Voices of the 17th International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development

Communicating and Cooperating to Ensure Sexual and
Reproductive Health Services For All

We asked delegates what they learned from the two-day dialogue and which messages they will take home with them.

Marevic Parcon - International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development

Marevic Parcon

Executive Director, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, Philippines

"One thing I’ll bring home is the huge need for an accountability mechanism.  We can’t talk about UHC and the integration of SRHR without even looking into the accountability mechanism at a national level. People have to be at the centre of these programmes. And it has to be based on the actual needs of the community - especially the most marginalised."

Lemlem Degafu - International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development

Lemlem Degafu

Healthcare Technology Management Officer, Ethiopian Ministry of Health

"I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to hear from different countries how they are approaching the challenges of Universal Health Coverage and increasing accessibility. In a workshop on Argentina, they described how they don’t wait for the government to implement its approach to health coverage, they ask the women’s movement, they involve young people, so they can demand their rights. That’s an example we should all learn from. You shouldn’t keep women, young people, vulnerable groups away from the decision-making process."

Archibald Adams - International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development

Archibald Adams

Advocacy Lead for the Planned Parenthood Association, Ghana

"The one thing that stands out for me here is the space that has been created for knowledge sharing. In Ghana, we usually think for the people, without finding out from them whether they actually need what we’re planning for them. So, for me the take-home is, it’s good to go down to the beneficiaries and find out if they actually need this and if they don’t, we must revise our plans to provide what they need and not what we think they need."

Lewis Emmerton - International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development

Lewis Emmerton

Advocacy Coordinator at CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, Amsterdam, Netherlands

"Our organisation works on supporting the most marginalised young people who are often left out of health systems…so it’s been really helpful to hear about best practices, how people are trying to get around some of the societal stigma barriers. Often in the SRHR space, you’re speaking to the converted and the ideas aren’t fresh and new, but here it’s become obvious how much work there is left to do. Given the current political backlash (against human rights), we need to educate the health sectors about why we need to respect the rights of all people. It’s really exciting and I’ve learned a lot!"

Salen Kambinda - International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development

Salen Kambinda

Director, Positive Vibes Trust, Namibia

"What struck me most here is the commitment around SRHR and UHC. UHC is still a very new concept in our part of the world. So, for me, it’s about the strengthening of the relationship with government and my commitment is really the accountability and monitoring of UHC and how our SRHR agenda moves along with UHC. We have an opportunity now with the mid-term review of our national strategy ...to make sure that minority populations are included within the national strategy framework."