February 2010's Edition of
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Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Rallies for Beijing 15
In March 2010, during the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), government representatives, UN officials and leading NGOs will gather in New York City to recommit themselves to the Beijing Platform for Action that was adopted in 1995. The Beijing platform called for major advances in women's human rights, sexual and reproductive health, and gender equality. Delegates are expected to emphasize the critical importance of reducing unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths, and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The New Population Bomb
In the January/February edition of Foreign Affairs, Jack Goldstone has a cover story [The New Population Bomb], which warns that population growth and other population trends pose a significant challenge to efforts to end global hunger and eliminate severe poverty. He suggests, among other things, that high food prices will pose a special challenge to the world's urban and the international relief agencies working to end global hunger. Goldstone also warns that countries "with younger populations are especially prone to civil unrest and are less able to create or sustain democratic institutions."
UN Observes International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM
In recent years, world media has focused increased attention on the problem of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), a practice that intentionally alters or injures female genital organs for non-medical reasons, and exposes girls and women to needless pain and serious health risks. FGM/C is mostly performed on girls between infancy and age 15, and is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The U.N. has set 2015 as a target date for eliminating the practice, and the U.N. this year designated February 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. While FGM/C is prevalent in many developing countries, it affects the lives of 3 million girls annually in Africa alone. According to the World Health Organization there is no health benefit to FGM/C. In the short term it can cause severe pain, shock, bleeding, and tetanus, and in the longer term it can lead to cysts, recurring bladder infections, infertility, and increased risk of complications in childbirth.
International Violence Against Women Act Introduced
February 4, 2010 a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (S 2982, HR 4594) into the House and Senate. This landmark bipartisan legislation makes combating violence against women and girls a strategic imperative for the United States government. IVAWA creates new institutional authorities, responsibilities, and funding to fight the scourge of violence against women and girls around the globe. Sen. John Kerry, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the lead sponsor.
Women Deliver Comes to Washington in June of 2010
Women Deliver 2010, a global conference, is coming to Washington DC. The theme of the conference, which is being held June 7-9, 2010, is: "Delivering solutions for girls and women." Launched at a groundbreaking conference in 2007, Women Deliver works globally to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling Millennium Development Goal 5 - to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health. The initiative builds on commitments, partnerships, and networks mobilized at the 2007 conference. This year's conference will draw upwards of 2000 people, including parliamentarians from around the world, to focus on political, economic, social/cultural, and technological approaches to achieving MDG5. Sponsors are hoping to deliver two messages: 1) the MDGs will not be achieved without investing in women; and 2) the world needs to commit an additional $10 billion annually by 2010 and $20 billion by 2015 to reach the MDG5 goals.
IPPF/WHR Responds to Haitian Crisis
Humanitarian disasters like the earthquake that struck Haiti in January typically heighten the need for family planning and reproductive health services. In response to the needs of Haiti, the International Planned Parenthood Federation announced that is Western Hemisphere Region (WHR) and PROFAMIL, its Member Association in Haiti, were working to integrate family planning into the ongoing emergency relief efforts. PROFAMIL's clinics in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel were destroyed, but staff and community health promoters are organizing mobile health units to bring basic health care, obstetric care, family planning and HIV prevention services to tent cities and temporary shelters.