The Commission on Population and Development began on Monday, March 30 and while attendance and participation is much less hectic than previous commissions, the proposed outcome document leaves much room for improvement. Instead of focusing on the basic needs of developing countries, such as healthcare, education or job development, the committee’s agenda of establishing sexual and reproductive “rights” has taken precedence. Poor economies are blamed on high fertility rates, while universal access to abortion and accessibility of contraceptives is touted as the key to a flourishing country. The gaps in the information used to support these theories are wide and it is often impossible to establish a connection between the actual needs of people in developing countries and the priorities of the policy-makers at the United Nations.
On the bright side, the capable and determined advocacy team of the World Youth Alliance refuses to lose in the battle of ideas. The UN Advocacy Specialist and Advocacy Director are monitoring all proposed language and presenting alternative proposals as an aid to countries ranging from Malta, Nigeria and Peru. Too little concentration has been given to education and skills training, job creation and other programs that could help the youth, and others, fulfill their potential and contribute to the development of their countries. WYA’s proposed amendments focus on promoting development that supports the dignity of the human person through the provisions of basic needs, rather than solely on lowering fertility rates and establishing reproductive “rights”.
Kelly Kirby, USA