Follow up actions by MPs

IPCI follow-up actions from parliamentarians around the world

Africa Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (APFPD)

Burkina Faso: The Burkina Faso Network of Parliamentarians for Population and Development, in which Hon.  Boubacar Sannou plays a leading role, had a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly following IPCI. During the meeting, which took place on 3 June, the Network introduced  the Statement of Commitment to the Speaker. The Network also briefed the Ministers of Finance and Health on the Stockholm Statement of Commitment. On 3 August, a forum gathered all the MPs who committed to put in practice the commitments from Stockholm. On 3 September, a workshop on IPCI follow-up with parliamentarians, development partners, and researchers from the University of Ouagadougou, was organized in collaboration with UNFPA. The aim of the meeting was to discuss how to spread the commitments. The following day a press conference was held to present the IPCI outcome. Field missions are planned in the 13 regions of the country to present to regional councils and governors the commitments and to push for increased funding in the budgets allocated to reproductive health and family planning.

Burundi: With the support of UNFPA Burundi, MPs Hon. Norbert Ndihokubwayo and Hon. Denise Sindokotsea organised an IPCI follow-up meeting with representatives of the government, development partners, parliamentarians and members of the Finance and Good Governance Commissions.

During the meeting, which took place in May, the Stockholm Statement of Commitment was analyzed and some feasible commitments for the medium term were approved. These commitments have been integrated in a concept note which was presented by the Government of Burundi during the 47th session of the ICPD. Furthermore, Hon. Ndihokubwayo chaired a workshop, from 20-22 August, on “Advocacy for sexual and reproductive health of young people” which was attended by MPs belonging to the Equality, Education and Youth Committees, policemen and civil society members. See more here (in French)

Chad: The Network of Chadian Parliamentarians for Population and Development (REPOD), in which Hon. Issa Mardo Djabir MP takes a leading role, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Affairs, launched in almost all the regions of the country an awareness campaign on the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality. The REPOD is currently in talks with other partners, including UNFPA, for the forthcoming execution of priority actions.

Ethiopia: Hon. Nega Assefa and Hon. Abeba Yosef who formed the Ethiopian delegation to IPCI, briefed their fellow Ethopian parliamentarians on the Stockholm Statement of Commitment following the conference.  They are also trying to push for increased funding for child and maternal health in the federal budget for health and population.

Ghana: IPCI participant Hon. William Sabi MP contributed to a statement on population and youth development that was made in the parliament of Ghana on World Population Day. Furthermore, as a member of the parliamentary health committee, he met the minister for health and discussed the prospect of extending family planning services in rural areas of the country. Another IPCI participant, Hon. Dela Sowah, has been appointed as the deputy minister for women and children’s affairs. This offers opportunities for further actions on issues related to women’s and children’s rights and choices. 

Sierra Leone: The Sierra Leone Parliamentary Action Group on Population and Development (SLPAGPD) on 31 July 2014 organized a one-day workshop in Parliament to update parliamentarians on the outcome of IPCI Stockholm and promote the implementation of the ICPD. The workshop informed MPs that there is a need for a systematic, comprehensive and integrated approach to population and development issues; the need to respond to new challenges relevant to population and development and to the changing development environment, and above all the need for the integration of the population and development agenda in global processes related to development. Parliament is strongly lobbying government to focus on developing national strategies that will facilitate the implementation of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment into actions. Read more here.

The SLPAGPD also laid in parliament reports of other regional and international reviews and conferences attended by Sierra Leone on the implementation of the ICPD PoA. These reports and the Statement of Commitment from Stockholm underlined the active participation of Hon. Ibrahim Bundu and Hon. Helen Kuyembeh, the two MPs who attended IPCI Stockholm. The reports will be debated in Parliament and incorporated in Sierra Leone’s Development Policy Framework.

As a continuation of raising awareness of gender equality and women’s reproductive health and rights, the SLPAGPD and Sierra Leone Parliament is strongly advocating for the quick approval of a 30% quota for women. SLPAGPD is strongly recommending its inclusion in the national constitution that is currently being revised.

Zambia: On 22 May 2014, The Zambian All Party Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (ZAPPD) in conjunction with The Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) and UNFPA Zambia, held a strategic advocacy session on the IPCI Statement of Commitment. At the event, the ZAPPD Chairperson, Hon. Highvie Hamududu, gave a comprehensive briefing on the statement of commitment to various stakeholders involved in SRHR and gender equality advocacy and the media. This drew a lot of attention from NGOs and ignited interest for further collaboration with parliamentarians.

On 1 July 2014, ZAPPD held an interactive meeting with young people, with the support of IPas (an SRHR advocacy NGO). Young people expressed what they see as some of the deficiencies in SRHR services for them and spoke about what they expect from parliamentarians to advocate for in improving SRHR services’ accessibility for young people.

On 3 July 2014, ZAPPD and Marie Stopes Zambia (MSZ) held a meeting to discuss the importance of comprehensive reproductive health services for poverty alleviation and gender equality, leading to broader health and developmental benefits. A partnership was formed between ZAPPD and MSZ in advocating for comprehensive SRHR services in Zambia.

July 2014 was a quite active period from a legislative perspective. Parliamentarians participated in a consultative process in the proposed Gender Equality and Equity Bill, whose objective is to put in place the right framework to ensure gender equality in a range of socio - economic, political and cultural areas. The Bill also seeks to domesticate the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, on the Rights of Women in Africa and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.  ZAPPD is in full support of the envisaged landmark legislation as it answers the core of the ICPD Agenda and will unanimously support it when it comes to the Parliament for enactment.

Also during July, the Zambian Parliament unanimously adopted a report by the parliamentary committee on youth and sports, urging government to put comprehensive measures to address the rising number of teenage pregnancies in the country. In the same month, the Parliament unanimously adopted a report by the parliamentary committee on health, community development and social services, urging government to upscale family planning services to increase uptake by everyone in the country.

On 27 August ZAPPD participated in a dialogue on teenage pregnancies in Zambia organised by SAFAIDS, an NGO working on HIV and SRHR advocacy. This was an interactive dialogue involving young people, parliamentarians, government officials, traditional leaders, media and NGOs.  The dialogue came up with proposals on how the issue of teenage pregnancies can be better addressed.

Arab Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development

Bahrain: Hon. Dr. Somaya Al- Jowder, upon returning to Bahrain from Stockholm carried out the following parliamentary actions: parliamentary question to the Minister of Health regarding the coming year’s budget and the allocation for family planning services; Parliamentary question to the Minister of Justice regarding the national data on divorces and domestic violence and the necessity for a strategic plan to tackle the problem. Dr. Al- Jowder also attended the 2014 AIDS Conference.

Iraq (Kurdistan region): Hon. Mohammedali Taha presented a full report on the activities and recommendations of the conference to the Parliament of Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (President's Office), and committee of International Relations of the Parliament. Also, Hon. Taha briefed his colleagues about the conclusions from IPCI during a party parliamentary group meeting. His participation in IPCI gained media attention in newspapers and on television. Hon. Taha was interviewed by the most popular news channel (Rudaw.net) while attending IPCI in Stockholm.

Morocco: Hon. Nouzha Skalli has been very active in promoting the aims of the Stockholm Statemnent of Commitment. First, she contributed to a mobilization of women MPs and of her own political group to derail a draft bill which was intended to lower the minimum age of marriage to 16 years. This proposal had already been adopted by the Upper Chamber of the Parliament (whose composition is 98% male). Thanks to this action and to a strong advocacy against early marriage, this proposal was for the moment abandoned at the level of the House of Representatives. In May she also took part in two forums organised by her political party where she met several Moroccan parliamentarians and members of civil society. The first of these focused on "equality and the building of institutions and social justice" while the second stressed "Gender and public policy". Finally, Hon. Skalli hosted a conference on 29 May organized by the association "Actions in the Mediterranean", which was chaired by the Belgian MP Simone Suskind. The conference was directed at young women in each of the three Maghreb countries and Belgian young people already engaged in  either politics or civil society life to help them to acquire the tools to operate in politics and  form strong networks.

Yemen: Hon. Najeeb Ghanem, Chairman of Health and Population Committee in the Yemen Parliament, distributed his presentation from an IPCI breakout session on child marriage in Yemen, to a number of MPs and other stakeholders. Hon. Ghanem also discussed the population policy and its impact on development with some members of the committee responsible for the Constitution.

Also, the Yemeni Association for Reproductive Health (ARH) celebrated the World Movement Day on 13 May with a number of MPs, under the slogan “The World Movement Day for governmental commitment so as to have a new frame for development of the right to reproductive health care as a high priority”. Hon. Abdulbari Dughaish, who participated in IPCI, spoke at the event which was  attended by a number of state representatives, including the Deputy Minister of Population and Public Health.

Yemen MPs that participated in the 6th IPCI will travel to Tunisia to participate in a meeting with Arab parliamentarians. The meeting will focus on post IPCI activity and the formation of the Arab Parliamentarian Forum for Population & Development.

Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (IAPG)

Canada: The Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD) sent on 28 May a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the outcome of the 6th IPCI. The letter, cosigned by MPs Hon. Hedy Fry and Hon. Mylène‎ Freeman who attended the Conference, highlights the importance of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment and calls the Prime Minister to not “only incorporate it into the Canada’s development policy but, in true Canadian fashion, be a champion for its acceptance by the UN General Assembly’s Special Session in September 2014”.

Chile: Hon. Marco Antonio Núñez, MP, Council Vice-Chair of the IAPG, who attended the IPCI Conference, is leading discussions on the decriminalisation of abortion in Chile. President Bachelet’s government intends to pass legislation that will allow abortion when a woman's life is at risk, in cases of rape or when the foetus is not viable. Hon. Núñez was particularly active and central to the adoption of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment.

Ecuador: The All-Party Group in SRHR in Ecuador, GPI Tránsito Amaguaña, wrote three entries on its blog about IPCI at the end of May. The pieces stress the challenges that were encountered in the Conference such as aging and national systems of care, and the promotion of healthy environments. The articles underline the active participation of the two Ecuadorian MPs who attended IPCI, Hon. Maria Soledad Vela and Hon. Gina Godoy. Hon. Vela assured that she will try to update Ecuador’s legislation on SRHR, and  bring Dr. Hans Rosling to give a lecture in her country.

Paraguay: The Paraguayan Senate approved on 8 May a Bill to raise the age of marriage from 16 to 18 years old. The Bill was presented in the last legislative period by IAPG former board member, Carlos Filizzola, and was now re-introduced and approved in the Senate. Hon. Esperanza Martinez who attended IPCI, was particularly active in the adoption of the Bill.

Trinidad and Tobago: As a result of IPCI’s raising awareness on early marriage, Hon. Amery Browne will introduce a motion in Parliament to raise the age of marriage.

Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD)

The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) launched a special report for the 6th IPCI on 29th May. The report refers to the participation of the Asian delegation in the Conference, both as a whole, and by sub- regions (Pacific Islands, East& Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia). Furthermore, AFPPD prepared a Narrative Report with two sections- one regarding the conference, and the other on the follow up actions that took place and continue at the country level, after IPCI. The latter is a work- in- progress, as more reports on new actions shall arrive in the following months. Below in a round up of actions that have taken place to date:

Cook Islands: Hon. Nandi Glassie, Minister of Health and Internal Affairs, following IPCI advocated for increased representation of women in parliament. “I think women will bring a broader experience and knowledge into politics. They will bring other perspectives towards the decision-making process and bring the importance of family, education and health into the debate.” Cook Islands Parliament consists of 24 elected members, of which only three are women. Hon. Glassie said he would like to see at least 10 women occupying seats after the next elections due on 9 July 2014.

Indonesia: Hon. Nova Riyanti Yusuf, MP, who participated at IPCI will also speak at the World AIDS 2014 Conference on July 20-25 in Melbourne, Australia, where she is expected to reinforce the Stockholm agenda.

Kiribati and Tonga: A parliamentarians workshop will be conducted in these countries to enhance MPs’ capacity to advocate for ICPD issues. The Stockholm outcome document will be a key document in these workshops.

Nepal: Hon. Bhishma Nath Adhikari met with the Minister of Health of Nepal to brief him on the outcome of IPCI. Hon. Adhikari presented the Stockholm Statement of Commitment and Human Rights Declaration to the Minister, aiming to input of the country’s new National Population Policy. An advocacy workshop will be held in Nepal on 14- 15 August, during which the Stockholm outcome document will guide the formulation of the country’s action plan.                                                                                                                            

Vietnam: Hons. Nguyen Thanh Binh, Nguyen Van Son, Dang Thi Kim, and Nguyen Van Tien,  who represented the country in the 6th IPCI submitted a report to the Parliament and shared it at a health Committee hearing conducted on 12 June.

European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development

Basque Country (Spain): On 5 June, the Basque Parliament adopted an Institutional Declaration backing the Stockholm Statement of Commitment (SSC).  The Declaration engages the Basque Parliament to fulfill the SSC in its entirety and to approve policies that support SRHR. The Basque Declaration was promoted by Hon. Leixuri Arrizabalaga who attended the IPCI Conference.

Germany: A parliamentary motion entitled “20 years after Cairo: population dynamics in the context of international development cooperation and the post-2015-agenda” was introduced to the German Parliament on 3 July. The motion refers to the outcome of IPCI and highlights issues such as: the problem of ongoing structural discrimination of women and girls, the importance and special needs of youth  and youth-friendly services in the context of SRHR, and the importance of adolescent girls as target group for development cooperation The motion also refers to Ban Ki-Moon’s “Framework of Actions for the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014” from January 2014.

Italy: Two members of the Italian APPG on  "Global Health and Women's Rights", Hon. Pia Locatelli, the APPG's Coordinator and Hon. Valeria Fedeli (Senate Vice President) signed the Stockholm Statement of Commitment. The two MPs subsequently met Hon. Lapo Pistelli (Vice Minister for the International Cooperation) to present him with the Stockholm Declaration. This activity was organised taking into consideration the Informal meeting of the European Ministries of Development organized in Florence by the Italian General Directorate for international cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires in the framework of the Italian EU Presidency. During the meeting, Hon. P. Locatelli and Senator V. Fedeli asked to Hon. Pistelli that EU member states integrate the principles of the ICPD in the post 2015 agenda and that the Stockholm declaration be considered in the elaboration of the EU position on post 2015.

Portugal: Hon.  Mónica Ferro, MP published an article in a national newspaper Diário de Notícias on the  need to give  the victims of sexual violence  full access to sexual reproductive health, post-rape  care, abortion services, fistula surgeries. Hon. Ferro highlights the outcome of IPCI and the strong stance taken on sexual violence. Read the article here (in Portuguese). Hon. Ferro Mónica Ferro also published an op-ed about the outcome of IPCI Stockholm in PACTA, a magazine published by Portuguese students of international relations. Read that article here. The Portuguese APPG Secretariat has arranged for the translation of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment into Portuguese. It is hoped this will be useful for lusophone MPs throughout the world in conducting their post IPCI advocacy. 

Russia: During the workshop on population dynamics and sustainable development organized on 21 May at the Commonwealth of Independent States Parliamentary Assembly (CIS-PA), Hon. Saliya Murzabayeva, EPF Executive Committee Member and Chair of the Russian All Party Parliamentary group on Population and Development, who attended IPCI, introduced the outcomes of the Conference. The purpose of the meeting was to present and discuss the outcome of IPCI and the ICPD beyond 2014 regional review and post 2015 development agenda and CIS countries efforts to address 21st century realities.

United Kingdom: The British APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health, chaired by Baroness Jenny Tongue, sent a covering letter to all relevant UK Ministers informing them of the outcome of IPCI, and enclosing copies of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment and the Declaration on Human Rights. So far, the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening; the Department for International Development’s spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Northover; and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, Elizabeth Truss, responded by confirming the commitment of the British government to supporting the ICPD PoA, as well as committing to take the Stockholm outcome into consideration.