In many countries around the World, woman still don’t have effective contraception methods to use. In these countries, governments struggle to provide education and health services because they can’t cope with the rapid population growth. This highlights that reproductive health and rights have slipped of the agenda, while it are these issues that are key to the challenge of sustainable development. When reproductive rights and health services are provided, it reduces maternal and child mortality, it helps end poverty passed on from generation to generation and it lightens the burden on countries with few natural resources.
One of the most successful international development stories is that contraception made it possible for women to make family planning, leading to economic and social development. Family planning saves lives, contributes to the fight against HIV and AIDS and helps communities achieve sustainable social and economic development.
World Bank studies also reported that an investment of US $4.10 per person could save eight per cent of the global burden of disease. So reproductive healthcare is extremely cost-effective. If the need for family planning would be fully met, global unintended pregnancies would drop from 75 million to 22 million. So this is 25 million fewer abortions, 22 fewer unplanned births and 680,000 fewer deaths amongst women and newborns. So couples and individuals would become more resilient, better able to prepare for unpredictable situations like climate change and better able to adapt towards economic, social and environmental sustainability.
IPPF, the world’s largest reproductive health and rights organization will be present at the Rio Summit because they feel that reproductive health is needed to create a better, sustainable world. They want to make poorer countries also ready for climate change, and they want to start by meeting their reproductive health needs. They make three positive comments.
Firstly, they want to increase their provision of service for the poorest and most vulnerable people by 50%; meeting the needs of more than 120 million women. Secondly, they want to sexually educate the world’s largest ever generation of young people. And finally they will lobby governments for legislative changes to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive services like healthcare.
It’s the poorest children and woman they will suffer the most from the climate changes that are influencing our lives. And it are women that can change the resilience needed in the face of climate change. So to enable them to do this, their needs for health and education must be met. Governments and international agencies have to be held accountable for the time, investment and opportunity commitments that they made financial, political and legal.
All these issues represent a crisis for health, human rights and development. If we don’t invest in reproductive health care and rights, we can’t hope for global sustainability and resilience.