7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Choosing sustainability: Future planning for climate change

Choosing sustainability: Future planning for climate change

Making the connections between sexual and reproductive health and rights and environmental sustainability

debate
D4
Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 15:15 to 16:30

Key points

  • A community’s ability to respond to climate change can improve if women are able to access sexual and reproductive health information and services.
     
  • 42 % of the African population is under the age of 25, coupled with a high fertility rate and a 2.6 % population growth rate.
     
  • The Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) approach aims to improve access to family planning and reproductive health, while also helping communities become more environmentally aware.
     
  • Government and private investment in family planning and contraceptives is necessary.

Synopsis

The session focused on the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for women’s empowerment. SRHRs play a major role in the lives of young people, particularly girls, and according to expert research, access to SRHR can also help curb climate change.

Many people question this link but the evidence is clear: a community’s ability to respond to climate change can improve if women are able to access sexual and reproductive health information and services and plan their families.

Of the African population, 42 % are under the age of 25. There is a high fertility rate and a 2.6% population growth rate. It is therefore important to empower these young people, enabling them to decide freely and responsibly on all aspects of their sexuality.

An example of a project that has transformed how young people feel about their sexuality can be seen in a small town in Ethiopia called Bonga. The programme had a community-based structure and young people played a big part by providing Reproductive Health Care and Family Planning (RHFP) education and by giving contraceptives to other young girls. But it went beyond SRHR and RHFP in Bonga. These young people started to actively engage in environmentally friendly projects.

Bonga was putting into practice the so-called Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) approach to community development. This aims to simultaneously improve access to family planning and reproductive health, while also helping communities conserve biodiversity, manage natural resources, and develop sustainable livelihoods.

Another project in Nepal saw new multi-purpose centres being constructed for the community complete with a clinic, information point, and even a micro-finance facility. The project has been a success and it has just received funding for a second phase.

However, there is a certain reluctance to convince people that PHE should be taken together, with many governments preferring to pick and chose what specifics they want. However, studies show that an integrated PHE approach may help people become more resilient and better able to adapt to climate change. It seems that the tide is turning with more governments and industry taking an interest in PHE.

There was an appeal to the EU to hold a stakeholder consultation on SRHR issues. There was also a call for low-cost access to family planning and supplies, such as contraceptives. It was agreed that both government and private investment is required. But small innovative approaches, such as engaging with employers so that they provide workplace health services are also being looked at. 

Insight

The general consensus was that the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement was disastrous. However, it was also agreed that the move had brought the rest of the world closer together and more determined than ever to beat climate change.

Organised by

    Sibylle Koenig
    Development Consultant and Policy Advisor
    DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung)
    Erica Belanger
    Senior Advocacy Adviser
    International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network
    Heidi Hautala
    Member
    European Parliament
    Feyera Assefa
    Country Director, Ethiopia
    DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung)
    Carina Hirsch
    Advocacy and Policy Manager
    Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network
Photo gallery

Password for download : EDD2017