventions for women of reproductive age to reduce risk factors that might affect future pregnancies. and contraceptive prevalence are still included, there is nothing about reproductive health for all by the year 2015. Thus does 25 years of international work for women's health Women's Health Definition
Women's health is the effect of gender on disease and health that encompasses a broad range of biological and psychosocial issues. vanish into thin air, not with a bang Not with a Bang was a short-lived British television sitcom produced by London Weekend Television in 1990. It ran for seven episodes, each 30 minutes long, before being cancelled due to poor ratings and a stagnant plot. but a whisper." (1)
Marge Berer, editor of Reproductive Health Matters
In September 2000, the United Nations General Assembly expressed its "satisfaction that, for the first time in history, so many heads of State and Government have gathered at a summit in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , which reached a successful conclusion with the adoption of the Millennium Declaration," (2) a document that reaffirmed "the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, which have proved timeless and universal." (3)
The Declaration identifies several essential values for international relations international relations, study of the relations among states and other political and economic units in the international system. Particular areas of study within the field of international relations include diplomacy and diplomatic history, international law, in the 21st century, such as freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility through which the international community of women should obtain the full incorporation of their rights, needs and demands.
At this meeting, eight Millennium Development Goals were approved with 18 targets and 48 indicators to measure progress, which will be evaluated by a group of experts from the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), (in French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques; OCDE) is an international organisation of thirty countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and a free market , and the World Bank
The consequences of this Summit still cannot be measured fully, but the meeting itself occurred without provoking a ripple among civil society organizations, especially including the international women's movement women's movement: see feminism; woman suffrage.
Diverse social movement, largely based in the U.S., seeking equal rights and opportunities for women in their economic activities, personal lives, and politics. . Civil society was not even invited to participate when crucial decisions were made: decisions that would have a decisive impact on women's lives--and indeed, the lives of all people.
It is not only feminists who are expressing concern about this failure to take our demands into consideration but the Special Rapporteur Special Rapporteur is a title given to individuals working on behalf of various regional and international organizations who bear specific mandates to investigate, monitor and recommend solutions to specific human rights problems. of the UN Commission on Human Rights, who stated in 2003 that the Millennium Development Goals had not been formulated from a human rights perspective and made several recommendations. Arguing that some of the Goals fail to adequately address reproductive health, the Special Rapporteur also demanded that greater attention be paid to the situation of poor women, minorities and indigenous populations. While the MDGs are intermediate objectives in the effort to guarantee the right to health, the criteria of human rights demand "the progressive achievement of rights, which is of decisive importance. Otherwise, these rights will be robbed of their content and remain empty rhetoric." (4)
There are two other crucial problems as well. On the one hand, given that the MDGs' are remote from the social, political and economic contexts in which they must be realized, (5) they transfer authority and legitimacy from the UN to the international financial institutions. The application of the MDGs uses poverty reduction strategies that require countries to fulfill macroeconomic mac·ro·ec·o·nom·ics
n. (used with a sing. verb)
The study of the overall aspects and workings of a national economy, such as income, output, and the interrelationship among diverse economic sectors. indicators set by these bodies. On the other hand, the Millennium Countdown, to be implemented by the most highly indebted nations, is also based on these same indicators. Thus, even the best intentions of the UN are overridden in practice by the mandates of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Surrender or Pragmatism?
After a decade of international summits and conferences--the International Conference on Population and Development The United Nations coordinated an International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt from 5-13 September 1994. Its resulting Programme of Action is the steering document for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). (ICPD ICPD International Conference on Population and Development
ICPD Institute for Counselling and Personal Development (Northern Ireland)
ICPD Institute for Conflict Management Peace and Development
ICPD International Conference on the Prevention of Dementia , Cairo) and the Fourth World Conference on Women The United Nations convened the Fourth World Conference on Women on September 4-15, 1995 in Beijing, China. Delegates had prepared a Platform for Action that aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women. (Beijing), among others, in which the international community engaged in laborious processes of consensus and established extremely meaningful programs and platforms for action--and the five-year reviews (ICPD+5, Beijing+5, etc.), the fact that the detailed contents of these commitments--promises assumed by the States that took part in these conferences--are reduced to a paltry eight Goals represents a significant failure.
The atmosphere at the official Cairo and Beijing evaluation processes was almost festive. The UN presented summaries of the government reports that reflected a significant change from the period of stagnation Stagnation
A period of little or no growth in the economy. Economic growth of less than 2-3% is considered stagnation. Sometimes used to describe low trading volume or inactive trading in securities.
A good example of stagnation was the U.S. economy in the 1970s. in the early 1990s to a new scenario of progress, the result of actions by most countries to transform policies, plans and programs, although in most cases only the language was changed.
As a result, even though there were some differences in the extent of the progress made in each country, it seemed as if the course was set towards the inevitable achievement of the changes demanded by women.
Therefore, the reductionist re·duc·tion·ism
An attempt or tendency to explain a complex set of facts, entities, phenomena, or structures by another, simpler set: "For the last 400 years science has advanced by reductionism ... spirit of the MDGs in 2000 surprised the international women's movement, as did the isolation and silence in which so many heads of State made such a transcendental decision, a process so very different from the observation and participation that women's groups had achieved in the Cairo and Beijing meetings. Even though the Millennium Declaration does not state outright that its objective is to replace or to divert attention from the commitment to fulfill the Cairo and Beijing agreements, neither does it recognize that implementation of the Programme of Action and the Platform for Action is essential to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and their respective targets.
Analyzing the MDGs
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
Neither the targets of this Goal--halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day and halve halve
tr.v. halved, halv·ing, halves
1. To divide (something) into two equal portions or parts.
2. To lessen or reduce by half: halved the recipe to serve two.
3. , between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger--nor its indicators, take into account the unequal distribution of wealth among countries, within countries, or between genders.
The so-called "vulnerability" of women, which is nothing less than the direct result of the traditional gender-based discrimination of patriarchal societies, means that women endure poverty and extreme poverty in greater numbers than men. All the internationally recognized indicators reveal that most of the households living in poverty or extreme poverty have female heads of household.
When analyzing gender inequalities, socio-economic aspects are of crucial importance since living conditions living conditions npl → condiciones fpl de vida
living conditions npl → conditions fpl de vie
living conditions living have a different impact on women and girls with regard to the perception of illness, health status, use of health services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract , payment for health care, and resources allocated for health and disability. (6)
Goal 2. Achieve universal primary education.
Although this Goal promises to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls boys and girls
mercurialisannua. alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling, specifically mentioning the genders, the indicators merely refer to children in general, both with regard to the percentage of children enrolled in primary school who reach grade six or the literacy rate among adolescents. Nonetheless, of the 150 million children between the ages of six and eleven who do not attend school, more than 90 million are girls. The different situations that affect girls' access to education and the obstacles that their families face must be clearly examined and addressed. Achieving gender equity in education will make a decisive contribution to the eradication of poverty.
Goal 3. Promote gender equality and women's empowerment.
This is the only MGD mgd
million gallons per day that explicitly acknowledges the inequalities that affect women. Its target proposes to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015. However, this gender perspective has not been included in any of the other Goals or their respective targets.
The indicators that measure this Goal refer to inequalities in education, and they measure literacy rates disaggregated Broken up into parts. by sex, the proportion of women in paid jobs, and the proportion of women representatives in the legislature. Nonetheless, the will to promote women's equality and autonomy is reduced to education, "non-rural" employment and the presence of women in only one of the branches of government. Many other dimensions Other Dimensions is a collection of stories by author Clark Ashton Smith. It was released in 1970 and was the author's sixth collection of stories published by Arkham House. It was released in an edition of 3,144 copies. in which inequality is rampant are left untouched: women's lack of decision-making power in production, reproduction and sexuality; in public policies, the economy, commerce, land ownership, legislation, wealth distribution, armed conflict, forced displacement, and the many manifestations of cultural and religious oppression that are imposed upon women in their daily lives.
Addressing education alone will not resolve all the problems that women face, problems to which women with lower levels of education are especially vulnerable: gender-based violence, the feminization of poverty The feminization of poverty is a phenomenon that has been observed in the United States since 1970 as female headed households accounted for a growing proportion of those below the poverty line. , the HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome pandemic pandemic /pan·dem·ic/ (pan-dem´ik)
1. a widespread epidemic of a disease.
2. widely epidemic.
Epidemic over a wide geographic area.
n. , maternal mortality related to complications of pregnancy Complications of pregnancy are the symptoms and problems that are associated with pregnancy. There are both routine problems and serious, even potentially fatal problems. The routine problems are normal complications, and pose no significant danger to either the woman or the fetus. , birth or abortion, and the limited representation of women in all branches of government, particularly at decision-making levels.
Goal 4. Reduce child mortality.
The target of this goal is to reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. One of the indicators includes reducing infant mortality (hardware) infant mortality - It is common lore among hackers (and in the electronics industry at large) that the chances of sudden hardware failure drop off exponentially with a machine's time since first use (that is, until the relatively distant time at which enough mechanical and measuring the percentage of children vaccinated against measles. Again, the specific situation of girls is not mentioned even though in different regions of the world girls endure multiple forms of discrimination even before their birth. This Goal also reduces the comprehensive health of children to the issue of mortality alone.
Goal 5. Improve maternal health.
The target of this goal--reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio--is possibly the most dramatic expression of the backlash evident in the MDGs. Women's comprehensive health is thus reduced to the traditional emphasis on care during pregnancy. Once again, governmental concern focuses on the "maternal mandate," which is women's destiny in a patriarchal society.
That's not to say that improving maternal health is not a positive step. However, the MDG MDG Millennium Development Goals (UNDP)
MDG Madagascar (ISO Country code)
MDG Medical Group (USAF)
MDG Air Madagascar (ICAO code) indicators evaluate only the rate of maternal mortality and the percentage of births attended by specialized healthcare professionals. This is a case of too little, too late: maternal mortality is the result of a series of failures in a woman's life cycle.
Decades ago, the UN itself identified this relentless path towards maternal mortality, but today these imminently preventable factors that accumulate since birth are neglected in the MDGs. High-risk pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies, pregnancies resulting from rape, abortion in unsafe conditions (performed clandestinely of in substandard conditions due to poverty)--in other words, the primary causes of maternal mortality and morbidity are not addressed by the MDGs.
Measuring the consequences of unsafe abortion Unsafe abortion is a significant cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the world, especially in developing countries (95% of unsafe abortions take place in developing countries). , one of the totally preventable causes of maternal mortality, is not included among the indicators for this Goal. The Goal also fails to address the issue of breast cancer or cancer of the reproductive organs Reproductive organs
The group of organs (including the testes, ovaries, and uterus) whose purpose is to produce a new individual and continue the species.
Mentioned in: Choriocarcinoma (illnesses that are affecting women at increasingly early ages) or the multiple problems that face adolescents with early pregnancies. At the same time, the failure of this Goal to draw attention to the links between women's health and the numerous conditions that make them more vulnerable, including poverty, make it highly unlikely that any really improvement will be realized.
Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
One of the targets for this Goal is to have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, and one of the indicators for this target is the HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. rate among pregnant women aged 15 to 24 years of age. But the importance of guaranteeing access to sexual education for women and menor male responsibility in the realm of sexuality and reproduction are not mentioned. Knowing how many women are affected by the virus is not much use against a pandemic that has had an increasing impact among women in recent years. Greater understanding of the biological, social and cultural factors that have given course to the rapid feminization feminization /fem·i·ni·za·tion/ (fem?i-ni-za´shun)
1. the normal development of primary and secondary sex characters in females.
2. the induction or development of female secondary sex characters in the male. of the pandemic is complete biased by the removal of any mention of sexual rights or reproductive rights Reproductive rights or procreative liberty is what supporters view as human rights in areas of sexual reproduction. Advocates of reproductive rights support the right to control one's reproductive functions, such as the rights to reproduce (such as opposition to forced from the MDG discourse.
This target's other indicator, which looks at the percentage of condoms used within the rates of contraceptive use, muddies the water by bringing in the issue of reproduction: using condoms as a family planning family planning
Use of measures designed to regulate the number and spacing of children within a family, largely to curb population growth and ensure each family’s access to limited resources. method is not the same as using them to prevent disease. Again, women are at a disadvantage in the negotiating condom use with men.
In addition, Point 19 of the Millennium Declaration commits countries "to provide special assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS." However, in the MDGs this promise is reduced to evaluating the ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years. How does this provide "special assistance?" (7)
Goal 7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
The appropriate relationship of people with the environment is one of the primary guarantees of sustainable development Sustainable development is a socio-ecological process characterized by the fulfilment of human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment indefinitely. The linkage between environment and development was globally recognized in 1980, when the International Union : women's welfare and wellbeing depends directly upon access to natural resources such as land, water, forests and agricultural production, among other factors. This relationship is directly influenced by the gender roles of women and men, and thus gender should be mentioned in the indicators of Goal 9's first target to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources. The second target--to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water drinking water
supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g. and basic sanitation--also fails to recognize the contribution of women to agricultural labor, the production of foodstuffs foodstuffs npl → comestibles mpl
foodstuffs npl → denrées fpl alimentaires
foodstuffs food npl → and other goods, and their efforts to preserve the environment for future generations. The third target, to have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the fives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, should include among its indicators the right of women to own land and housing, as well as access to legal recourse to exercise this right.
Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development.
The achievement of the numerous targets of this Goal will depend in part upon the political will and responsibility with which rich countries fulfill their commitments to development. A standard contribution of 0.7% of the GDP GDP (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine. was set 30 years ago, but donations are less than half this amount. At the dawn of the new millennium, it was necessary to reaffirm this commitment since "the real problem is that many heads of state come to the United Nations, give their pretty speeches and make their promises, and then promptly forget them once they are back in their own countries." (9)
Most of the rich countries have reduced their contributions to the fight against poverty, and no specific responsibilities towards poor countries have been drawn up for industrialized in·dus·tri·al·ize
v. in·dus·tri·al·ized, in·dus·tri·al·iz·ing, in·dus·tri·al·iz·es
1. To develop industry in (a country or society, for example).
2. nations, financial institutions, or multi-nationals with regard to the targets of this objective:
Address the special needs of the least developed countries; Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries Landlocked developing countries (LLDC) are developing countries that are landlocked. The economic and other disadvantages experienced by such countries tends to place them amongst the least developed countries (LDC) in the world. and small island developing States According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, small island/developing states (SIDS) are low-lying coastal countries that share similar sustainable development challenges, including small population, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility ; Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term; In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth; In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries; In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies.
The breadth of these targets demands the existence of mechanisms for debate and consensus-building to realize the implementation of comprehensive international and national policies based on full respect for human rights, policies that mainstream gender perspective, establishing priorities and allocating resources to meet the different needs of women.
What's Wrong with the MDGs
In summary, the Millennium Development Goals are unsatisfactory for the following reasons:
* The MDGs are not based on the fundamental concepts of human rights, peacemaking Peacemaking
See also Antimilitarism.
Coriolanus’s witty friend; reasons with rioting mob. [Br. Lit.: Coriolanus]
percipiently urges peace with Greeks. [Gk. Lit. efforts, reduction of military spending or the rejection of racism and xenophobia Xenophobia
Chinese rising aimed at ousting foreign interlopers (1900). [Chinese Hist. .
* They fail to acknowledge the existing frameworks of human rights and social justice.
* They do not address issues related to disabilities or the need to eradicate the stigmatization stigmatization /stig·ma·ti·za·tion/ (stig?mah-ti-za´shun)
1. the developing of or being identified as possessing one or more stigmata.
2. the act or process of negatively labelling or characterizing another. of people living with HIV/AIDS. They also fail to address the discrimination suffered by sexual minorities.
* The MDGs do not recognize the difficulties that ethnic groups and poorer sectors face when accessing any type of public service or benefit.
* They do not provide a global perspective on gender equality, equity or the empowerment of women.
* Women are perceived only in regard to their role as mothers and as caregivers.
* By not incorporating sexual and reproductive rights, the MDGs fail to take into account existing legal principles.
* The MDGs gloss over Verb 1. gloss over - treat hurriedly or avoid dealing with properly
skate over, skimp over, slur over, smooth over
do by, treat, handle - interact in a certain way; "Do right by her"; "Treat him with caution, please"; "Handle the press reporters gently" women's right to control their own bodies, including the right to contraceptive choice and the right to abortion.
* The MDGs do not take into account the needs of adolescents and youth or the different types of education and services that young people need.
* The MDGs make no mention of the various forms of gender-based violence, such as sexual violence or domestic violence.
* They also fail to mention the specific damages that women sustain in armed conflict, during territorial occupation, or situations of political, religious or military fundamentalism.
* They turn a blind eye to the different impact that poverty has on women's health, the results of the health sector reforms and the loss of solidarity-based social security systems.
* A neoliberal ne·o·lib·er·al·ism
A political movement beginning in the 1960s that blends traditional liberal concerns for social justice with an emphasis on economic growth.
ne philosophy with an individualistic emphasis dominates the content of the MDGs. The urgent need for structural changes to eradicate poverty is missing.
* Out-of-pocket spending is viewed as insignificant when this is nothing less than the poor being forced to pay for privatized services.
* Health is viewed in opposition to sickness and death (i.e., treatment or prevention of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, measles), rather than as a state of well-being implied in comprehensive health.
* The MDGs do not explain how the expansion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is to be halted without the recognition of sexual rights and reproductive rights.
* The MDGs confuse the means with the end, and the priorities are not clear.
* They promote the expansion of the World Bank and IMF IMF
See: International Monetary Fund
See International Monetary Fund (IMF). influence over that of the UN.
* By subjugating the MDGs to the conditions of the international financial institutions, cuts in social spending that hinder access to healthcare services, education or community care are not questioned.
* The underlying causes of the problems are not examined; on the contrary, the focus remains in the realm of the technical.
(1.) Marge Berer, "Images, reproductive health and the collateral damage collateral damage Surgery A popular term for any undesired but unavoidable co-morbidity associated with a therapy–eg, chemotherapy-induced CD to the BM and GI tract as a side effect of destroying tumor cells to women of fundamentalism and war," Reproductive Health Matters, vol. 9, no. 18, November 2001.
(2.) UN General Assembly, A/Res/55/162. Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit The Millennium Summit was a meeting among many world leaders lasting three days from 6 September to 8 September 2000 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. . December 18, 2000.
(3.) UN General Assembly, A/Res/55/2. United Nations Millennium Declaration The Millennium Declaration is a United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted at the 8th plenary of the Millennium Summit meeting on 8 September 2000. . September 18, 2000.
(5.) Ana Guezmes, Reforma del sector salud y derechos sexuales y derechos reproductivos. Un enfoque integrado de derechos humanos, salud publica y genero. 2004.
(6.) Sarah Bradshaw, A Gender Critique of the MDGs (Nicaragua: CISAS, 2004) cited in Sarah Bradshaw, "The Millenium Development Geals and the Global Gender and Health Agenda," WGNRR Newsletter 82 (2004) no. 2.
(7.) Guezmes, Ibid.
(8.) Bradshaw, Ibid.
(9.) Eveline Herfkens Eva Leonie "Eveline" Herfkens (born January 9, 1952) is a former Dutch politician.
She was a member of the Dutch parliament from 1981–1990 and Minister of Development Cooperation from 1998–2002. References
1. ^ Mr. E.L. Herfkens. , "Metas del Milenio a paso lento len·to Music
adv. & adj.
In a slow tempo. Used chiefly as a direction.
n. pl. len·tos
A lento passage or movement. ," online at http://www.choike.org/ nuevo/informes/2264.html.
RELATED ARTICLE: Coalition letter to the UN secretary-general.
On Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the MDGs
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your leadership in establishing the Millennium Project A parallel computing project at the University of California at Berkeley. Using nearly a thousand computers donated by Intel, its focus is on developing a multi-level "system of systems" that uses local clusters of SMP machines called a "CLUMP. and for your recognition of the importance of reproductive health to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. We fully concur with your statement that:
"The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed. And that means stronger efforts to promote women's rights and greater investment in education and health, including reproductive health and family planning."
The Millennium Project has produced important recommendations for practical programs and policies in multiple sectors that will accelerate attainment of the MDGs in their overview report, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and Task Force reports. We are pleased with the Millennium Project's efforts to strengthen integration of sexual and reproductive health and rights concerns into implementation of the MDGs. The Gender Equality, the Child and Maternal Mortality and the HIV/AIDS Task Forces in particular recognized sexual and reproductive health and rights as fundamental to progress towards the Goals. The overall recommendation to strengthen health systems and address girls' and women's health (including reproductive health) rings clearly in their analyses. The contribution of the Project in these areas and to encouraging priority for other neglected concerns (e.g., infrastructure, energy, multiple dimensions of women's empowerment) is an indication of its wise counsel.
We strongly support the Project's endorsement of universal access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, including family planning; protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights as critical pathways to achieving the MDGs; and the recognition that highest levels of unmet need for family planning and reproductive health services occur in the poorest countries among the poorest populations.
We are encouraged by the strong statements of reaffirmation, which emerged from the regional and other UN meetings held to mark the tenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. We also note the outcomes of the Countdown 2015 Global Roundtable, the NGO-led review of the ICPD supported by the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community , as a demonstration of additional international support for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Taken together, these statements demonstrate the international community's continued commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action and its goals. Through these meetings, governments also affirmed their view that implementing the ICPD Programme of Action is essential to achieving the MDGs.
In light of the Millennium Project's recommendations and continued strong international support for expanding access to sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV/AIDS services, we trust that sexual and reproductive health and rights concerns will be clearly addressed in your report for the General Assembly High-Level Plenary.
To this end, we recommend that your report:
* Include specific language on the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the overarching goal of reducing poverty;
* Endorse as strongly as possible the findings and recommendations of the Millennium Project and its Task Forces, including those regarding refinements of targets and indicators for the various goals;
* Acknowledge the international community's continued support for the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development's Programme of Action, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the agreements of the other major UN international conferences of the 1990s as foundations for the Millennium Development Goals and the importance of their realization to achievement of the MDGs.
Similarly, we recommend that the ongoing technical review processes adopt specific recommendations of the Task Forces--in particular those of the Task Forces on Child Health and Maternal Health, on Education and Gender Equality, and on HIV/AIDS--including a specific target on universal access to reproductive health services under the Maternal Health Goal and several indicators relevant to sexual and reproductive health and rights within the indicator framework for various of the goals and targets.
We realize that the timeframe for finalization of the Secretary-General's report is very short, but we felt it was important to have the full benefit of the work of the Millennium Project--given its mandate--before communicating directly. Moreover, as the opportunities for civil society engagement in the Millennium Summit process are somewhat limited, we feel obliged to take advantage of every opportunity to share our concerns.
In conclusion, we note again our appreciation for your efforts to advance implementation of the MDGs and in particular the work of the Millennium Project. We look forward to working with the UN system, UN Member States, and other civil society actors on our common agenda for development over the next decade and beyond.
Amy Coen, President, Population Action International (USA)
Frances Kissling Frances Kissling (born 1943) was President of Catholics for a Free Choice from its founding in 1982 until her resignation in February 2007. Early life
Frances Kissling was born Frances Romanski into a Polish working-class Catholic family in New York in 1943, , President, Catholics for a Free Choice Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) is a pro-choice political organization whose founders hold the belief that "the Catholic tradition supports a woman's moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health. (USA)
Jill Sheffield, President, Family Care International (USA)
Nirvana Gonzalez, General Coordinator, Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network, LACWHN
The author is an Argentine physician and the director of the Nicaragua's SI Mujer, an alternative health center for women. She is also a member of LACWHN's Board of Directors. This essay is based on her presentation at the roundtable entitled "Sexual Rights and Reproductive Rights in the Context of the Millennium Development Goals," held at the 5th World Social Forum, the First World Social Forum on Health and the Fourth International Forum in Defense of the Health of the People, "Health for all is possible and necessary," Porte Alegre, Brazil, January 2005.