Welcome Address by Ambassador Berger at Side Event “Family Planning – Key to Saving Lives” (44th Session, CPD)

Apr 11, 2011

(As delivered)

Mr. Chair,

Ms. Purnima Mane, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

·        Thank you very much for the kind introduction. I am honored to be here with you today and to welcome you all to this side event during the 44th session of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development.

·        This year, the Commission has turned our attention to how fertility and reproductive health are intertwined with global development. This theme is of central importance for German development policy.

·        The promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights is one of the key pillars of German development cooperation in the health sector. At last years G8-summit, the German Government pledged additional Mio. 400 € over 5 years for the Muskoka-Initiative to promote mother’s and children’s health. We have decided to focus our contribution on sexual and reproductive health and family planning where we intend to double our bilateral ODA compared to 2008. We also actively support the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health under the auspices of the UN-SG.

·        Along with the promotion of population and family planning policies that ensure individuals’ fundamental human right to choose the number and timing of their children, we support measures that increase access to high quality, affordable family planning services.

·        There are both direct and indirect benefits of addressing the unmet need for family planning services of an estimated 215 million women worldwide, many of which contribute positively to reaching countries’ development goals.

·        One example of how to increase access to family planning services will be presented to you today by Dr. Guy Zoungrana, Senior Technical Advisor of GIZ in Burkina Faso. Dr. Zoungrana will talk about the community-based distribution of contraceptives that has been successfully utilized in Burkina Faso to increase access to family planning services for both men and women.

·        This is an auspicious time for promoting reproductive health and rightsissues; for one, the current international political environment is favorable to advancing the family planning and reproductive health policy agenda, a fact that should allow us to more easily visualize making greater strides in these areas.

·        Further, we know that meeting the need for family planning, in particular, is one of the most effective ways to improve the health of women and their families. The strong body of evidence behind this  serves not only to strengthen arguments around committing more resources to sexual and reproductive health services, but should also bolster the international community’s resolve to promote family planning as a fundamental human right and to continue striving for universal access to reproductive health services.

·        Ladies and gentlemen, while these are, indeed, welcome developments, numerous challenges must still be overcome, particularly in terms of raising public awareness around human rights, in general and, in particular, the fundamental human right to (and importance of!) universal access to reproductive health and family planning services.

·        The reality of budget constraints makes it imperative that stakeholders at all levels of global society work together to maximize positive outcomes around family planning. To this end, there is a great need to further integrate and coordinate the efforts of international donors, partner governments and civil society organizations around family planning.

·        I applaud the Secretary General’s concerted efforts to raise the status of the Millennium Development Goals around these issues and for working to generate more political will to give them the priority they deserve.

·        And, finally, I thank you all for participating in this forum to find ways of tackling these issues together. I truly appreciate your dedicated work on this key global health topic, and look forward to what will surely be a lively discussion.

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