Action Canada Submission on Post-2015 Priorities to Government of Canada

Posted on May, 8 2015 by Action Canada

We welcome the Government of Canada’s (GoC) prioritization of MNCH and Accountability as two of Canada’s three Core priorities. We further welcome the identification of child, early and forced marriage and the empowerment of women and girls as important cross-cutting issues. Taking stock of remaining negotiations of the Post-2015 development agenda, we encourage the GoC, in discussions related to ‘Follow-up and Review,’: adopt a human rights-based approach to the implementation of accountability mechanisms and, regarding ‘Means of Implementation,’: commit to sustained financing to end inequalities and poverty, advance gender equality, the rights and development of young people, and health, including sexual and reproductive health.

We join civil society organizations in Canada and around the world who are calling on Governments to ensure that the next development agenda require States to establish implementation plans that operationalize human rights principles that include: non-discrimination, transparency, accountability, participation, empowerment, sustainability, and international cooperation. In doing so, we urge Governments to establish a system for the development of national strategies for implementation with sets of indicators to be developed with meaningful participation of a range of civil society and most affected communities and groups, where responsibilities are clearly delineated amongst levels of government and specific departments, across sectors, and participatory processes are created for regular review of progress.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has prepared guidance to assist in the application of a human rights-based approach to policymaking, program design, implementation and review aimed at reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. The principles contained in the Technical Guidance as well as the follow-up report on its initial implementation can be comprehensively applied to all aspects of sexual and reproductive health and, as such, this guidance is a critical resource for formulating the Post-2015 development agenda.

In adopting a human rights-based approach to accountability, Goal 3 on health must include mechanisms to hold States accountable to ensuring that both public and private health care providers do not violate the rights of women and girls accessing sexual and reproductive health services. The framework must recognize and address social structures and inequalities, including laws and policies that prevent women and girls from accessing reproductive and sexual health information and services. Similarly, in the context of international assistance and cooperation, the framework must hold donors accountable to ensuring that their activities abroad do not violate women and girls’ human rights. It must assist States in meeting its obligations to ensure the realization of all human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, and their development commitments must be in consonance with these obligations. It must prioritize the process and approach, particularly a human rights-based approach, rather than deliverables, outcomes and numbers.

During the remaining intergovernmental negotiations and upcoming Financing for Development Conference, we urge the GoC to commit funds in support of the development of human rights-based accountability mechanisms for the implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda. In doing so, the GoC must meet its financing commitments, to assist other countries in meeting their human rights obligations, while at the same time allocating sufficient resources for domestic implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda. This entails support for monitoring mechanisms involving governmental sectors, parliamentarians, academic experts, development partners and donors, and civil society—especially women’s, youth and other organizations representative of especially excluded groups and diverse constituencies.

More concretely, increased and sustained funding will be required in order to achieve the targets and indicators outlined in Goal 3, particularly those related to sexual and reproductive health, as a core element of the right to health. Gaps and shortfalls in the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights undermine poverty eradication efforts and the achievement of gender equality, drain household incomes and public budgets, lead to poor health and educational outcomes, lower productivity and labour force participation, and result in missed opportunities for economic growth. It is therefore critical that the GoC increase its own development assistance, and leverage other donors, in support of universal access to quality, affordable and acceptable sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. buy levitra online. This includes comprehensive information and services related to contraception and family planning; safe abortion services and post-abortion care; pregnancy care (ante- and post-natal care, skilled birth attendance, referral systems, and emergency obstetric care); assisted reproductive technologies; prevention, treatment, and care of sexually transmitted infections and HIV; and prevention, treatment and care of reproductive cancers, provided in an integrated manner.

In championing the needs of children and youth as one of its core development priorities, the GoC must recognize and advance the rights, participation, and development of adolescents and youth, especially girls’ education, delayed marriage and childbearing, and comprehensive sexuality education. Globally, we have the largest generation of young people in history: 43% of the world population is under 25 years of age. Almost half of them, or 1.2 billion, are adolescents —many living in poverty with limited opportunities, out of school, out of work, and facing violence, abuse and exploitation. The absence of comprehensive, evidence-informed education on human sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and gender equality perpetuates gender-based violence and discrimination. It also inhibits adolescent girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. The Post-2015 development framework must therefore recognize and guarantee children and adolescents’ right to comprehensive sexuality education, in accordance with their evolving capacities, as a necessary priority intervention for numerous targets including 3.3, 3.7, 4.5, 4.7, 5.1, 5.3, 5.6, among others.

Recognizing the universal nature of the Post-2015 development agenda, we urge the GoC to initiate discussions in Canada regarding how the agenda will be implemented. Respecting the principles outlined by Member States during the January stocktaking session, this requires establishing a national strategy for the implementation of the agenda, with a corresponding set of indicators, meaningful engagement of a diverse range of stakeholders, funding to establish national human rights-based accountability mechanisms, and regular and transparent reporting.