UNITED NATIONS, New York – At the High-Level Commission’s (HLC) first meeting of the year, held on 7 and 8 of February, the 29 members reflected on the commission’s first year of operation and the launch of its inaugural report “No Exceptions, No Exclusions: Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice for All”. Co-chaired by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania, and H.E. Michaëlle Jean, former Governor-General of Canada, the gathering was also an opportunity for members to discuss the work plan for the year ahead and assess processes and procedures as they take next steps.
The virtual gathering began with the welcoming of two newly appointed commission members: Dr. Myrna Cunningham, First Vice-President of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, Vice President of Global Government & Public Affairs, Royal Philips.
During the first day of the meeting, members shared updates on individual efforts in following up on the Nairobi commitments and collectively reflected on good practices and lessons learned. Commissioners relayed that their networks reacted positively to the inaugual report and its promotion of sexual and reproductive justice as more than an aspiration but a concrete goal.  
On day two, the commission held a highly engaging interactive session with UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, who noted how recommendations in the HLC report are being advanced. “UNFPA views the report as a strong advocacy tool, including at the country level, to continue to advance the Nairobi Summit commitments, in particular the 12 overarching commitments contained in the Nairobi Statement,” she said.  

Dr. Kanem also shared her thoughts and vision on the work of the commission going forward. “The commission’s report and its work provide opportunities to further advance the ICPD Programme of Action, particularly as ICPD at 30 is within our sights,” she said. “As preparations are starting for regional review processes, there is an opportunity to advocate and to use the commission’s report to include new and emerging issues in the ICPD30 review. We need to think critically about how to maintain the Nairobi commitments in processes that have wider acceptance.”
Her remarks were followed by a discussion and Q&A with HLC members who agreed on the importance of enhanced advocacy efforts to promote the recommendations of the commission's first report and generate more evidence to advance the full and accelerated implementation of  the ICPD Programme of Action.
Established in September 2020, the HLC is charged with advocating for and monitoring and reporting on the progress on the commitments to women’s health and rights made at the November 2019 Nairobi Summit on ICPD25. Composed of a wide range of stakeholders including governments, civil society, parliaments, youth and faith-based organizations, the private sector and others, members provide guidance and recommendations for advancing progress and removing bottlenecks so that the sexual and reproductive health and rights community further accelerates its momentum towards creating a world of rights and choices for all.