- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (UNCSD) 2012
INPUTS OF TAKINGITGLOBAL
Population dynamics, education and sustainable development are linked. It is important to reaffirm role of sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, poverty, transportation and food systems while achieving sustainable development. This means ensuring that policies and programmes that aim to achieve sustainable development should also promote the human rights of all people to the highest attainable standard of sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing, particularly for women, young people and those living in poverty.
Young people are the present and the future. There are over 1.8 billion people aged 10-24 years in the world today, the majority of whom live in developing countries. In most developing countries, this generation of young people comprises more than a third of their countryˇ¦s population. In 67 developing countries, young people aged 10-24 constitute more than 40% of the adult population above 10 years of age. Young people are the most significant demographic group today and will remain so for the coming decades.
Policies should take into account the drivers of population growth. As the world reaches 7 billion, it is projected to grow to 9.3 billion by 2050. In the context of a green economy, there is an urgent need for countries to incorporate policies and programmes that take these dynamics into account and effectively respond to the shifting sources of population growth, especially through access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and contraceptives.
Access to sexual and reproductive health and rights addresses high fertility and sustainability. Globally, an estimated 215 million women want to use family planning methods and services, but do not have access to them. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health including family planning should be one the key interventions needed to achieve sustainable, low-carbon development. If governments and other donors fund sexual and reproductive health services and supplies, we can advance environmental sustainability while also promoting social justice, development and human rights.
Gender equality and access to health will slow down population momentum. Putting in place approaches to increase the age at marriage and enhancing adolescentsˇ¦ sexual and reproductive health, educational levels, and income-generating potential can have significant effects on population growth rates. Where girls are able stay in school until secondary school and are empowered to decide on matters related to their sexuality and reproduction, there is a significant observed effect in delaying child birth and increasing spacing.
HIV prevention amongst young people ensures a sustainable workforce. Governments must recognize that the response to HIV is both a human rights issue and also an economic necessity crucial to eradicating poverty.
Access to sexual and reproductive health services promotes adaptation. Young women's health and well-being, their ability to choose if or when to have children and their risk or early pregnancy is affected by their lack of access to safe and stigma free sexual and reproductive health services, contraception and comprehensive sexuality education. Such access helps build resistance among individuals and communities and should be incorporated as a part of policies to promote sustainable development and adaptation strategies for climate change.
In the context of the Green Economy, member states should:
- Recognize that sustainable development entails empowering young people, particularly the most marginalized, by investing in their education, health including sustainability, sexual and reproductive health, employment and leadership.
- Prioritize their full and effective implementation of these commitments through multi-sectoral programmes that link social justice, access to health, gender equality and low carbon living with environmental sustainability.
- Effectively educate and communicate the social and environmental costs unsustainable lifestyles with an emphasis on food, meat consumption, food distribution costs and sustainable transportation.
- Take into account population dynamics in policies and expand rights-based programmes that effectively respond to the shifting sources of population growth through promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Commit to achieve a society built upon gender equality which develops the capacities and empowerment of young people, particularly young women. Young women should be prioritized in the production and marketing of green technologies in the transition to a green economy, and there should be a focus on addressing the gendered impacts of climate change as a part of strategies to promote adaptation.
- Support gender-sensitive, age-appropriate, life-skills-based comprehensive sexuality education for young people both in and out of school based on international standards as a way to empower young people, promote gender equality, human rights, prevent HIV and increase use of sexual and reproductive health services.
- Expand and support young peopleˇ¦s choices and opportunities by ensuring and investing in access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services including family planning, particularly for marginalized adolescent girls and young women, those living with disabilities and in humanitarian situations.
- Reaffirm the goal of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, in line with the Declaration of Commitment on HIV (2001) and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS (2006).
- Embrace the vision of Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS Related Death and Zero Discrimination and support efforts to achieve the three Bold Results on HIV and Young People under the UNAIDS Strategy 2011-2015, namely, (1) Raising comprehensive knowledge to 80%, (2) Doubling condom use amongst young people and (3) Doubling HIV testing among young people - in order to reduce new HIV infections among young people by 30% by 2015.
- Support integrated approaches to sustainable development that build on peopleˇ¦s expressed needs, and strengthen community-based strategies, including through the meaningful participation of young people.
In the context of the Institutional Framework, member states should:
- Ensure the meaningful participation of young people in decision making processes, by putting in place enabling structures and supportive policies and through building the capacities of youth-led organizations.
- National development plans, poverty reduction strategies, sustainable development strategies, policies and programmes should be planned, implemented, monitored and evaluated in equal partnership with young people through a participatory approach.
- Renew a global focus upon resource management, and lifecycle accounting for products, supervised by an international body dependent on the United Nations, supported by an international fund and a sharing of knowledge. Establish a comprehensive international information and labeling systems to measure the hidden costs of global consumer products.
- Implement tax structures and incentives to promote sustainable behaviors and increase the costs of unsustainable living. Remove subsidies for extraction of fossil fuels, and instead economically promote global access renewable energy while investing and upgrading resource management and water treatment facilities. Increase protection to small farmer against the strong competition of bigger corporations.
- Young people and youth-led organizations should be empowered to hold their governments accountable for their commitments including through full transparency initiatives including monitoring budgets and participation in appropriate institutional mechanisms.