On 10 April 2023, a high-level side event titled, Advancing the ICPD25 Commitments in the Context of Sustainable Development Using a Framework of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice, took place during the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development. The event was convened by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the Governments of Denmark, Kenya, and South Africa, and IPPF as co-sponsors. Along with other speakers, it featured co-Chair H.E. The Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean and members of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-up.

The event provided a platform for participants to reflect on the progress made and the gaps that remain since the Nairobi Summit, which emphasized the importance of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice to the full realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA emphasized in her remarks that “women and girls must be placed squarely at the center of sustainable development. Rights and choices are essential for every human being to thrive.” She called on the world to step up and speed up collective efforts and show greater ambition and urgency around the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, drawing on the commitments made during the Nairobi Summit, as the 2030 deadline for the SDGs draws closer.  The event served as a timely opportunity to renew commitments and strategize ways to further advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice as the ICPD30 review process takes off. 

Speakers at the event, including Gen (Rtd) Dr. Julius Karangi, Chairman, Board of Directors, National Council for Population and Development, Republic of Kenya, H.E. Ms. Marie-Louise Koch Wegter, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations, and H. E. Mr. Xolisa Mabhongo, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, shared good practices and lessons learned in advancing the voluntary commitments made at ICPD25 and discussed opportunities for further implementation.

H.E. The Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean recalled recommendations put forth by the two reports published by the High-Level Commission,  No Exceptions, No Exclusions: Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice for All, published in 2021, and Sexual and Reproductive Justice as the Vehicle to Achieve the Nairobi Summit Commitments, published in 2022. She underscored that “Sexual and reproductive justice is a universal concept built on sexual and reproductive health and rights. It recognizes that structural inequalities and intersecting forms of oppression fundamentally determine sexual and reproductive decision-making.”  On behalf of the High-Level Commission, she called on countries to address the economic, social and other barriers posed by multiple forms of discrimination. 

The panel discussion featured commissioners Mr. Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary (CEO), Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, Ms. Jaha Dukureh, Chief Executive Officer, Safe Hands for Girls, and Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Assistant Vice President, Health Equity & Lead, MSD for Mothers. On behalf of IPPF, Ms. Myriam Skhiri, Project Coordinator, Tunisian Association for Reproductive Health, brought an essential youth perspective to the discussions, further aided by an intervention by Mr. Jim Monkel, the Dutch Youth Ambassador SRHR, Gender Equality and Bodily Autonomy. Engaging discussions took place on various topics related to advancing the ICPD25 commitments from the perspectives of civil society, faith-based engagement, the private sector, and the role of youth. The panelists shared their experiences, insights, and best practices, contributing to a vibrant and dynamic conversation. 

The recording of the event is available at UN Web TV in English, French, and Spanish. 

At the Commission on Population and Development in 2019, United Nations Member States reaffirmed the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action adopted in Cairo in 1994 and pledged to undertake further action to ensure its full and accelerated implementation, acknowledging that the principles of the ICPD Programme of Action are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Governments of Kenya and the Kingdom of Denmark, together with UNFPA convened the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise, from 12 to 14 November 2019, in the Republic of Kenya to commemorate the 25th anniversary since the adoption of the landmark ICPD Programme of Action. Some 1300 commitments were made and announced by governments and other organizations to accelerate progress and make rights and choices a reality for all. The pledges focused on funding and programmes to achieve zero unmet need for contraception, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices by the year 2030, and are linked to the 12 overarching global commitments as outlined in the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25. 

The High-Level Commission, established on 17 September 2020, is charged with keeping the global commitments of the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25 on track. Its two reports to date have been well-received and seen high acclaim. The reports solidly shine a light on the path forward towards achieving the goals of ICPD and Nairobi, with at the center the three transformative results of zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices, all key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.