Cairo+15: still in debt to women

September 3, 2009

By Télia Negrão

It’s currently going on a world wide process aiming to evaluate the implementation of the Cairo Program of Action after 15 years of its approval by the United Nations, in 1994, in Cairo. The ICPD/1994, as it’s known, has brought up to the debate about demography and health a new vision which condemns the birth control policies, assumes the reproductive rights based on autonomy and informed decision, and recognizes the sexual and reproductive rights as an essential aspect to people’s lives.

Actually, the Cairo Conference has established a new paradigm of economical development and human rights. However, the 15 years of its implementation were impacted by eight years of Bush’s conservative management and its fundamentalist policy known as ABC (abstinence, be faithful, condom). It’s clear that the conservative offensive of the Vatican and other religions have been interfering in the creation of the laws and the public policies all around the world.

The concrete result of this position was the reduction of resources to governmental programs that are strategic in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, public policies to prevent non desired or planned pregnancy, unsafe abortions, sexual violence, among others, as well as the decrease of the support to the civil society actions in this field. These facts, added to the reforms in the health sector and the sequence of international economic crisis, keeps Cairo as an agenda indebted to women who live with high mother mortality rates, feminization of HIV and AIDS, high violence rates and violations to the human rights on health.

It’s widely known the role the feminist and women movement played in the Cairo Conference/94 and in the following events (Cairo+5 and Cairo+10) as those movements have demonstrated the relation of the issues discussed to the human rights. As protagonists of this process, women gave concrete and real examples of the policies impact on the women lives. It’s due to this movement that the concept of reproductive rights, even tough the sexual rights, hasn’t been recognized neither by the ICPD/94, nor by its following events.

Last March, the meeting at the UN to evaluate Cairo regarding the Millennium Goals has once more deleted the word “sexual rights” and maintained the old concept of sexual health.

In order to strength the civil society strategies, it is being held in September, in Berlin, a World Forum of NGOs in the field of the Cairo agenda. Before that, in August, a preparatory regional meeting took place in Panama. If there is something new in the agenda that is the alliance between the feminist movement and the women of networks, and articulations linked to Cairo – indigenous women, afro descendents, seropositive women, sexual workers, youngsters, elderly, that come together in an effort to assure the integral implementation of the Cairo Platform. It’s an alliance that strengths the demands of health and of sexual and reproductive rights anchored in the respect of diversity and that has in common the commitment to the change of the society paradigms which don’t accept any other justification for not implementing public policies and the keeping on with the human rights violations. 



Activists from all over the world gather in Berlin to discuss Cairo+15

September 3, 2009

Berlin is the destination of many NGO between 2nd and 5th of September. LACCASO Regional Coordinator, participated, together with 300 other NGOs in the meeting Global Partners in Action: NGO Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development ( The event is part of the discussions about the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Program of Action, by its 15th anniversary, a process known as Cairo+15, city where the ICPD took place in 1994.

 Two documents will be produced by the end of the conference. The first is a Call to Action to be delivered to the upcoming Parliamentarians conference in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia. The second one is “How To” for advocacy and programmatic implementation of the Plan of Action directed toward NGOs. The emphasis will be on the policies priorities of the Call of Action.

Strategic planning and advocacy design at ITPC meeting

September 3, 2009

The second Integration Meeting of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) took place in Amsterdam, between 26th and 29th of August, as a further step towards the reorganization of the group which advocates for universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment all over the world. The objectives of the meeting were: to discuss the work that is being done and the challenges of integrations, to amplify the discussion at the global level, and strengthening local capacity on advocacy. The activities included the review of the current status and the strategic planning, communication strategies, advocacy, finances, fund raising, governance and the relations between several internal structures, among other issues. Alesandra Nilo, Gestos Coordinator, participated as a member of the Ad hoc Steering Committee Group.

Meeting of Women’s Networks and Organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean for Cairo +15

August 20, 2009

After the 42nd session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD), held by the United Nations (UN) this year in New York, it’s time for civil society to monitor the Program of Action established by the countries in the International Conference on Population and Development which took place in Cairo, in 1994.

The Meeting of Women’s  Networks and Organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean for Cairo +15 took place in Panama (3rd, 4th and 5th of August), with the participation of Gestos and LACCASO, besides other organizations that are part of the Monitoring UNGASS-AIDS goals on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Project, such as FEIM (Argentina) and MYSU (Uruguay). Among the monitored actions: the policies to fight against HIV/AIDS, to promote gender equity and the eradication of violence against women. Besides that, the meeting was a preparation for the Global Forum of NGO for Cairo +15, next September in Germany.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and the ICPD+15

May 11, 2009

Between 30 March and 03 April, the United Nations held in New York the 42nd Session of the Commission of Population and Development (ICPD+15.) After a week of debates, the government heads present confirmed the Cairo Action Plan and broadened the reach of the International Conference for Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, fifteen years ago, hence ICPD+15.

The resolution the Commission reached in 2009 advanced in the sense of proposing more inter-sectorial approach for AIDS and sexual and reproductive health policies, recognizing the rights of the youth and adolescent populations and, even without citing reproductive rights, strengthening the issue as something to be present in the policies for population and development.

Other important aspects were the specific reference to the assurance of the human rights and the confrontation of stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS; the confirmation of the commitments made at UNGASS-AIDS and the affirmation that sexual and reproductive health must be contemplated in the strategic national policies for preventing the spread of HIV and for caring for the people living with HIV (see paragraphs 16, 17, 18, and 19.) In the three months prior to the session, Gestos was active in many discussion groups about Cairo+15 and participated in the elaboration of the Latin American civil society shadow report, organized by the National Feminist Health Network, that, among other themes, focused on sexual and reproductive health of women, violence against women, and the feminization of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to Ms Alessandra Nilo, Gestos’ representative in the ICPD+15 Brazilian delegation, “civil society’s presence was fundamental for advancing the commitment.”