Likeminded Member States’ Joint Statement at the 55th Commission on Population and Development

Joint Statement on the occasion of the 55th session of the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) delivered by H.E Gabriela Rodríguez, Secretary General of CONAPO (National Council of Population, Mexico). 

Mr. Chair, 

It is my pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the following  countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Vert, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Panama, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. Other countries are welcome to join this statement and reference it in their own national statements.

Mr. Chair, we wish to begin by thanking you, the two facilitators, El Salvador and the Netherlands, and the other members of the Bureau for your leadership and tireless effort in seeking consensus. We thank the Secretariat and all delegations for their constructive engagement in these negotiations, as well as civil society organizations, especially the women’s movement for their invaluable contributions.  

We are looking forward to a consensus of the CPD resolution in the 55th session of the Commission on Population and Development on the theme of ‘population and sustainable development, in particular sustained and inclusive economic growth’.

Firstly, Mr. Chair, we acknowledge an undeniable truth. Sustained and inclusive economic growth can only be achieved when societies respect, protect and fulfill all women and girls' rights, particularly their sexual and reproductive health and rights, empower and encourage their full and meaningful participation and inclusion, and champion gender equality. In particular, all women and girls must have the ability to make their own choices about their bodies and their futures, free of violence, coercion and discrimination. Without the ability to control their own bodies, to marry or not, to have children or not, women and girls cannot realize their own well-being nor play their rightful equal role in our economies and societies. Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services must be front and center. This includes supporting women’s and girls’ bodily autonomy, providing for safe childbirth, addressing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and reproductive cancers, and supporting women and girls to live free from the scourge of violence and abuse.

Secondly, Mr. Chair, we cannot ignore the substantial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economies, societies, and healthcare systems. COVID-19 has interrupted provision of SRH services. The resulting increase in maternal mortality in some countries threatens hard-won gains in achieving universal health coverage and sustainable demographic transitions. COVID-19 has accelerated the feminization of poverty: women and girls shouldered an increased responsibility for unpaid care work in the home, and women were more likely than men to leave the labour market. Girls are less likely to return to schools after they reopened. The pandemic impacted rates of child, early and forced marriage and adolescent pregnancies, and compounded the shadow pandemic of sexual and gender-based violence. Mr. Chair, it is imperative that we prioritize a gender-responsive recovery from COVID-19 through policies that protect the rights of women achieved in the last decade.

Finally, we cannot ignore the importance of fulfilling adolescents' and youth’s rights, health, and well-being to realize the benefits of the demographic dividend. Adolescents and youth must have access to quality and inclusive education to support them with appropriate knowledge and life skills to break cycles of poverty to favor their life projects, and generate more and better options for their future. Critically, adolescents and youth must be empowered with comprehensive sexuality education and access to SRH services to make informed decisions about their health and lives. Placing adolescents and youth at the center of sustainable development and ensuring their full, effective and meaningful participation will deliver dividends for current and future generations. We look forward to the Secretary General’s Transforming Education Summit later this year to explore these matters and to next year’s discussions at the 56th session of this Commission on the theme of “population, education and sustainable development.”

Twenty-eight years on, the ICPD Programme of Action, the critical actions for further implementation and their review conferences outcomes remain as valid as ever. We have not finished our work. We must continue the fight to fulfill all women's and girls' rights to achieve gender equality, and to ensure truly inclusive and sustainable economic growth. 

I thank you Mr. Chair.