Post-2015 Agenda: Organized Chaos or Hot Mess?
Sexual and Reproductive Health in Trouble as Goals Move Forward
The latest version of the zero draft report from the Open Working Group developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) hit the internet late Monday evening. This is the final draft that member states will have a chance to respond to before the final report is produced and shared with the Secretary General prior to the United Nations General Assembly in September. It is fairly similar to the last draft in that it still has the same 17 goals, with small semantic differences. Overall, there are fewer targets, but both the targets and the process are becoming increasingly convoluted.
This draft misses the integration, aspiration, transformation and sustainability that were meant to drive the post-2015 agenda. We see important targets missing in this lengthy draft, but we have yet to really see the difficult trade-offs that a final set of implementable goals would require.
How have sexual and reproductive health and rights fared?
Sexual and reproductive health has disappeared from the Health Goal. While a target on sexual and reproductive health was previously included under both the Health and Gender goals, it now only appears under the Gender goal as “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the Beijing Platform for Action.” This is problematic for two reasons:
1. Without SRH under the health goal, family planning is in jeopardy of not being recognized in this new development framework. SRHR is a major component of overall health not only for women and girls, but also for men and boys. It is therefore critical to be included within a discussion of health.
2. The qualifier of ICPD and Beijing is unnecessary and weakens the human rights frame of the target. Nowhere else in the Open Working Group’s draft document is such a caveat introduced. As such, it undermines the principle of arriving at a forward-looking set of SDGs. There is no need to qualify universal access to sexual and reproductive health or reproductive rights. With a reference to ICPD and Beijing already in the introduction, we hope to see this qualifier removed.
What are other notable points?
- It is good to see that in proposed Goal 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable use of water and sanitation for all), the following target remained: “By 2030, achieve adequate sanitation and hygiene for all, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls.” This is critical to mainstreamed access to reproductive health.
- Comprehensive sexuality education also remains absent from the latest document and should be inserted, ideally under the education goal.
- Equity has been and will continue to be a prevailing narrative in the post-2015 agenda.
In New York for the Open Working Group session last week, you could see will, desire, and investment on the faces of delegates, civil society, co-chairs. But you could also see the fatigue. This has been a long and intensive exercise that has lasted nearly two years already. Now is the time point to put words down on paper and respond to drafts in order to rescue the jumbled mess that the draft goals have become.
The final round of informal discussions by the Open Working Group takes place July 14 to 18. The co-chairs (from Kenya and Hungary) will incorporate this final feedback from member states into a final report submitted to the Secretary General in August. A report will simultaneously be submitted by the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. The Secretary General will then take these inputs, among others, and produce his own report, and full negotiations are expected to start in January 2015. The co-chairs of the post-2015 summit (September 21 to 23) are Denmark and Papua New Guinea.
By A. Tianna Scozzaro, Population and Climate Associate -
3 July 2014
UN warns some MDG targets may be missed
With a little over a year to go to ensure the eight MDG targets are met, the UN this week issued a progress report, which showed that goals on poverty reduction, improving drinking water sources, improving the lives of slum dwellers and achieving gender parity in primary schools had already been met.
Progress was also being made on MDGs covering hunger, debt relief and malaria, tuberculosis and HIV treatment.
‘However, some MDG targets related to largely preventable problems with available solutions, such as reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to sanitation, are slipping away from achievement by 2015, despite major progress,’ the UN said.
‘The report calls on all stakeholders to focus and intensify efforts on the areas where advances have been too slow or not reached all.’
More reliable statistics were needed for monitoring development, the report said. It noted that the number of member states submitting progress reports on HIV/Aids increased from 102 in 2004 to 186 in 2012, helping galavanise global efforts. Funding for HIV programmes more than tripled in this period and 9.5 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral treatment in 2012.
UN member states are currently considering a new set of development goals that can replace the MDGs in 2015. These are likely to be agreed in September next year.
UN secretary general Ban-Ki Moon said: ‘Our efforts to achieve the MDGs are critical to building a solid foundation for development beyond 2015. At the same time, we must aim for a strong successor framework to attend to unfinished business and address areas not covered by the eight MDGs.
‘Tackling growing inequality, in rich and poor countries alike, has become the defining challenges of our times. Our post-2015 objectives must be to leave no one behind.’
By Vivienne Russell
9 July 2014
Africa: Ban Urges Focus On Adolescent Girls to Reduce Maternal Mortality
Poverty, child, maternal deaths high in India: UN report.
Global Forum Calls for Urgent Action to Curb Health Inequities, Cut Maternal and Child Mortality
SA making progress in reducing maternal mortality
Pretoria – The Department of Health has welcomed findings that South Africa is one of the 16 sub-Saharan countries that stand a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on maternal mortality by 2015.
According to the findings of the study undertaken by the University of Cape Town’s Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, in conjunction with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the number of maternal deaths has dropped from about 376 000 in 1990 to about 293 000 in 2013.
Maternal mortality in the country has dropped by almost 7% a year over the past decade – at 171.4 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births.
The study showed that 30 countries had annual reductions in the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of MDG 5 pace or better from 2003 to 2013.
“Eight of which were in sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Swaziland) and 10 in central and eastern Europe (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Russia,” according to the findings.
However, the study noted that despite reductions in the number of maternal deaths, only 16 countries, seven of which are developing countries, are expected to achieve the MDG 5 target of a 75% reduction in the MMR by 2015.
Speaking to the GCIS Radio Bulletin, health spokesperson Joe Maila stressed the need to work very hard to make sure that the numbers decline even further.
“The numbers that are there right now are not as good and we want them to be less than what it is. We need to make sure that we work very hard to make sure that it indeed declines further.
“If we work together with all the people involved, one of the things we can do is to make sure that mothers – as soon as they are pregnant – come to our facilities within 14 weeks. That (way), we would be able to know what is it that we can do to make sure that we restore their health,” said Maila.
The findings were part of a study into maternal mortality across the globe over the past two decades. The study aimed to measure levels and track trends in maternal mortality, the key causes contributing to maternal death, and timing of maternal death with respect to delivery.
MDG 5 established the goal of a 75% reduction in the number of maternal deaths per 100 000 live births between 1990 and 2015.
According to the 20 Year Review released by The Presidency in February, life expectancy in the country has increased from 52.7 years in 2002 to 59.6 years in 2013. The Infant Mortality Rate has decreased from 63.5 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002, to 41.7 deaths per live births in 2013.
The under-five mortality rate has also decreased from 92.9 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 56.6 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2013. Severe malnutrition among children has decreased from 88 971 in 2001 to 23 521 in 2011. –SAnews.gov.za
Standing together: Reproductive Rights and LGBTQ Rights