Global Leaders Celebrate Two Decades of Progress for Girls and Women

Yesterday, the opening day of the 47th session of the United Nations (UN) Comission on Population and Development (CPD), Women Deliver and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in support of Every Woman Every Child, co-hosted an event in New York to call for political commitments to and investments in girls’ and women’s health and rights.

This reception commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, where global leaders issued a visionary consensus prioritizing the health and rights of women and young people, including their sexual and reproductive health.

“When we invest in girls and women, everybody wins,” said Katja Iversen, incoming CEO of Women Deliver, at the start of the event. “There has never been a better time to raise our voices in support of the health and rights of girls and women, and to ensure they are a top priority in 2015 and beyond.”

Iversen was joined by Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver; Ingrid Skjøtskift, Political Adviser for Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Fred Sai, Ghanian physician; and Nargis Shirazi, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders from Uganda. Together, they celebrated the progress made for girls and women around the world, including increased investments in maternal health, family planning information and services, and education.

Education, particularly for girls, is the key to deliver on the MDGs,” said Skjøtskift. “Education is the key to development.”

This year’s CPD comes at a critical time. With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline rapidly approaching and the international community developing its final recommendations for the post-2015 development framework, there is an urgent need to coalesce high-level support for greater global investments in reproductive health, education, and equality for girls and women and for a significant focus on young people.

“If we are going to continue to make progress on the ICPD agenda – improving sexual and reproductive health and rights, reducing maternal deaths, and increasing access to contraceptive information and services, we must engage and empower young people,” said Shirazi.

Dr. Fred Sai, Chair of the Main Committee at the original ICPD meeting and Emeritus Board Member of Women Deliver, closed the event by saying: “I know the battle. I am glad to be in the fight. It has to be won.”

Learn more about the outcomes of the 47th Session of the Commission on Population and Development.

Check out the Storify of the event for tweets from partners, speakers and co-hosts.

See photos from the event.



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