Let’s make it count

In the midst of two major discussions on how development will be shaped in the coming years- the
International Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014 and the post-2015
development agenda – it is paramount that the needs of young people, especially young women are heard and included. For that, it is important to strengthen the agreements of ICPD in ICPD Beyond 2014, ensuring that those rights are prioritised in the discussions of the 2015 agenda. However, more than talk about the importance of hearing young people, this article discusses the dangers of not ensuring our rights.

My own country, Brazil, is supposed to be the booming power of South America. Its diplomatic core is well-renowned and it had an important role in re-defining discussions about development and the right to development from the countries from the considered “Global South”. Moreover it is actively trying to get a permanent position in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), claiming its regional expertise in mediation and peacebuilding. At the home front, on the other hand, gender-based violence is still part of the grim reality of being a woman. Rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are undeniable realities that are far from being treated with the seriousness that they deserve. When the victims are not explicitly blame for their aggressor’s crime, the system is so patriarchal and twisted that in a lot of the cases they just give up pressing charges.

Moreover, sexual and reproductive health services have appeared to have stop in time. Abortions are illegal. Many women are forced to carry through the pregnancy of anencephalic “babies” (essentially dead) with the risk of being arrested, because protecting the safety and well-being of those mothers was less important then not disturbing the group of the essentially white privileged males who have the religious seats in Congress. Yet, women are sexual assaulted and harassed every day and nothing is done about. Recently, it was discovered there was a whatsapp group that would set up dates to sexually assault women at the public transport in São Paulo. That’s how absurdly commonplace violence against women has become. Moreover, the large events we are having (World Cup, 2014 and Olympics, 2016) have only managed to succeed in increasing the cost of living, displacing people to the outskirts of major cities or forcibly removing people from their communities for aesthetical purposes.

Sexual and Gender-Based violence around the world are so rampant because even thought we have agreed on those principles, we don’t have a strong enough programming and incentives framework to make those needs a reality for all. The importance of incorporating those principles, with goals and deadlines to the post-2015 agenda is that beyond 2015 they will become a priority for the International aid system and for countries themselves. The MDGs defined project and funding priorities for the last 14 years, we advance so much on those 8 targets. But we need more. We need secondary education for girls, gender equality, democratic and safe cities, access to affordable health care with the guarantee of having our sexual and reproductive rights respected. We have reached space, overcame boundaries of science and advance a lot in creating a more dignified life for many, but it’s time we go beyond what we have to where we want to be.

This article was first published in CPDWatchdog47.

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