OTTAWA, 22-23 October – The IPCI 2018 conference took place in the Canadian capital’s National Arts Center. 92 participating MPs from all world regions, spanning 72 countries, as well as several invited experts, got the opportunity to discuss sexuality education, funding SRHR, backlash to women’s rights, contraception, maternal health, ending harmful practices and gender-based violence.
We heard from , FPA President Hon. Marie Rose Nguini Effa (MP, Cameroon), former EPF President, Hon. Ulrika Karlsson (MP, Sweden), Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry (MP, Canada), and Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (MP, Canada).
This was a rare opportunity for many of the world’s pioneers for gender equality and reproductive rights to come together and exchange ideas, and ended with the modification and signing of a new Statement of Commitment, progressing on from the six previous versions and acting as ample motivation for words exchanged to turn into actions.
OTTAWA, 21 October – The FPA MPs who attended IPCI 2018 in Ottawa began their stay in Canada by meeting to take stock of the state of progress of the forum, to hear from our allies and partners and to align before the conference.
Discussions revolved around the progress and activities in 2018 regarding the FPA, as well 2018 activities and outlook for 2019.
The forum’s communications developments – with particular reference to FPA’s new website and newsletter – was also discussed.
GENEVA, 18-19 June 2018 – Geneva hosted the 2018 Interactive Dialogue on understanding the politics around SRHR and the SDGs. Eight African parliamentarians were among the 30 participants from across the Asia, Europe the Americas and the Arab world. They gathered to discuss how to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights within their respective national policies, as well as how they can collaborate to ensure a more positive future for the health and rights of women and girls. The discussion revolved around developing an improved understanding of the politics around SRHR and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through an interactive dialogue.
During the session, MPs expressed their personal perspectives on the matter at hand. Hon. Jamal Kassim, MP (Tanzania) stressed that especially in Africa, women experience marginalisation and discrimination. Therefore, parliamentarians need to advocate on sexual rights, especially for women. Women should be able to determine the number of children they will have. Hon. Issa Mardo Djabir, MP (Chad) added that SRHR is important to harness the demographic dividend; the population is growing, and Africa has an expanding youth population, which is putting increased pressure on resources for young people.
Furthermore, Hon. Paul Chibingu, Malawi MP and FPA Vice President, reiterated the powerful role which MPs play with regards to promoting gender equality. Since women make up around half of the citizens which they represent, it is the duty of MPs to enlighten those who can protect the interests and the rights of women.
Finally, Hon. Marie Rose Nguini Effa, MP (Cameroon) and FPA President stated that sexual rights are a matter which affects everybody. Parliamentarians are in the heart of action because they make the legislations for their countries, meaning they are inevitably involved in finding solutions for the wellbeing of citizens.
GHANA, NEW YORK, BRUSSELS, 8 June 2018 – Hon. Robert KuganabLem, MP (Ghana) shared his thoughts on Universal Health Care in (UHC) in an interview with the FPA secretariat and Global Health Strategies. Before becoming an MP in 2016, Hon. Lem previously held posts as a Senior Lecturer in Health Economics, Health Policy and Communications at UDS-Tamale Campus and also Deputy Minister for the Upper East Region of Ghana, and he is a known supporter of UHC.
Hon. Lem spoke of how just after the Universal Health Coverage Forum – which took place in Tokyo in December 2017 – he returned to Ghana to advocate for increased investment into Primary Health Care, to ultimately achieve Universal Health Care. He added that this inspired many of his fellow parliamentarians to pursue the same goal.
MIDRAND, SOUTH AFRICA, 17 May 2018 – FPA and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) have adopted a ground-breaking resolution on The role of Parliamentarians on Realizing the Right to Health and Achieving Health Targets in Africa.
The resolution detailed that this is a historical turning point for healthcare targets in Africa and a significant step towards making progress in African citizens’ health and rights. Its key objectives include the creation of opportunities for enhancing the capacity of MPs and parliamentary committees on advocacy for health and development and the establishment of an inter-parliamentary forum to monitor the implementation of resolutions and decisions. Indeed, Parliament as an institution remains a central agent of change to drive social and economic development through oversight and legislative interventions.
MIDRAND, 9 May 2018 – FPA President Hon. Marie Rose Nguini Effa, and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) President, Roger Nkodo Dang, have officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Resolutions included the FPA’s role to promote collaboration and dialogue between parliamentarians from various African nations. It recalled the African Union’s Agenda 2063 vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena” as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, advocating for a “peaceful and inclusive” society.
JOHANNESBURG, 9 May 2018 – The FPA President attended the global launch of the the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission’s report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, for Media and Stakeholders at Constitution Hill in the Women’s Jail Atrium.
This report presents an evidence-based, progressive vision that is affordable, attainable and essential to the achievement of health, equitable development and human rights for all. It encompasses the right of all individuals to make decisions about their bodies and lives—free of stigma, discrimination and coercion—and to have access to essential sexual and reproductive health interventions.
The report highlights that meeting the need for modern contraception, safe abortion, and maternal and newborn health care in developing regions would cost just US$9 per person per year. This affordable investment would yield enormous returns: saving lives, improving health and well-being and promoting gender equality.
Read the report here
NEW YORK, March 2018 – FPA President and PAP deputy Hon. Marie Rose Nguini Effa, MP (Cameroon) was interviewed about the 62nd session of the Commission of the State of Women. When asked what she will take from her participation in the event: She emphasised the importance of the concrete measures that were taken to combat poverty among women and girls from rural regions. She noted various resolutions that this delegation had inspired.
With regard to the FPA, its ambition is for this regional platform to become a useful and effective tool in the service of this parliamentary mobilization. Their efforts should enable African parliamentarians to be at the forefront of political action on the population and development challenges facing African societies.
JOHANNESBURG, 15 February 2018 – FPA President chaired the of FPA Executive Committee in the South African capital. Challenges to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa and planning for FPA activities in the remainder of 2018 were top of the agenda. The Committee discussed recent past activity among the Forum, such as the 6th Ouagadougou Partnership Annual Meeting and the Universal Health Care Forum. Then came a general discussion about how to improve the state of FPA in 2018. Several members of the Executive Committee expressed their visions for the future of FPA.
Firstly, Hon. Chibingu, MP (Malawi) praised the opportunity for FPA members to gather and to represent the Forum and increase its visibility, hoping for more frequent FPA-wide events like this in the future. Hon. Oumouri, MP (Comoros) then highlighted what members can do in their respective countries, for instance in the different committees.
Hon. Diakhate, MP (Senegal) reiterated the importance of an action plan for FPA. She encouraged MPs to stay connected; since social media is so relevant to modern times, communications is more crucial than ever, both externally and internally.
JOHANNESBURG, 14 February 2018 – FPA MPs participate and speak at the 8th African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (SRHR) focused on Advancing SRHR of Girls and Women in Africa, under the motto: “Woman Up.”
The conference invited policy-makers and health development workers from governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to share research, expertise, experiences and emerging practices which enhance SRHR outcomes for girls and women in Africa. 15 African MPs from all regions of the continent participated. It provided a platform for strengthening existing efforts towards promoting SRHR and appraising the challenges and opportunities identified