Pacific Parliamentarians gathered in Suva, Fiji, from 13 – 15 August 2013 for the Pacific Conference of Parliamentarians for Advocacy on ICPD beyond 2014, hereby release this statement for the upcoming Sixth Asia Pacific Population Conference.
We, Pacific Island Parliamentarians, believe that the views of Pacific Parliamentarians and the unique circumstances and needs of our Pacific peoples should be addressed at the Asia and Pacific Population Conference.
We recognize the crucial roles that Parliamentarians play in advocating for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Program of Action (PoA) and the Key Actions for implementation, with an emphasis on the unfinished agendas in our respective nations, and ensuring integration of ICPD core issues in the post-2015 development framework, and for holding our governments accountable for their commitments, such as those that have been ratified in ICPD, MDGs, CEDAW, CRC, and CRPD.
We affirm the important function that Parliaments perform in passing appropriate legislation, reviewing existing legislation and mobilizing strong support for laws consistent with the ICPD agenda.
We uphold the importance of promoting Human Rights, and development of human capital, notably through health, education and positive behavior change, throughout the life cycle.
We recognize that Parliamentarians are in a unique position to ensure a whole-of-government approach, in partnership with civil society organizations, faith-based groups and traditional systems to address population and development issues effectively.
We endorse the Pacific Talanoa process of decision-making and commit to ensure that the Talanoa promotes inclusive dialogue and community conversations to guide decision-making and action on the ICPD agenda.
We reaffirm our commitment to ICPD PoA and commit to promote a rights-based approach and good governance in advancing the ICPD agenda.
Cognizant of the Pacific Regional ICPD Review (July 2013), the Pacific Parliamentarians of the 11 nations represented affirm the following recommendations:
As Pacific Parliamentarians, we will advocate to:
1. Make sexual and reproductive health (SRH) an integral part of national development strategies, health plans and public budgets, with clearly identifiable allocations and expenditures.
2. Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all our peoples, without discrimination.
3. Address the cross-cutting nature of population issues, vulnerability to climate change, globalization and environmental degradation.
4. Increase women’s and young people’s participation in decision making and in political, social and economic processes at all levels;
5. Increase support and protection for girls and young women, including enhancing access to education and comprehensive mechanisms for ensuring their access to SRH information and services.
6. Support inclusive sustainable development strategies, and respond to specific needs of persons with disabilities, vulnerable and marginalized groups.
7. Prioritize couples and individuals’ access to contraception and information to make free and informed decisions about the number and timing of children, thereby preventing unintended and unplanned pregnancies, and reducing the need for abortion;
8. Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls integrate responses to gender-based violence in all SRH programmes and services;
9. Prioritize adolescent SRHR, including through comprehensive sexuality education, and establish accessible SRH and mental health services for youth in schools and other educational institutions, youth organizations, faith based organizations and communities, ensuring their meaningful participation.
10. Scale-up national efforts to halt the spread of STIs and HIV, and meet the goal of ensuring universal access to HIV education, prevention, treatment, care and support, free of discrimination; including removing legal and policy barriers that impede access for key affected populations;
11. Recognize the heightened social and economic risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) confronting the peoples of the Pacific, and take action to strengthen prevention and control of these disease which have significant impact on Pacific populations;
12. Address the unprecedented pace of population ageing in some Pacific nations, and the need to prepare for its social and economic implications for individuals, families, societies and the Pacific community;
13. Address internal and external migration, urbanization and urban growth in the Pacific so that the growing number of urban residents, including the poor, have secure access to land, housing, water, sanitation, energy and transport, as well as health, education and other essential services; address the root causes of migration and poverty.
14. Apply a human rights-based approach to the issues of internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers in the Pacific.
15. Effectively contribute to reshaping the ICPD Beyond-2014 and Post-2015 Development Agenda at the regional and global levels through our strong advocacy and participation, in order to speak with a strong voice around these priority issues;
16. Support the establishment of Pacific country-level parliamentary groups so that supportive political leaders can advance these ICPD Beyond 2014 issues within an SRHR agenda. 17. Support active alliances between parliamentary groups, fostering Pacific regional and international networks for technical and advocacy support;
18. Emphasize the importance of generating, collecting and using and disseminating quality and timely census, statistical and vital registration systems data which is disaggregated for the purpose of policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation.
This declaration is the outcome of invaluable Talanoa between us and with our partners including civil society, young people, technical experts, development partners, the United Nations Population Fund, Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, and International Planned Parenthood Federation.