Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, recently brought together more than 100 Heads of State to discuss sustainable development and poverty reduction. However, the conference’s outcome document (The Future We Want) failed to include meaningful discussion about reproductive health.
[pullQuote position=”left”]”You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health.” -Hillary Clinton[/pullQuote]
This exclusion is unacceptable, as reproductive rights are an essential priority in the effort toward sustainable development worldwide. Women Deliver, an advocacy organization, recognized the impact of reproductive health in a recent article:
“More than 220 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for modern contraceptives. The World Health Organization estimates that there are almost 80 million unintended pregnancies every year, which lead to approximately 20 million unsafe abortions, and 68,000 maternal deaths annually.”
Not only was reproductive health excluded, but the section on gender equality was relegated to the end of the document, an issue that should have been a key element of their overall development framework.
At C2C, we believe that focusing on women’s health, rights, and development provides a powerful return on investment. Women are the drivers of social change at a national level, and investing in maternal health will have a ripple effect of positive impact on the community as a whole. While the Rio+20 Conference created positive dialogue around many development issues, it missed a huge opportunity to fully recognize the value and capacity of women across the globe.