Jan O’Sullivan, Health Spokesperson for the Labour Party asked the ICPD Parliamentiary Question on behalf of the All Party Group.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action he is taking to ensure that Ireland meets the internationally agreed development goals, including the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals specifically in relation to family planning, reproductive health and in meeting the needs of young people; if he will commit to adequately funding the relevant budget lines to meet these goals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister of State, Mr. Peter Power, T.D.
Universal access to reproductive health is one of the goals of the Programme of Action agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994. The fifth of the Millennium Development Goals, adopted internationally in 2000, aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters, and to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015. The Government is fully committed to action in support of these goals, which will also make a vital contribution in addressing the global HIV and AIDS pandemic.
The Government’s 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid outlines our commitment to supporting the specific health needs of women and girls within the overall approach to health in developing countries. It makes clear that the health needs of women and girls, particularly in the areas of basic healthcare and maternal and reproductive health, must be at the heart of an effective strategy to improve health in the developing world.
Unfortunately, only limited progress has been made on this issue since the Cairo Conference in 1994. Every year, some 500,000 women die and a further 10 million suffer severe illnesses or disabilities as a result of complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Underlying this tragedy is the lack of access by women in developing countries to good quality maternal and reproductive health services, including family planning.
The Government’s aid programme adopts a comprehensive approach in addressing the reproductive health needs of women and young people, through involvement in global policy development, funding and research. Ireland’s assistance is directed at programmes at both global and country levels.
The Government works with several partner agencies in the UN system to address maternal health issues. One of the main obstacles to the achievement of universal access to reproductive health is the lack of empowerment of women in developing countries. The issues involved form the core mandate of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with which Irish Aid has a close relationship.
In recognition of its important mandate, the Government has engaged with and contributed substantially to UNFPA. We provided funding of €20.5 million over the three years 2005-2008, covering a range of programmes, including Trust Funds for Global Reproductive Health Commodities Security, Maternal Health, and Obstetric Fistula. Ireland has also funded a joint programme between the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNFPA to ensure that the implications of the practice of female genital mutilation are integrated into reproductive health strategies.
Ireland is also working closely with a number of partner countries on these important issues. For instance, in Tanzania , we are working on increasing access to maternal health care; in Ethiopia, we are addressing adolescent reproductive health needs; in South Africa, we are focusing on the prevention of gender based violence; and Irish Aid has been central to the development of maternal health services in Northern Province in Zambia.
Mme Bousquet Danielle
Texte de la question: Mme Danielle Bousquet attire l’attention de M. le secrétaire d’État chargé de la coopération et de la francophonie sur l’aide au développement. Elle lui demande de lui indiquer quelles actions le Gouvernement a mené pour garantir que la politique d’aide au développement et de coopération réponde bien aux engagements internationaux pris en matière de développement à la Conférence internationale du Caire sur la population et le développement et ceux pris dans le cadre des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement, en particulier ce qui concerne l’accès au planning familial et à la santé reproductive. Elle lui demande également de préciser quels moyens le Gouvernement entend engager pour atteindre ces objectifs, et en particulier si 10 % du budget de l’aide publique au développement seront effectivement affectés aux programmes de santé reproductive et de population.
Texte de la reponse: L’engagement du Gouvernement français en faveur
des objectifs de la Conférence internationale du Caire sur la population et le développement et des objectifs du millénaire pour le développement se traduit, en premier lieu, par des efforts importants d’aide publique au développement en faveur du secteur de la santé.
Estimées à 970 millions d’euros pour la seule année 2008, ces contributions augmentent chaque année de manière sensible pour atteindre un total cumulé de 5,42 milliards d’euros sur la période 2000-2008. Les priorités de l’aide française dans le domaine sanitaire convergent avec celles du programme d’action du Caire et les OMD liés à la santé, ainsi que l’illustre le niveau des contributions au titre de l’année 2007 : lutte contre le VIH/Sida et les maladies transmissibles (633 millions d’euros), santé maternelle (38 millions d’euros), santé infantile (27 millions d’euros). Les efforts particulièrement intenses dans la lutte contre le VIH/Sida, reflet d’un engagement historique au plus haut niveau, sont destinés à financer des activités de prévention, de soins et de prise en charge des malades, mises en oeuvre dans le cadre d’instruments internationaux, dont le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme (300 millions d’euros), la Facilité internationale d’achats de produits de santé UNITAID (160 millions) et le Fonds européen de développement (116 millions d’euros). S’agissant plus particulièrement de la santé reproductive, la France apporte son soutien financier à de multiples programmes, qu’ils soient mis en oeuvre par voie bilatérale, au travers de l’Agence française de développement, ou par voie multilatérale, par le biais d’organismes onusiens, dont notamment le FNUAP, l’UNICEF et l’Organisation mondiale de la santé. Une assistance technique est également fournie, essentiellement en Afrique sub-saharienne (Dakar, Niamey, Addis-Abeba), afin d’appuyer l’élaboration et la mise en oeuvre de politiques de santé maternelle et reproductive, que cela soit à l’échelle nationale ou sous-régionale. La France participe par ailleurs à renforcer les connaissances en la matière, au travers d’un programme de recherche, de développement et de formation mis oeuvre par l’OMS. Au total, sur la période 2003-2008, l’aide publique au développement en faveur de la santé reproductive s’élève à 80 millions d’euros. Par ailleurs, la France considère le renforcement des systèmes de santé et d’éducation des pays en développement comme un enjeu majeur qui conditionne la réalisation des objectifs du Caire et celle des OMD. L’aide versée à ce titre, sur la période 2000-2007, est estimée à plus de 2,8 milliards d’euros (dont près des deux tiers pour l’éducation). L’engagement français en faveur des systèmes sanitaires et scolaires se traduit également par le soutien actif à divers initiatives et partenariats internationaux dont notamment l’initiative Providing for Health et le partenariat International Health Partnership pour la santé et l’initiative Fastrack pour l’éducation).
Enfin, le ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes joue un rôle important en matière de plaidoyer, au sein des instances internationales, afin de garantir l’accès universel à la santé et aux droits reproductifs, notamment au travers de la promotion de l’égalité des genres et de la planification familiale. Aux côtés de ses partenaires, en particulier européens, le ministère entend contribuer à faire progresser ces thèmes de manière significative dans les agendas internationaux sur le développement et sur les enjeux globaux.
Dans cette perspective, la France a récemment intégré le partenariat international public/privé Reproductive Health Supply Coalition qui, en réunissant l’ensemble des acteurs impliqués dans le domaine de la santé reproductive, du Nord comme du Sud - institutions publiques, agences de développement, organisations non gouvernementales, fondations, secteur privé - vise à améliorer l’accès des pays en développement aux produits et services en la matière.
Chris McCafferty MP
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure his Department’s policies meet internationally agreed development goals in relation to provision of services relating to family planning, reproductive health and meeting the needs of young people; and if he will allocate 10 per cent. of overseas development assistance to population assistance.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) accepts that there is a large, well documented, unmet need for family planning and is working to address this. We provide significant resources to improve access to sexual and reproductive health information, services and supplies (e.g. contraceptives). DFID supports the core work of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) with £8.5 million per annum and is providing £100 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) over the five-year period to 2013 to increase access to reproductive health commodities. Our bilateral programme supports contraceptive supply directly in several developing countries.
The UK Government are also committed to spending £6 billion on strengthening health systems and services over the seven years to 2015. Strong health education programmes, including targeted youth services, sexual and reproductive health and maternal health programmes are key elements of a well functioning health system.
DFID does not plan to adopt the target of allocating 10 per cent. of overseas development assistance to population assistance. DFID’s country-led development approach is to support recipient governments to spend development assistance on the priorities they set themselves for helping their people out of poverty. DFID is committed to working to the Paris Principles concerning donor harmonisation and as part of this strongly supported the outcome of the recent the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to drive partner country ownership and leadership and for donors to support this.
The question can be accessed in the official Hansard Report at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090430/text/90430w0008.htm#09043032000068
Senator Tudor Udristoiu
-Romania supports MDG related international initiatives, such as the Call to Action initiative of Prime Minister Gordon Brown (Romania joined this initiative in July 2008), and the EU-Africa Partnership on the MDGs (Romania joined the Education dimension of the Partnership);
-Romania supported also the adoption of the EU Agenda for Action on the MDGs, at the June 2008 European Council;
-Romania’s ODA focuses, in a first stage, on certain priority areas where national experience and comparative advantages can be capitalized on, namely: promotion of human rights; consolidation of democracy; economic development; education;
-Health is a priority area in which Romania is prepared to contribute with ODA; in the period 2007-2008, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs allocated from the ODA budget a series of contributions to programs run by UN agencies, including in relation to reproductive health:
-In 2007 – contributions to the UNFPA budget, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the UNICEF general budget;
-In 2008 – contributions to the UNFPA budget (for projects in the Republic of Moldova and in Serbia), the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the UNICEF general budget.
-The project for the Republic of Moldova (July 2008-June 2009) focused on reproductive health, domestic violence and social inclusion, and aimed at facilitating access of vulnerable groups to basic services, social protection and inclusion;
-The project for Serbia (September 2008-September 2009) focuses on the social inclusion of Roma population (implementation of the Romanian model in three municipalities);
-In 2008 and 2009, the Romanian Public Health Ministry contributed also to the WHO budget and the UNFPA general budget;
-During the period between 2007 and 2010, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNDP are implementing jointly a cooperation program whose aim is to build institutional capacity and to raise public awareness regarding the development cooperation. Within this framework, a public campaign entitled “Pay it forward!”, was launched in the 5 most important Romanian cities, and consisted of: awareness raising activities on the MDGs and on Romania’s role in supporting them, in its new capacity as ODA donor; information and awareness raising among young people on MDG 6; promotion of the UNITAID system.
During the UN conference om pop. And dev in 179 states agreed on a plan of action with focus on improving people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights – working for improved gender equality, access to services and councelling, sexuality education, contraceptives and safe abortion in countries where abortion is legal.
Year 2000 the MDGs were agreed upon and in six years these are to be met. Hoever, it is unlikely that they will be met and MDG 5 on improved maternal health is the one which is the furthest from the target. Due to this the world has agreed on MDG 5 b – with the goal of universal access to Reproductive health – a goal with a very strong connection to the ICPD.
It has proven tobe very difficult to track the exact figures on the percentage of the Swedish Dev assistance that goes to MDG 5 and 5b and to SRHR. The multilateral assistance, so called core support, and it is difficult to know how much of this that goes to SRHR. The bilateral dev assistance is reported in line with specific criterias and budget lines. Within healthsystem dev there are several budget lines and it is difficult to know how much out of these that are to SRHR.
Against this background I ask the Minister: What action is the Minister willing to take to improve the ways of tracking how much of our ODA that goes to SRHR?
Dev Minister: Gunilla Carlsson
It is true, as pointed out, that it is hard to get accurate statistics on the percentage of methods for follow up and tracking the results of dev assistance to gender equality, including SRHR.
Maternal deaths continue to be very high in dev. countries. The difficulties in meeting MDG 5 is often connected to attitudes and resource distribution that limit women’s influence and rights. Improvement of gender equality, increased respect for women’s and girl’s rights, is one of the governments 3 thematic priorities of the dev assistance.
SRHR including maternal health is a special focus within this priority. During 2009 the government gives 100 million SEK to Sida with the aim to increase the work we do in the field of maternal health.
Today Dev Assistance goes, among other things, to regional initiatives in Africa, the global partnership Women Deliver, to UNFPA, to initiatives on sexuality education and education for midwives and other health care staff, information on and access to contraceptives, initiatives for improvement of antenatal care and deliveries and to org working with the right for safe and legal abortion.
In Sweden’s international policy, SRHR is a very broad field with several central components closely related and dependent of each other. Sweden gives in total more than 1.6 million to SRHR related initiatives. For example – 120 million to a broad health sector support to Bangladesh to improve maternal health care and women’s SRH. Sweden also gives support to different UN organizations and to international NGOs such as IPPF. Sweden is the second biggest donor to UNFPA with 450 million SEK an increase with 50 million from 2008. 290 million SEK is given to Unaids, an increase with 48 million SEK. Through Sida 196 million was given to IPPF and other organizations working with SRHR.
By Johan Linander (c)
To Minister Gunilla Carlsson
The MDGs consist of 8 dev goals. In six years they are to be met. The 5th goal is the one the furthest from being met. Every year more than half a million women die as a result of pregnancy, unsafe abortion or delivery afor 15-19 year old girls. To reduce Maternal deaths, women’s health and rights must be much more prioritized than today, both politically and financially. I would like to say that the situation would have been a lot better today if men were giving birth, risking to die during pregnancy and delivery. Against the above background I want to ask the Minister:
What action the Minister is willing to take to make sure that Sweden and the EU, with among other things our development assistance, will be able to do more to make sure that the MDG 5 is met year 2015.
Minister Gunilla Carlsson
Maternal death continues to be very high in dev countries. Complications in connection to pregnancy and delivery is one of the biggest underlying causes of women’s and girl’s ill-health around the world.
Therefore, better results regarding the fulfillment of MDG 5 also influence the fulfillment of MDG 1 on povery and MDG 3 on gender equality.
According to the most recent report on MDGs from the UN the maternal deaths been reduced with less than 1 % between 1990 and 2006. This is unacceptable.
Reducing maternal deaths is very important in itself, but apart from this the connections between women’s health and economic growth is getting more and more clear. Women’s and girl’s ill-health and death due to lacking SRHR result in reduction in productivity and growth.
Improvement of gender equality, increased respect for women’s and girl’s rights and strengthening of their possibilities, is one of the governments 3 thematic priorities of the dev assistance. SRHR including maternal health is a special focus within this priority. During 2009 the government gives 100 million SEK to Sida with the aim to increase the work we do in the field of maternal health.
Sida is goingto channel these extra funds both through laready existing structures but also through new initiatives. Support is given, among other things, to regional initiatives in Africa, the global partnership Women Deliver, to UNFPAs new fund for working against maternaldeath, to initiatives on sexuality education and education for midwives and other health care staff, information on and access to cheap and qualitative contraceptives for adults and for adolescents, initiatives for improvement of antenatal care and deliveries and to org. such as IPAS working with the right for safe and legal abortion and treatment and care after complications due to unsafe abortions.
The government is also actively working in the EU with gender equality and we were involved in MDG 5 being clarly visible in the council counclusions of a EU Agenda of Action on the MDGs.
Last fall, before the MDG summit in NY, I, as a member of this government, was given an MDG 3 gender equality torch. One of the obligations I made was to support the work to reduce maternal death. Johan Linnader, I can assure you that I will follow this work closely.
1. Mondelinge vraag van mevrouw Olga Zrihen aan de vice-eersteminister en minister van Buitenlandse Zaken en aan de minister van Ontwikkelingssamenwerking over «de 42ste zitting van de Commissie Bevolking en Ontwikkeling van de Verenigde Naties» (nr. 4-635)
2. Mondelinge vraag van mevrouw Sabine de Bethune aan de vice-eerste minister en minister van Buitenlandse Zaken en aan de minister van Ontwikkelingssamenwerking over «de participatie van België aan de Commissie Bevolking en Ontwikkeling van de Verenigde Naties» (nr. 4-646)
The minister of foreign affairs at that time gave a coordinated answer on both questions which you could consult on the following link (in Dutch or French):
In his answer the minister engages to consult civil society and parliament with regard to the Belgian position on ICPD +15;
Civil society drew up recommendations (in English) which can be seen at the following website