Launch of UNFPA State of World Population Report 2014:
The power of 1.8 billion – adolescents, youth and the transformation of the future
18 November 2014
For immediate release
In the first 3 years of the Muskoka Initiative – which was specifically undertaken to address maternal and child health – the government’s figures show that less than 1.3% of this funding was spent on family planning overseas. The government’s overall funding for sexual and reproductive health overseas remains at about 4% of its overall international assistance, far less than the agreed target of 10%.
In Canada, access to abortion services and quality sexuality education remain uneven across the country. Young Canadians have the highest reported rates of STIs, which itself is a symptom of significant gaps in the implementation of quality sexuality education in this country. Limited access to sexual health information, including abortion services, affects young women disproportionately, given that they are more likely to have limited access to resources and transportation and are at heightened risk of experiencing stigma and discrimination.
Governments have an obligation to realize young people’s sexual and reproductive rights. These obligations are embodied in national laws and international human rights treaties; yet violations of young people’s and adolescents’ rights persist. In this regard, Canada has an obligation both through its development assistance, but also here at home, “to consider earnestly the roadmap laid out in this report” said Prasad.
Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD) and MP for Scarborough-Rouge River, Rathika Sitsabaiesan, added that “Canada, as a strong supporter of UNFPA, can benefit from the research emerging from this report, particularly when it comes to addressing the significant challenges related to maternal mortality and morbidity, child, early and forced marriage, sexual violence, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, youth employment, and other issues facing countries around the world, including Canada.”
Speaking as a young advocate for sexual health and rights, Jean Ketterling, executive coordinator of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights spoke to the challenges young people face in Canada and globally, “we see sexual and reproductive rights as paramount to the health and wellbeing of 1.8 billion young people around the world….and …stand in solidarity with youth advocates and activists around the world who are fighting for [these rights].”
The State of World Population report makes the case for urgent investment in young people around the world, emphasizing policies that empower women and girls and promote gender equality; expand employment and increase living standards; and create legal and regulatory environments that promote young people’s rights.
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