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News

Latest news from IPPF EN

Spotlight

A selection of news from across the Federation

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Ukraine

News item

Call To Action On Ukraine

Organizations urge the EU, European governments, the UN and other donor governments to protect SRHR and provide needed health care.
IPPF Ethiopia
news item

| 23 October 2019

Last chance to meet EU commitments under the current multi-annual budget

The European Parliament has today adopted its first reading on the EU 2020 budget. MEPs voted in favour of a €2,7 billion increase of the EU’s budget compared to the Commission’s proposal: an outright rejection of the Council’s proposed cuts.  A budget increase that could save lives and improve health and wellbeing  Dubbed as the last chance for the Union to meet key political commitments during this financial period, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Parliament’s call for an ambitious budget for the last year of the current MFF is welcome news. With the support of the Committees on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and Development, the Parliament called for an increase of €10 million in commitment to the budget line on human development compared to the Commission’s proposal. This increase will finance projects on education, tackling diseases, gender equality and access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SHRH), focusing directly on the needs and rights of people in developing countries. In addition, the budget line on ‘civil society in development’ would be restored and the one on humanitarian aid would increase by €50 million.  Eef Wuyts, Director of European and International Affairs at IPPF EN, said: “The Human Development line is key to effectively ensuring people can access healthcare and education, and to guarantee women and girls’ access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.’’  But this additional investment falls short of commitments “While this proposed increase is a step in the right direction, it falls short of the EU’s commitment to dedicate at least 20% of its total Official Development Assistance to human development and social inclusion. We urge the Council not to cut this budget line any further’’, said Cécile Vernant, Head of the EU Office at DSW.  “Europe has a responsibility to be a global leader on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. The upcoming Nairobi Summit in November 2019 will be another important opportunity for the EU to make further concrete commitments – including financial ones – to accelerate progress to fully implement the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action’’, said Neil Datta, Secretary at EPF. Investing in human development, in areas such as health and SRHR is key to empowering women and achieving gender equality. It is crucial that Member States support the €10 million increase proposed by the European Parliament to ensure access to healthcare and education for all.  END For more information, contact Ffion Storer Jones, Communications Officer at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)’s EU office on [email protected] or +32 2 504 90 62. Notes: DSW is a global development organisation that focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history. We are committed to creating demand for and access to health information, services, supplies, and economic empowerment for youth. We achieve this by engaging in advocacy, capacity development, and reproductive health initiatives so that young people are empowered to lead healthy and self-determined lives. DSW also advocates for investment in research and innovation to fight poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases. For more information, visit www.dsw.org/en The International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF EN and our partners work in over 40 countries across Europe and Central Asia to empower everyone, especially the most socially excluded, to live with dignity and to have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This access is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in all countries. For more information, visit https://www.ippfen.org/  The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) is Europe’s only parliamentary network focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights. EPF serves as a platform for cooperation and coordination for its 33 all-party groups in Parliaments throughout Europe to promote and defend the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals, to defend and advance gender equality and equity, women’s empowerment, and to eliminate all forms of discrimination, coercion and violence against women and girls worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.epfweb.org/ The European Consensus on Development is a shared vision and framework for action for development cooperation for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It is a blueprint which aligns the Union’s development policy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For more information, go here. 

IPPF Ethiopia
news_item

| 23 October 2019

Last chance to meet EU commitments under the current multi-annual budget

The European Parliament has today adopted its first reading on the EU 2020 budget. MEPs voted in favour of a €2,7 billion increase of the EU’s budget compared to the Commission’s proposal: an outright rejection of the Council’s proposed cuts.  A budget increase that could save lives and improve health and wellbeing  Dubbed as the last chance for the Union to meet key political commitments during this financial period, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Parliament’s call for an ambitious budget for the last year of the current MFF is welcome news. With the support of the Committees on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and Development, the Parliament called for an increase of €10 million in commitment to the budget line on human development compared to the Commission’s proposal. This increase will finance projects on education, tackling diseases, gender equality and access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SHRH), focusing directly on the needs and rights of people in developing countries. In addition, the budget line on ‘civil society in development’ would be restored and the one on humanitarian aid would increase by €50 million.  Eef Wuyts, Director of European and International Affairs at IPPF EN, said: “The Human Development line is key to effectively ensuring people can access healthcare and education, and to guarantee women and girls’ access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.’’  But this additional investment falls short of commitments “While this proposed increase is a step in the right direction, it falls short of the EU’s commitment to dedicate at least 20% of its total Official Development Assistance to human development and social inclusion. We urge the Council not to cut this budget line any further’’, said Cécile Vernant, Head of the EU Office at DSW.  “Europe has a responsibility to be a global leader on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. The upcoming Nairobi Summit in November 2019 will be another important opportunity for the EU to make further concrete commitments – including financial ones – to accelerate progress to fully implement the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action’’, said Neil Datta, Secretary at EPF. Investing in human development, in areas such as health and SRHR is key to empowering women and achieving gender equality. It is crucial that Member States support the €10 million increase proposed by the European Parliament to ensure access to healthcare and education for all.  END For more information, contact Ffion Storer Jones, Communications Officer at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)’s EU office on [email protected] or +32 2 504 90 62. Notes: DSW is a global development organisation that focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history. We are committed to creating demand for and access to health information, services, supplies, and economic empowerment for youth. We achieve this by engaging in advocacy, capacity development, and reproductive health initiatives so that young people are empowered to lead healthy and self-determined lives. DSW also advocates for investment in research and innovation to fight poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases. For more information, visit www.dsw.org/en The International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF EN and our partners work in over 40 countries across Europe and Central Asia to empower everyone, especially the most socially excluded, to live with dignity and to have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This access is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in all countries. For more information, visit https://www.ippfen.org/  The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) is Europe’s only parliamentary network focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights. EPF serves as a platform for cooperation and coordination for its 33 all-party groups in Parliaments throughout Europe to promote and defend the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals, to defend and advance gender equality and equity, women’s empowerment, and to eliminate all forms of discrimination, coercion and violence against women and girls worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.epfweb.org/ The European Consensus on Development is a shared vision and framework for action for development cooperation for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It is a blueprint which aligns the Union’s development policy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For more information, go here. 

EWAG 2018
news item

| 01 October 2018

The European Week of Action of Girls is back!

The European Week of Action of Girls (EWAG) is a week-long programme of events and activities, based around the International Day of the Girl Child, on Thursday 11th October. Now in its sixth year EWAG asks the EU to better protect and champion the rights of girls, particularly through its external action. Organised by a coalition of civil society organisations, and supported by the European Institutions and UN Agencies, the 2018 European Week of Action for Girls takes place from 8 – 12 October. The European Week of Action for Girls 2018 will give girls the opportunity to talk to EU decision-makers and help shape a better world for all girls. They will address EU leaders on what needs to be done to overcome the barriers they face and to ensure their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. This year, EWAG will particularly focus on girls’ right to education, combatting violence, economic empowerment and to participation in decision-making. Background paper. Advocacy paper. Video interview following EWAG. The week in photos.

EWAG 2018
news_item

| 01 October 2018

The European Week of Action of Girls is back!

The European Week of Action of Girls (EWAG) is a week-long programme of events and activities, based around the International Day of the Girl Child, on Thursday 11th October. Now in its sixth year EWAG asks the EU to better protect and champion the rights of girls, particularly through its external action. Organised by a coalition of civil society organisations, and supported by the European Institutions and UN Agencies, the 2018 European Week of Action for Girls takes place from 8 – 12 October. The European Week of Action for Girls 2018 will give girls the opportunity to talk to EU decision-makers and help shape a better world for all girls. They will address EU leaders on what needs to be done to overcome the barriers they face and to ensure their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. This year, EWAG will particularly focus on girls’ right to education, combatting violence, economic empowerment and to participation in decision-making. Background paper. Advocacy paper. Video interview following EWAG. The week in photos.

IPPF/Laura Lewis/UK
news item

| 04 May 2018

Call on the EU to reflect gender equality in the next multiannual budget

This week the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) which makes no reference to gender equality. CSOs come together to call on the European Parliament and on Member States to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in the further development of the post-2020 EU budget.    Statement follows: "On Wednesday, the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). As the gender and development community we are deeply concerned that gender equality is not addressed as a key political priority. We question to what extent the external relations budget, increased to 10% of the MFF, will serve the primary long-term objective of EU’s development cooperation which remains the eradication of poverty.   The Communication itself makes no reference to gender equality. Its annex makes only two cursory references to gender mainstreaming (including one regarding the new Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument – Heading VI), without giving any more details as to how this should be undertaken under the next MFF. The principles of “prosperity, sustainability and solidarity” should serve as a guide, ensuring that the next MFF is fair and inclusive for all, including women and girls.   If the EU really wants to establish ‘a modern, focused EU budget’, this cannot be done without the sound and comprehensive inclusion of a gender perspective that is key to enable better and more evidence-based decision-making, which in turn contributes to ensuring an effective use of public funds and EU added value in its external action. Notably, a gender responsive budget facilitates the attainment of modern standards of public financial management such as performance orientation, transparency, accountability, and participation.   While acknowledging Europe’s future long-term funding debate comes in at a challenging and complex political environment, the EU also needs to match it with the ambitions and commitments made to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring no one is left behind. Since the EU has played a key role in advancing the global agenda for gender equality through various policies and initiatives, it must now operationalize this political leadership to guarantee its new Heading VI has a transformative and positive impact in the lives of women and girls. The new European Consensus on Development, which is acknowledged by the European Commission as a cornerstone of the next MFF when it comes to external action, reiterates this commitment. This will not become a reality without specific targets, investments in all development sectors, the generation of sector-specific, gender-disaggregated data, and an understanding of the complexity of multiple discriminations. Consistent support for gender equality will have a multiplier effect and ensure a sustainable, positive impact of EU actions with partner countries. As it currently stands, gender equality will likely be reduced to a minimum in the implementation of the Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument. We, therefore, call on the European Parliament and the Member States, in the further elaboration of the future EU budget, to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. Lifting women and girls out of poverty helps lift whole families, communities and countries out of poverty and is therefore key to ensuring sustainable, inclusive economic growth." Signed by IPPF EN, Care International, World Vision, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, ONE, Plan International, European Women's Lobby, DSW, WIDE+, European Region World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

IPPF/Laura Lewis/UK
news_item

| 04 May 2018

Call on the EU to reflect gender equality in the next multiannual budget

This week the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) which makes no reference to gender equality. CSOs come together to call on the European Parliament and on Member States to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in the further development of the post-2020 EU budget.    Statement follows: "On Wednesday, the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). As the gender and development community we are deeply concerned that gender equality is not addressed as a key political priority. We question to what extent the external relations budget, increased to 10% of the MFF, will serve the primary long-term objective of EU’s development cooperation which remains the eradication of poverty.   The Communication itself makes no reference to gender equality. Its annex makes only two cursory references to gender mainstreaming (including one regarding the new Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument – Heading VI), without giving any more details as to how this should be undertaken under the next MFF. The principles of “prosperity, sustainability and solidarity” should serve as a guide, ensuring that the next MFF is fair and inclusive for all, including women and girls.   If the EU really wants to establish ‘a modern, focused EU budget’, this cannot be done without the sound and comprehensive inclusion of a gender perspective that is key to enable better and more evidence-based decision-making, which in turn contributes to ensuring an effective use of public funds and EU added value in its external action. Notably, a gender responsive budget facilitates the attainment of modern standards of public financial management such as performance orientation, transparency, accountability, and participation.   While acknowledging Europe’s future long-term funding debate comes in at a challenging and complex political environment, the EU also needs to match it with the ambitions and commitments made to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring no one is left behind. Since the EU has played a key role in advancing the global agenda for gender equality through various policies and initiatives, it must now operationalize this political leadership to guarantee its new Heading VI has a transformative and positive impact in the lives of women and girls. The new European Consensus on Development, which is acknowledged by the European Commission as a cornerstone of the next MFF when it comes to external action, reiterates this commitment. This will not become a reality without specific targets, investments in all development sectors, the generation of sector-specific, gender-disaggregated data, and an understanding of the complexity of multiple discriminations. Consistent support for gender equality will have a multiplier effect and ensure a sustainable, positive impact of EU actions with partner countries. As it currently stands, gender equality will likely be reduced to a minimum in the implementation of the Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument. We, therefore, call on the European Parliament and the Member States, in the further elaboration of the future EU budget, to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. Lifting women and girls out of poverty helps lift whole families, communities and countries out of poverty and is therefore key to ensuring sustainable, inclusive economic growth." Signed by IPPF EN, Care International, World Vision, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, ONE, Plan International, European Women's Lobby, DSW, WIDE+, European Region World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

#BeyondBorders Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health
news item

| 03 April 2017

Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Matter of Life and Death

Conflict for too many women is synonymous with rape and violence. It also means sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal morbidity or death. Sexual and reproductive health is never considered to be as important as food or security, yet for many women and girls, accessing these services can mean the difference between life and death. Many refugee women don’t even report rape; not only is the reporting process lengthy, slowing down their journey, but often the violence is perpetrated by police. An unprecedented number of women and adolescent girls are crossing into the European Union daily, with the numbers only set to rise. As crises intensify the need for SRH services increases exponentially, yet it continues to be neglected by key humanitarian responders. Most countries do not even have an emergency response strategy in place to deal with crises, let alone one that includes SRH. If you don’t have an enabling environment in a peaceful situation, how can you respond to SRH needs in an emergency? Integrated services Effective emergency response strategies require capacity development, multistakeholder coordination, improved availability of resources — including supplies — and most importantly, funding. Budget for SRH services in humanitarian crises falls a long way short of what is needed to save lives, and increased investment, prior to and during an emergency, can effectively mitigate the impact of future crises. A set of essential SRH services should be provided as soon as a humanitarian situation arises, including effective coordination, prevention of sexual violence, reduction of sexually transmitted infections, prevention of maternal and infant mortality, and the integration of comprehensive SRH services into primary health care. The occasional provision of dignity kits with items such as sanitary pads and soap, although welcome, are in no means sufficient to address the needs of refugee women. Condoms or any other form of contraception are not included. Priority on partnerships To tackle these critical issues and assist countries in preparing for a potential crisis, International Planned Parenthood European Network and United Nations Population Fund (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) developed the Minimum Initial Service Package readiness assessment tool. This looks at whether a country is able to effectively respond to SRH in an emergency and what medical structures are already in place. This enables governments, U.N. agencies, and civil society organizations to respond effectively to the needs of refugee women. Continuous migration means that responses must also be quick and adaptive. Although most of the response is implemented by CSOs on the ground, partnerships are crucial, and priority areas should be developed in conjunction with governments. Governments have a duty to respond effectively and must be sensitized to the issues refugee women face. The prolific instances of gender-based violence amongst refugee populations should make SRH a top priority when it comes to emergency response strategies, not an afterthought. For this, the MISP readiness assessment tool guides responders on the following key issues: how to implement and prioritize effective SRH to a population constantly on the move; and how to tackle gender-based violence when women are only there for a maximum of 72 hours. Serving mobile populations IPPF EN member association HERA, the Health Education and Research Association in Macedonia, is currently able to provide immediate gynecological services to refugee women and counseling on gender-based violence. This is only possible because HERA and partners began to prepare for SRH needs in a crisis as part of a country team in 2012, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and other key actors. This has proved to be vital as more than 650,000 refugees have entered Macedonia so far; up to 50 percent of whom are women. Yet the provision of SRH services is still critically low. HERA is the only responder currently providing mobile gynecological services at the transit camps. Many of the SRH services delivered at these mobile clinics are lifesaving, particularly for pregnant women. Undertaking these types of arduous journeys means safe delivery becomes almost impossible due to a lack of obstetric care. Malnutrition and epidemics only serve to increase the risk of pregnancy complications. In addition, the burden of time restrictions makes it incredibly difficult for women to receive the necessary medical treatment as they are only given 72 hours to transit the country, and typically only stay for four to six hours. HERA is also establishing standard operational procedures on how to combat gender-based violence in such a short time frame and provide support for them both medically and psychologically. However, coordinated reporting on gender-based violence at transit camps is extremely challenging as most refugees are unregistered. Scale up efforts Poor response systems and EU member states’ willingness to send refugees back to an environment where they are at increased risk of death and violence are indicative of collective amnesia on pledges to aid refugees in crisis. Only 12 EU member states have ratified the Istanbul Convention guaranteeing the protection of women, regardless of their status. A lack of policy cohesion and compliance with international humanitarian laws has resulted in huge implementation gaps. Member states need to scale up efforts in responding to humanitarian emergencies to prevent gender-based violence, improve the provision of essential SRH services to enable the protection and empowerment of vulnerable women and girls. SRH is a human right and in denying these services, we are denying women and girls of their basic human rights. By Dearbhla Crosse, Communications Advisor, IPPF EN and Nesrine Talbi, Programme Advisor, IPPF EN Click to read the article published in Devex as part of the Beyond Borders Conversation

#BeyondBorders Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health
news_item

| 07 March 2016

Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Matter of Life and Death

Conflict for too many women is synonymous with rape and violence. It also means sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal morbidity or death. Sexual and reproductive health is never considered to be as important as food or security, yet for many women and girls, accessing these services can mean the difference between life and death. Many refugee women don’t even report rape; not only is the reporting process lengthy, slowing down their journey, but often the violence is perpetrated by police. An unprecedented number of women and adolescent girls are crossing into the European Union daily, with the numbers only set to rise. As crises intensify the need for SRH services increases exponentially, yet it continues to be neglected by key humanitarian responders. Most countries do not even have an emergency response strategy in place to deal with crises, let alone one that includes SRH. If you don’t have an enabling environment in a peaceful situation, how can you respond to SRH needs in an emergency? Integrated services Effective emergency response strategies require capacity development, multistakeholder coordination, improved availability of resources — including supplies — and most importantly, funding. Budget for SRH services in humanitarian crises falls a long way short of what is needed to save lives, and increased investment, prior to and during an emergency, can effectively mitigate the impact of future crises. A set of essential SRH services should be provided as soon as a humanitarian situation arises, including effective coordination, prevention of sexual violence, reduction of sexually transmitted infections, prevention of maternal and infant mortality, and the integration of comprehensive SRH services into primary health care. The occasional provision of dignity kits with items such as sanitary pads and soap, although welcome, are in no means sufficient to address the needs of refugee women. Condoms or any other form of contraception are not included. Priority on partnerships To tackle these critical issues and assist countries in preparing for a potential crisis, International Planned Parenthood European Network and United Nations Population Fund (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) developed the Minimum Initial Service Package readiness assessment tool. This looks at whether a country is able to effectively respond to SRH in an emergency and what medical structures are already in place. This enables governments, U.N. agencies, and civil society organizations to respond effectively to the needs of refugee women. Continuous migration means that responses must also be quick and adaptive. Although most of the response is implemented by CSOs on the ground, partnerships are crucial, and priority areas should be developed in conjunction with governments. Governments have a duty to respond effectively and must be sensitized to the issues refugee women face. The prolific instances of gender-based violence amongst refugee populations should make SRH a top priority when it comes to emergency response strategies, not an afterthought. For this, the MISP readiness assessment tool guides responders on the following key issues: how to implement and prioritize effective SRH to a population constantly on the move; and how to tackle gender-based violence when women are only there for a maximum of 72 hours. Serving mobile populations IPPF EN member association HERA, the Health Education and Research Association in Macedonia, is currently able to provide immediate gynecological services to refugee women and counseling on gender-based violence. This is only possible because HERA and partners began to prepare for SRH needs in a crisis as part of a country team in 2012, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and other key actors. This has proved to be vital as more than 650,000 refugees have entered Macedonia so far; up to 50 percent of whom are women. Yet the provision of SRH services is still critically low. HERA is the only responder currently providing mobile gynecological services at the transit camps. Many of the SRH services delivered at these mobile clinics are lifesaving, particularly for pregnant women. Undertaking these types of arduous journeys means safe delivery becomes almost impossible due to a lack of obstetric care. Malnutrition and epidemics only serve to increase the risk of pregnancy complications. In addition, the burden of time restrictions makes it incredibly difficult for women to receive the necessary medical treatment as they are only given 72 hours to transit the country, and typically only stay for four to six hours. HERA is also establishing standard operational procedures on how to combat gender-based violence in such a short time frame and provide support for them both medically and psychologically. However, coordinated reporting on gender-based violence at transit camps is extremely challenging as most refugees are unregistered. Scale up efforts Poor response systems and EU member states’ willingness to send refugees back to an environment where they are at increased risk of death and violence are indicative of collective amnesia on pledges to aid refugees in crisis. Only 12 EU member states have ratified the Istanbul Convention guaranteeing the protection of women, regardless of their status. A lack of policy cohesion and compliance with international humanitarian laws has resulted in huge implementation gaps. Member states need to scale up efforts in responding to humanitarian emergencies to prevent gender-based violence, improve the provision of essential SRH services to enable the protection and empowerment of vulnerable women and girls. SRH is a human right and in denying these services, we are denying women and girls of their basic human rights. By Dearbhla Crosse, Communications Advisor, IPPF EN and Nesrine Talbi, Programme Advisor, IPPF EN Click to read the article published in Devex as part of the Beyond Borders Conversation

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March.
news item

| 08 March 2015

IWD 2015 - Gender equality cannot be achieved without sexual and reproductive health and rights

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March. It is estimated that two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty are women and that women make up 60 per cent of the 572 million working poor in the world. “It is time we tackled the harmful discrimination that prevents women and girls from fulfilling their potential,” said Vicky Claeys, IPPF EN Regional Director. Many people believe that European societies are modern and progressive when it comes to women’s rights. But patriarchal, traditional and religious influences still have a strong grip over the everyday lives of women and girls in many European countries. A strong conservative wind is currently blowing through many European and Central Asian countries and even through the EU and European institutions, opposing progress and challenging the imperfect but hard-won battles on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The EU and the Council of Europe must play as strong a role as possible in defending and strengthening the fundamental rights of women and girls.  Respecting sexual and reproductive health and rights is a pre-condition for their freedom and independence. “Supportive national policies and greater investment  in this area are needed not only to support, the health of women and girls, but also to enable them to participate across social, economic and political life.” Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized in the next set of global development goals, the post-2015 framework, which will be decided in the next few months. Vicky Claeys added: “There are huge challenges to achieving gender equality. Society’s expectations for girls and women can limit their opportunities across social, economic and political life. “This is both a national and global agenda that cannot be ignored. To stamp out gender inequality and make sure that women and girls can realize their sexual and reproductive rights, we need both the political will for change and targeted financial support.” IPPF’s new report , ‘Sexual and reproductive health and rights – the key to gender equality and women’s empowerment’, which will be launched on March 16th at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, sets out specific recommendations to governments and to United Nations agencies to make sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality, including:   Making sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality Sustaining the success of sexual and reproductive health interventions Engaging men and boys as partners in gender transformative change Eliminating sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls Building capacity for women to participate in political and public life   Notes to editors:   Sexual and reproductive health and rights- the key to gender equality and empowerment- new landmark report will be launched at the United Nations at the Commission on the Status of Women 16th March

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March.
news_item

| 08 March 2015

IWD 2015 - Gender equality cannot be achieved without sexual and reproductive health and rights

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March. It is estimated that two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty are women and that women make up 60 per cent of the 572 million working poor in the world. “It is time we tackled the harmful discrimination that prevents women and girls from fulfilling their potential,” said Vicky Claeys, IPPF EN Regional Director. Many people believe that European societies are modern and progressive when it comes to women’s rights. But patriarchal, traditional and religious influences still have a strong grip over the everyday lives of women and girls in many European countries. A strong conservative wind is currently blowing through many European and Central Asian countries and even through the EU and European institutions, opposing progress and challenging the imperfect but hard-won battles on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The EU and the Council of Europe must play as strong a role as possible in defending and strengthening the fundamental rights of women and girls.  Respecting sexual and reproductive health and rights is a pre-condition for their freedom and independence. “Supportive national policies and greater investment  in this area are needed not only to support, the health of women and girls, but also to enable them to participate across social, economic and political life.” Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized in the next set of global development goals, the post-2015 framework, which will be decided in the next few months. Vicky Claeys added: “There are huge challenges to achieving gender equality. Society’s expectations for girls and women can limit their opportunities across social, economic and political life. “This is both a national and global agenda that cannot be ignored. To stamp out gender inequality and make sure that women and girls can realize their sexual and reproductive rights, we need both the political will for change and targeted financial support.” IPPF’s new report , ‘Sexual and reproductive health and rights – the key to gender equality and women’s empowerment’, which will be launched on March 16th at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, sets out specific recommendations to governments and to United Nations agencies to make sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality, including:   Making sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality Sustaining the success of sexual and reproductive health interventions Engaging men and boys as partners in gender transformative change Eliminating sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls Building capacity for women to participate in political and public life   Notes to editors:   Sexual and reproductive health and rights- the key to gender equality and empowerment- new landmark report will be launched at the United Nations at the Commission on the Status of Women 16th March

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence
news item

| 08 December 2017

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence

The Y-SAV project led by Rutgers WPF, the Dutch IPPF member, is an excellent example of how a strong centre of expertise on sexual and reproductive health and rights can promote change on all levels. From in-depth research to effective policy-making and on-ground activities Y-SAV’s work stands out when it comes to improving the lives of young Europeans who counter sexual violence. As you read this, research and country reports are translated into concrete actions by policy makers, and around Europe, young advocates speak out for gender equality and against sexual violence. Are we failing to address the reality and the real needs of young people? This is the question that alarmed Rutgers WPF, as study after study provided similar results: sexual aggression and victimization is highly prevalent among young Europeans. In a number of EU countries, a third to half of reported sexual assault cases are of young people, primarily young women – meaning that young people's sexual health and sexual rights are strongly endangered. These alarming findings led to the initiation of Y-SAV, a three-year project on Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization co-funded by the European Union. Since its introduction, Y-SAV has been tackling youth sexual aggression and victimization on several fronts. This starts with making research comparable across countries and bringing scientists, policy makers and health and education experts together. Young advocates are taking the research findings to a concrete level, discussing them with policy makers and their peers and providing peer-to-peer education. The goal is to see a Europe where every level of action aims at the best possible response to sexual aggression experienced by youth. Gosia’s story from Poland: Young activists combat sexual aggression and victimization “During the summer of 2013, Y-SAV supported two youth led activities: YouAct, which is a group of young European sexual rights advocates, and Ponton, our project in Poland. The name Ponton comes from our volunteer peer educator group, Ponton Group of Sex Educators. We wanted to encourage young people to speak out against Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (YSAV). We felt frustrated as in Poland, over 70% of teenagers have experienced some kind of victimization, but the government has not taken concrete measures to prevent this phenomenon. The main goal of our project was to engage young people so that action would be taken by young people for young people. We asked an all-girl hip hop group Rymy w Sercu to create a song about sexual violence to spread the message in a way that would get to young people – and they did an amazing job! You can see their video ‘Take a stand’ here. (Remember to turn on ‘captions’ for subtitles!) Our school workshops inspired young people to come together to rally against sexual violence. They created slogans, photos and a website. It was great to see students being so active. Media and culture fuel negative gender stereotypes and influence the way sexuality and intimate relationships are seen. We need comprehensive sexuality education to fight those stereotypes and convey accurate information. As one of the participants said, “This was the first time someone talked with us about sexual violence.” “I think that if in every school every student could participate in such workshops, more people like me would open up to discussions about sexuality - the issue is an essential part of every human being.”

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence
news_item

| 28 February 2014

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence

The Y-SAV project led by Rutgers WPF, the Dutch IPPF member, is an excellent example of how a strong centre of expertise on sexual and reproductive health and rights can promote change on all levels. From in-depth research to effective policy-making and on-ground activities Y-SAV’s work stands out when it comes to improving the lives of young Europeans who counter sexual violence. As you read this, research and country reports are translated into concrete actions by policy makers, and around Europe, young advocates speak out for gender equality and against sexual violence. Are we failing to address the reality and the real needs of young people? This is the question that alarmed Rutgers WPF, as study after study provided similar results: sexual aggression and victimization is highly prevalent among young Europeans. In a number of EU countries, a third to half of reported sexual assault cases are of young people, primarily young women – meaning that young people's sexual health and sexual rights are strongly endangered. These alarming findings led to the initiation of Y-SAV, a three-year project on Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization co-funded by the European Union. Since its introduction, Y-SAV has been tackling youth sexual aggression and victimization on several fronts. This starts with making research comparable across countries and bringing scientists, policy makers and health and education experts together. Young advocates are taking the research findings to a concrete level, discussing them with policy makers and their peers and providing peer-to-peer education. The goal is to see a Europe where every level of action aims at the best possible response to sexual aggression experienced by youth. Gosia’s story from Poland: Young activists combat sexual aggression and victimization “During the summer of 2013, Y-SAV supported two youth led activities: YouAct, which is a group of young European sexual rights advocates, and Ponton, our project in Poland. The name Ponton comes from our volunteer peer educator group, Ponton Group of Sex Educators. We wanted to encourage young people to speak out against Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (YSAV). We felt frustrated as in Poland, over 70% of teenagers have experienced some kind of victimization, but the government has not taken concrete measures to prevent this phenomenon. The main goal of our project was to engage young people so that action would be taken by young people for young people. We asked an all-girl hip hop group Rymy w Sercu to create a song about sexual violence to spread the message in a way that would get to young people – and they did an amazing job! You can see their video ‘Take a stand’ here. (Remember to turn on ‘captions’ for subtitles!) Our school workshops inspired young people to come together to rally against sexual violence. They created slogans, photos and a website. It was great to see students being so active. Media and culture fuel negative gender stereotypes and influence the way sexuality and intimate relationships are seen. We need comprehensive sexuality education to fight those stereotypes and convey accurate information. As one of the participants said, “This was the first time someone talked with us about sexual violence.” “I think that if in every school every student could participate in such workshops, more people like me would open up to discussions about sexuality - the issue is an essential part of every human being.”

IPPF Ethiopia
news item

| 23 October 2019

Last chance to meet EU commitments under the current multi-annual budget

The European Parliament has today adopted its first reading on the EU 2020 budget. MEPs voted in favour of a €2,7 billion increase of the EU’s budget compared to the Commission’s proposal: an outright rejection of the Council’s proposed cuts.  A budget increase that could save lives and improve health and wellbeing  Dubbed as the last chance for the Union to meet key political commitments during this financial period, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Parliament’s call for an ambitious budget for the last year of the current MFF is welcome news. With the support of the Committees on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and Development, the Parliament called for an increase of €10 million in commitment to the budget line on human development compared to the Commission’s proposal. This increase will finance projects on education, tackling diseases, gender equality and access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SHRH), focusing directly on the needs and rights of people in developing countries. In addition, the budget line on ‘civil society in development’ would be restored and the one on humanitarian aid would increase by €50 million.  Eef Wuyts, Director of European and International Affairs at IPPF EN, said: “The Human Development line is key to effectively ensuring people can access healthcare and education, and to guarantee women and girls’ access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.’’  But this additional investment falls short of commitments “While this proposed increase is a step in the right direction, it falls short of the EU’s commitment to dedicate at least 20% of its total Official Development Assistance to human development and social inclusion. We urge the Council not to cut this budget line any further’’, said Cécile Vernant, Head of the EU Office at DSW.  “Europe has a responsibility to be a global leader on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. The upcoming Nairobi Summit in November 2019 will be another important opportunity for the EU to make further concrete commitments – including financial ones – to accelerate progress to fully implement the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action’’, said Neil Datta, Secretary at EPF. Investing in human development, in areas such as health and SRHR is key to empowering women and achieving gender equality. It is crucial that Member States support the €10 million increase proposed by the European Parliament to ensure access to healthcare and education for all.  END For more information, contact Ffion Storer Jones, Communications Officer at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)’s EU office on [email protected] or +32 2 504 90 62. Notes: DSW is a global development organisation that focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history. We are committed to creating demand for and access to health information, services, supplies, and economic empowerment for youth. We achieve this by engaging in advocacy, capacity development, and reproductive health initiatives so that young people are empowered to lead healthy and self-determined lives. DSW also advocates for investment in research and innovation to fight poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases. For more information, visit www.dsw.org/en The International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF EN and our partners work in over 40 countries across Europe and Central Asia to empower everyone, especially the most socially excluded, to live with dignity and to have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This access is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in all countries. For more information, visit https://www.ippfen.org/  The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) is Europe’s only parliamentary network focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights. EPF serves as a platform for cooperation and coordination for its 33 all-party groups in Parliaments throughout Europe to promote and defend the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals, to defend and advance gender equality and equity, women’s empowerment, and to eliminate all forms of discrimination, coercion and violence against women and girls worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.epfweb.org/ The European Consensus on Development is a shared vision and framework for action for development cooperation for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It is a blueprint which aligns the Union’s development policy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For more information, go here. 

IPPF Ethiopia
news_item

| 23 October 2019

Last chance to meet EU commitments under the current multi-annual budget

The European Parliament has today adopted its first reading on the EU 2020 budget. MEPs voted in favour of a €2,7 billion increase of the EU’s budget compared to the Commission’s proposal: an outright rejection of the Council’s proposed cuts.  A budget increase that could save lives and improve health and wellbeing  Dubbed as the last chance for the Union to meet key political commitments during this financial period, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Parliament’s call for an ambitious budget for the last year of the current MFF is welcome news. With the support of the Committees on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and Development, the Parliament called for an increase of €10 million in commitment to the budget line on human development compared to the Commission’s proposal. This increase will finance projects on education, tackling diseases, gender equality and access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SHRH), focusing directly on the needs and rights of people in developing countries. In addition, the budget line on ‘civil society in development’ would be restored and the one on humanitarian aid would increase by €50 million.  Eef Wuyts, Director of European and International Affairs at IPPF EN, said: “The Human Development line is key to effectively ensuring people can access healthcare and education, and to guarantee women and girls’ access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.’’  But this additional investment falls short of commitments “While this proposed increase is a step in the right direction, it falls short of the EU’s commitment to dedicate at least 20% of its total Official Development Assistance to human development and social inclusion. We urge the Council not to cut this budget line any further’’, said Cécile Vernant, Head of the EU Office at DSW.  “Europe has a responsibility to be a global leader on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. The upcoming Nairobi Summit in November 2019 will be another important opportunity for the EU to make further concrete commitments – including financial ones – to accelerate progress to fully implement the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action’’, said Neil Datta, Secretary at EPF. Investing in human development, in areas such as health and SRHR is key to empowering women and achieving gender equality. It is crucial that Member States support the €10 million increase proposed by the European Parliament to ensure access to healthcare and education for all.  END For more information, contact Ffion Storer Jones, Communications Officer at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)’s EU office on [email protected] or +32 2 504 90 62. Notes: DSW is a global development organisation that focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history. We are committed to creating demand for and access to health information, services, supplies, and economic empowerment for youth. We achieve this by engaging in advocacy, capacity development, and reproductive health initiatives so that young people are empowered to lead healthy and self-determined lives. DSW also advocates for investment in research and innovation to fight poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases. For more information, visit www.dsw.org/en The International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF EN and our partners work in over 40 countries across Europe and Central Asia to empower everyone, especially the most socially excluded, to live with dignity and to have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This access is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in all countries. For more information, visit https://www.ippfen.org/  The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) is Europe’s only parliamentary network focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights. EPF serves as a platform for cooperation and coordination for its 33 all-party groups in Parliaments throughout Europe to promote and defend the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals, to defend and advance gender equality and equity, women’s empowerment, and to eliminate all forms of discrimination, coercion and violence against women and girls worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.epfweb.org/ The European Consensus on Development is a shared vision and framework for action for development cooperation for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It is a blueprint which aligns the Union’s development policy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For more information, go here. 

EWAG 2018
news item

| 01 October 2018

The European Week of Action of Girls is back!

The European Week of Action of Girls (EWAG) is a week-long programme of events and activities, based around the International Day of the Girl Child, on Thursday 11th October. Now in its sixth year EWAG asks the EU to better protect and champion the rights of girls, particularly through its external action. Organised by a coalition of civil society organisations, and supported by the European Institutions and UN Agencies, the 2018 European Week of Action for Girls takes place from 8 – 12 October. The European Week of Action for Girls 2018 will give girls the opportunity to talk to EU decision-makers and help shape a better world for all girls. They will address EU leaders on what needs to be done to overcome the barriers they face and to ensure their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. This year, EWAG will particularly focus on girls’ right to education, combatting violence, economic empowerment and to participation in decision-making. Background paper. Advocacy paper. Video interview following EWAG. The week in photos.

EWAG 2018
news_item

| 01 October 2018

The European Week of Action of Girls is back!

The European Week of Action of Girls (EWAG) is a week-long programme of events and activities, based around the International Day of the Girl Child, on Thursday 11th October. Now in its sixth year EWAG asks the EU to better protect and champion the rights of girls, particularly through its external action. Organised by a coalition of civil society organisations, and supported by the European Institutions and UN Agencies, the 2018 European Week of Action for Girls takes place from 8 – 12 October. The European Week of Action for Girls 2018 will give girls the opportunity to talk to EU decision-makers and help shape a better world for all girls. They will address EU leaders on what needs to be done to overcome the barriers they face and to ensure their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. This year, EWAG will particularly focus on girls’ right to education, combatting violence, economic empowerment and to participation in decision-making. Background paper. Advocacy paper. Video interview following EWAG. The week in photos.

IPPF/Laura Lewis/UK
news item

| 04 May 2018

Call on the EU to reflect gender equality in the next multiannual budget

This week the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) which makes no reference to gender equality. CSOs come together to call on the European Parliament and on Member States to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in the further development of the post-2020 EU budget.    Statement follows: "On Wednesday, the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). As the gender and development community we are deeply concerned that gender equality is not addressed as a key political priority. We question to what extent the external relations budget, increased to 10% of the MFF, will serve the primary long-term objective of EU’s development cooperation which remains the eradication of poverty.   The Communication itself makes no reference to gender equality. Its annex makes only two cursory references to gender mainstreaming (including one regarding the new Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument – Heading VI), without giving any more details as to how this should be undertaken under the next MFF. The principles of “prosperity, sustainability and solidarity” should serve as a guide, ensuring that the next MFF is fair and inclusive for all, including women and girls.   If the EU really wants to establish ‘a modern, focused EU budget’, this cannot be done without the sound and comprehensive inclusion of a gender perspective that is key to enable better and more evidence-based decision-making, which in turn contributes to ensuring an effective use of public funds and EU added value in its external action. Notably, a gender responsive budget facilitates the attainment of modern standards of public financial management such as performance orientation, transparency, accountability, and participation.   While acknowledging Europe’s future long-term funding debate comes in at a challenging and complex political environment, the EU also needs to match it with the ambitions and commitments made to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring no one is left behind. Since the EU has played a key role in advancing the global agenda for gender equality through various policies and initiatives, it must now operationalize this political leadership to guarantee its new Heading VI has a transformative and positive impact in the lives of women and girls. The new European Consensus on Development, which is acknowledged by the European Commission as a cornerstone of the next MFF when it comes to external action, reiterates this commitment. This will not become a reality without specific targets, investments in all development sectors, the generation of sector-specific, gender-disaggregated data, and an understanding of the complexity of multiple discriminations. Consistent support for gender equality will have a multiplier effect and ensure a sustainable, positive impact of EU actions with partner countries. As it currently stands, gender equality will likely be reduced to a minimum in the implementation of the Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument. We, therefore, call on the European Parliament and the Member States, in the further elaboration of the future EU budget, to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. Lifting women and girls out of poverty helps lift whole families, communities and countries out of poverty and is therefore key to ensuring sustainable, inclusive economic growth." Signed by IPPF EN, Care International, World Vision, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, ONE, Plan International, European Women's Lobby, DSW, WIDE+, European Region World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

IPPF/Laura Lewis/UK
news_item

| 04 May 2018

Call on the EU to reflect gender equality in the next multiannual budget

This week the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) which makes no reference to gender equality. CSOs come together to call on the European Parliament and on Member States to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in the further development of the post-2020 EU budget.    Statement follows: "On Wednesday, the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). As the gender and development community we are deeply concerned that gender equality is not addressed as a key political priority. We question to what extent the external relations budget, increased to 10% of the MFF, will serve the primary long-term objective of EU’s development cooperation which remains the eradication of poverty.   The Communication itself makes no reference to gender equality. Its annex makes only two cursory references to gender mainstreaming (including one regarding the new Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument – Heading VI), without giving any more details as to how this should be undertaken under the next MFF. The principles of “prosperity, sustainability and solidarity” should serve as a guide, ensuring that the next MFF is fair and inclusive for all, including women and girls.   If the EU really wants to establish ‘a modern, focused EU budget’, this cannot be done without the sound and comprehensive inclusion of a gender perspective that is key to enable better and more evidence-based decision-making, which in turn contributes to ensuring an effective use of public funds and EU added value in its external action. Notably, a gender responsive budget facilitates the attainment of modern standards of public financial management such as performance orientation, transparency, accountability, and participation.   While acknowledging Europe’s future long-term funding debate comes in at a challenging and complex political environment, the EU also needs to match it with the ambitions and commitments made to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring no one is left behind. Since the EU has played a key role in advancing the global agenda for gender equality through various policies and initiatives, it must now operationalize this political leadership to guarantee its new Heading VI has a transformative and positive impact in the lives of women and girls. The new European Consensus on Development, which is acknowledged by the European Commission as a cornerstone of the next MFF when it comes to external action, reiterates this commitment. This will not become a reality without specific targets, investments in all development sectors, the generation of sector-specific, gender-disaggregated data, and an understanding of the complexity of multiple discriminations. Consistent support for gender equality will have a multiplier effect and ensure a sustainable, positive impact of EU actions with partner countries. As it currently stands, gender equality will likely be reduced to a minimum in the implementation of the Neighbourhood, International and Development Cooperation Instrument. We, therefore, call on the European Parliament and the Member States, in the further elaboration of the future EU budget, to safeguard the promotion and protection of gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. Lifting women and girls out of poverty helps lift whole families, communities and countries out of poverty and is therefore key to ensuring sustainable, inclusive economic growth." Signed by IPPF EN, Care International, World Vision, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, ONE, Plan International, European Women's Lobby, DSW, WIDE+, European Region World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

#BeyondBorders Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health
news item

| 03 April 2017

Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Matter of Life and Death

Conflict for too many women is synonymous with rape and violence. It also means sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal morbidity or death. Sexual and reproductive health is never considered to be as important as food or security, yet for many women and girls, accessing these services can mean the difference between life and death. Many refugee women don’t even report rape; not only is the reporting process lengthy, slowing down their journey, but often the violence is perpetrated by police. An unprecedented number of women and adolescent girls are crossing into the European Union daily, with the numbers only set to rise. As crises intensify the need for SRH services increases exponentially, yet it continues to be neglected by key humanitarian responders. Most countries do not even have an emergency response strategy in place to deal with crises, let alone one that includes SRH. If you don’t have an enabling environment in a peaceful situation, how can you respond to SRH needs in an emergency? Integrated services Effective emergency response strategies require capacity development, multistakeholder coordination, improved availability of resources — including supplies — and most importantly, funding. Budget for SRH services in humanitarian crises falls a long way short of what is needed to save lives, and increased investment, prior to and during an emergency, can effectively mitigate the impact of future crises. A set of essential SRH services should be provided as soon as a humanitarian situation arises, including effective coordination, prevention of sexual violence, reduction of sexually transmitted infections, prevention of maternal and infant mortality, and the integration of comprehensive SRH services into primary health care. The occasional provision of dignity kits with items such as sanitary pads and soap, although welcome, are in no means sufficient to address the needs of refugee women. Condoms or any other form of contraception are not included. Priority on partnerships To tackle these critical issues and assist countries in preparing for a potential crisis, International Planned Parenthood European Network and United Nations Population Fund (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) developed the Minimum Initial Service Package readiness assessment tool. This looks at whether a country is able to effectively respond to SRH in an emergency and what medical structures are already in place. This enables governments, U.N. agencies, and civil society organizations to respond effectively to the needs of refugee women. Continuous migration means that responses must also be quick and adaptive. Although most of the response is implemented by CSOs on the ground, partnerships are crucial, and priority areas should be developed in conjunction with governments. Governments have a duty to respond effectively and must be sensitized to the issues refugee women face. The prolific instances of gender-based violence amongst refugee populations should make SRH a top priority when it comes to emergency response strategies, not an afterthought. For this, the MISP readiness assessment tool guides responders on the following key issues: how to implement and prioritize effective SRH to a population constantly on the move; and how to tackle gender-based violence when women are only there for a maximum of 72 hours. Serving mobile populations IPPF EN member association HERA, the Health Education and Research Association in Macedonia, is currently able to provide immediate gynecological services to refugee women and counseling on gender-based violence. This is only possible because HERA and partners began to prepare for SRH needs in a crisis as part of a country team in 2012, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and other key actors. This has proved to be vital as more than 650,000 refugees have entered Macedonia so far; up to 50 percent of whom are women. Yet the provision of SRH services is still critically low. HERA is the only responder currently providing mobile gynecological services at the transit camps. Many of the SRH services delivered at these mobile clinics are lifesaving, particularly for pregnant women. Undertaking these types of arduous journeys means safe delivery becomes almost impossible due to a lack of obstetric care. Malnutrition and epidemics only serve to increase the risk of pregnancy complications. In addition, the burden of time restrictions makes it incredibly difficult for women to receive the necessary medical treatment as they are only given 72 hours to transit the country, and typically only stay for four to six hours. HERA is also establishing standard operational procedures on how to combat gender-based violence in such a short time frame and provide support for them both medically and psychologically. However, coordinated reporting on gender-based violence at transit camps is extremely challenging as most refugees are unregistered. Scale up efforts Poor response systems and EU member states’ willingness to send refugees back to an environment where they are at increased risk of death and violence are indicative of collective amnesia on pledges to aid refugees in crisis. Only 12 EU member states have ratified the Istanbul Convention guaranteeing the protection of women, regardless of their status. A lack of policy cohesion and compliance with international humanitarian laws has resulted in huge implementation gaps. Member states need to scale up efforts in responding to humanitarian emergencies to prevent gender-based violence, improve the provision of essential SRH services to enable the protection and empowerment of vulnerable women and girls. SRH is a human right and in denying these services, we are denying women and girls of their basic human rights. By Dearbhla Crosse, Communications Advisor, IPPF EN and Nesrine Talbi, Programme Advisor, IPPF EN Click to read the article published in Devex as part of the Beyond Borders Conversation

#BeyondBorders Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health
news_item

| 07 March 2016

Emergency Response to Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Matter of Life and Death

Conflict for too many women is synonymous with rape and violence. It also means sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal morbidity or death. Sexual and reproductive health is never considered to be as important as food or security, yet for many women and girls, accessing these services can mean the difference between life and death. Many refugee women don’t even report rape; not only is the reporting process lengthy, slowing down their journey, but often the violence is perpetrated by police. An unprecedented number of women and adolescent girls are crossing into the European Union daily, with the numbers only set to rise. As crises intensify the need for SRH services increases exponentially, yet it continues to be neglected by key humanitarian responders. Most countries do not even have an emergency response strategy in place to deal with crises, let alone one that includes SRH. If you don’t have an enabling environment in a peaceful situation, how can you respond to SRH needs in an emergency? Integrated services Effective emergency response strategies require capacity development, multistakeholder coordination, improved availability of resources — including supplies — and most importantly, funding. Budget for SRH services in humanitarian crises falls a long way short of what is needed to save lives, and increased investment, prior to and during an emergency, can effectively mitigate the impact of future crises. A set of essential SRH services should be provided as soon as a humanitarian situation arises, including effective coordination, prevention of sexual violence, reduction of sexually transmitted infections, prevention of maternal and infant mortality, and the integration of comprehensive SRH services into primary health care. The occasional provision of dignity kits with items such as sanitary pads and soap, although welcome, are in no means sufficient to address the needs of refugee women. Condoms or any other form of contraception are not included. Priority on partnerships To tackle these critical issues and assist countries in preparing for a potential crisis, International Planned Parenthood European Network and United Nations Population Fund (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) developed the Minimum Initial Service Package readiness assessment tool. This looks at whether a country is able to effectively respond to SRH in an emergency and what medical structures are already in place. This enables governments, U.N. agencies, and civil society organizations to respond effectively to the needs of refugee women. Continuous migration means that responses must also be quick and adaptive. Although most of the response is implemented by CSOs on the ground, partnerships are crucial, and priority areas should be developed in conjunction with governments. Governments have a duty to respond effectively and must be sensitized to the issues refugee women face. The prolific instances of gender-based violence amongst refugee populations should make SRH a top priority when it comes to emergency response strategies, not an afterthought. For this, the MISP readiness assessment tool guides responders on the following key issues: how to implement and prioritize effective SRH to a population constantly on the move; and how to tackle gender-based violence when women are only there for a maximum of 72 hours. Serving mobile populations IPPF EN member association HERA, the Health Education and Research Association in Macedonia, is currently able to provide immediate gynecological services to refugee women and counseling on gender-based violence. This is only possible because HERA and partners began to prepare for SRH needs in a crisis as part of a country team in 2012, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and other key actors. This has proved to be vital as more than 650,000 refugees have entered Macedonia so far; up to 50 percent of whom are women. Yet the provision of SRH services is still critically low. HERA is the only responder currently providing mobile gynecological services at the transit camps. Many of the SRH services delivered at these mobile clinics are lifesaving, particularly for pregnant women. Undertaking these types of arduous journeys means safe delivery becomes almost impossible due to a lack of obstetric care. Malnutrition and epidemics only serve to increase the risk of pregnancy complications. In addition, the burden of time restrictions makes it incredibly difficult for women to receive the necessary medical treatment as they are only given 72 hours to transit the country, and typically only stay for four to six hours. HERA is also establishing standard operational procedures on how to combat gender-based violence in such a short time frame and provide support for them both medically and psychologically. However, coordinated reporting on gender-based violence at transit camps is extremely challenging as most refugees are unregistered. Scale up efforts Poor response systems and EU member states’ willingness to send refugees back to an environment where they are at increased risk of death and violence are indicative of collective amnesia on pledges to aid refugees in crisis. Only 12 EU member states have ratified the Istanbul Convention guaranteeing the protection of women, regardless of their status. A lack of policy cohesion and compliance with international humanitarian laws has resulted in huge implementation gaps. Member states need to scale up efforts in responding to humanitarian emergencies to prevent gender-based violence, improve the provision of essential SRH services to enable the protection and empowerment of vulnerable women and girls. SRH is a human right and in denying these services, we are denying women and girls of their basic human rights. By Dearbhla Crosse, Communications Advisor, IPPF EN and Nesrine Talbi, Programme Advisor, IPPF EN Click to read the article published in Devex as part of the Beyond Borders Conversation

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March.
news item

| 08 March 2015

IWD 2015 - Gender equality cannot be achieved without sexual and reproductive health and rights

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March. It is estimated that two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty are women and that women make up 60 per cent of the 572 million working poor in the world. “It is time we tackled the harmful discrimination that prevents women and girls from fulfilling their potential,” said Vicky Claeys, IPPF EN Regional Director. Many people believe that European societies are modern and progressive when it comes to women’s rights. But patriarchal, traditional and religious influences still have a strong grip over the everyday lives of women and girls in many European countries. A strong conservative wind is currently blowing through many European and Central Asian countries and even through the EU and European institutions, opposing progress and challenging the imperfect but hard-won battles on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The EU and the Council of Europe must play as strong a role as possible in defending and strengthening the fundamental rights of women and girls.  Respecting sexual and reproductive health and rights is a pre-condition for their freedom and independence. “Supportive national policies and greater investment  in this area are needed not only to support, the health of women and girls, but also to enable them to participate across social, economic and political life.” Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized in the next set of global development goals, the post-2015 framework, which will be decided in the next few months. Vicky Claeys added: “There are huge challenges to achieving gender equality. Society’s expectations for girls and women can limit their opportunities across social, economic and political life. “This is both a national and global agenda that cannot be ignored. To stamp out gender inequality and make sure that women and girls can realize their sexual and reproductive rights, we need both the political will for change and targeted financial support.” IPPF’s new report , ‘Sexual and reproductive health and rights – the key to gender equality and women’s empowerment’, which will be launched on March 16th at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, sets out specific recommendations to governments and to United Nations agencies to make sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality, including:   Making sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality Sustaining the success of sexual and reproductive health interventions Engaging men and boys as partners in gender transformative change Eliminating sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls Building capacity for women to participate in political and public life   Notes to editors:   Sexual and reproductive health and rights- the key to gender equality and empowerment- new landmark report will be launched at the United Nations at the Commission on the Status of Women 16th March

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March.
news_item

| 08 March 2015

IWD 2015 - Gender equality cannot be achieved without sexual and reproductive health and rights

Gender equality will only be achieved in Europe and Central Asia when women and girls are able to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)  said to mark International Women's Day on 8 March. It is estimated that two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty are women and that women make up 60 per cent of the 572 million working poor in the world. “It is time we tackled the harmful discrimination that prevents women and girls from fulfilling their potential,” said Vicky Claeys, IPPF EN Regional Director. Many people believe that European societies are modern and progressive when it comes to women’s rights. But patriarchal, traditional and religious influences still have a strong grip over the everyday lives of women and girls in many European countries. A strong conservative wind is currently blowing through many European and Central Asian countries and even through the EU and European institutions, opposing progress and challenging the imperfect but hard-won battles on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The EU and the Council of Europe must play as strong a role as possible in defending and strengthening the fundamental rights of women and girls.  Respecting sexual and reproductive health and rights is a pre-condition for their freedom and independence. “Supportive national policies and greater investment  in this area are needed not only to support, the health of women and girls, but also to enable them to participate across social, economic and political life.” Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized in the next set of global development goals, the post-2015 framework, which will be decided in the next few months. Vicky Claeys added: “There are huge challenges to achieving gender equality. Society’s expectations for girls and women can limit their opportunities across social, economic and political life. “This is both a national and global agenda that cannot be ignored. To stamp out gender inequality and make sure that women and girls can realize their sexual and reproductive rights, we need both the political will for change and targeted financial support.” IPPF’s new report , ‘Sexual and reproductive health and rights – the key to gender equality and women’s empowerment’, which will be launched on March 16th at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, sets out specific recommendations to governments and to United Nations agencies to make sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality, including:   Making sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality a reality Sustaining the success of sexual and reproductive health interventions Engaging men and boys as partners in gender transformative change Eliminating sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls Building capacity for women to participate in political and public life   Notes to editors:   Sexual and reproductive health and rights- the key to gender equality and empowerment- new landmark report will be launched at the United Nations at the Commission on the Status of Women 16th March

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence
news item

| 08 December 2017

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence

The Y-SAV project led by Rutgers WPF, the Dutch IPPF member, is an excellent example of how a strong centre of expertise on sexual and reproductive health and rights can promote change on all levels. From in-depth research to effective policy-making and on-ground activities Y-SAV’s work stands out when it comes to improving the lives of young Europeans who counter sexual violence. As you read this, research and country reports are translated into concrete actions by policy makers, and around Europe, young advocates speak out for gender equality and against sexual violence. Are we failing to address the reality and the real needs of young people? This is the question that alarmed Rutgers WPF, as study after study provided similar results: sexual aggression and victimization is highly prevalent among young Europeans. In a number of EU countries, a third to half of reported sexual assault cases are of young people, primarily young women – meaning that young people's sexual health and sexual rights are strongly endangered. These alarming findings led to the initiation of Y-SAV, a three-year project on Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization co-funded by the European Union. Since its introduction, Y-SAV has been tackling youth sexual aggression and victimization on several fronts. This starts with making research comparable across countries and bringing scientists, policy makers and health and education experts together. Young advocates are taking the research findings to a concrete level, discussing them with policy makers and their peers and providing peer-to-peer education. The goal is to see a Europe where every level of action aims at the best possible response to sexual aggression experienced by youth. Gosia’s story from Poland: Young activists combat sexual aggression and victimization “During the summer of 2013, Y-SAV supported two youth led activities: YouAct, which is a group of young European sexual rights advocates, and Ponton, our project in Poland. The name Ponton comes from our volunteer peer educator group, Ponton Group of Sex Educators. We wanted to encourage young people to speak out against Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (YSAV). We felt frustrated as in Poland, over 70% of teenagers have experienced some kind of victimization, but the government has not taken concrete measures to prevent this phenomenon. The main goal of our project was to engage young people so that action would be taken by young people for young people. We asked an all-girl hip hop group Rymy w Sercu to create a song about sexual violence to spread the message in a way that would get to young people – and they did an amazing job! You can see their video ‘Take a stand’ here. (Remember to turn on ‘captions’ for subtitles!) Our school workshops inspired young people to come together to rally against sexual violence. They created slogans, photos and a website. It was great to see students being so active. Media and culture fuel negative gender stereotypes and influence the way sexuality and intimate relationships are seen. We need comprehensive sexuality education to fight those stereotypes and convey accurate information. As one of the participants said, “This was the first time someone talked with us about sexual violence.” “I think that if in every school every student could participate in such workshops, more people like me would open up to discussions about sexuality - the issue is an essential part of every human being.”

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence
news_item

| 28 February 2014

Y-SAV envisions a Europe free from sexual violence

The Y-SAV project led by Rutgers WPF, the Dutch IPPF member, is an excellent example of how a strong centre of expertise on sexual and reproductive health and rights can promote change on all levels. From in-depth research to effective policy-making and on-ground activities Y-SAV’s work stands out when it comes to improving the lives of young Europeans who counter sexual violence. As you read this, research and country reports are translated into concrete actions by policy makers, and around Europe, young advocates speak out for gender equality and against sexual violence. Are we failing to address the reality and the real needs of young people? This is the question that alarmed Rutgers WPF, as study after study provided similar results: sexual aggression and victimization is highly prevalent among young Europeans. In a number of EU countries, a third to half of reported sexual assault cases are of young people, primarily young women – meaning that young people's sexual health and sexual rights are strongly endangered. These alarming findings led to the initiation of Y-SAV, a three-year project on Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization co-funded by the European Union. Since its introduction, Y-SAV has been tackling youth sexual aggression and victimization on several fronts. This starts with making research comparable across countries and bringing scientists, policy makers and health and education experts together. Young advocates are taking the research findings to a concrete level, discussing them with policy makers and their peers and providing peer-to-peer education. The goal is to see a Europe where every level of action aims at the best possible response to sexual aggression experienced by youth. Gosia’s story from Poland: Young activists combat sexual aggression and victimization “During the summer of 2013, Y-SAV supported two youth led activities: YouAct, which is a group of young European sexual rights advocates, and Ponton, our project in Poland. The name Ponton comes from our volunteer peer educator group, Ponton Group of Sex Educators. We wanted to encourage young people to speak out against Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (YSAV). We felt frustrated as in Poland, over 70% of teenagers have experienced some kind of victimization, but the government has not taken concrete measures to prevent this phenomenon. The main goal of our project was to engage young people so that action would be taken by young people for young people. We asked an all-girl hip hop group Rymy w Sercu to create a song about sexual violence to spread the message in a way that would get to young people – and they did an amazing job! You can see their video ‘Take a stand’ here. (Remember to turn on ‘captions’ for subtitles!) Our school workshops inspired young people to come together to rally against sexual violence. They created slogans, photos and a website. It was great to see students being so active. Media and culture fuel negative gender stereotypes and influence the way sexuality and intimate relationships are seen. We need comprehensive sexuality education to fight those stereotypes and convey accurate information. As one of the participants said, “This was the first time someone talked with us about sexual violence.” “I think that if in every school every student could participate in such workshops, more people like me would open up to discussions about sexuality - the issue is an essential part of every human being.”