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African Heads of State and Government will join their counterparts in New York from 25th to 27th September 2015, to adopt the Post-2015 development agenda currently titled Transforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals in a landmark Summit that crowns several years of consultations and negotiations.

As advocates for the rights of women and girls in Africa, we noted with concern that during the negotiation phase several governments, including some African governments, expressed reservations on goals and targets related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The African continent has some of the most progressive and inclusive regional instruments on sexual and reproductive health and rights, adopted by all 54 member states of the African Union (AU). These include The Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2006) which aims to achieve universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services by 2015; The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) popularly known as ‘Maputo Protocol’ which contains explicit provisions on the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health and the Common Africa Position (CAP) developed through wide consultation of different African stakeholders and adopted by the African Heads of State and Government as its united position on the Post-2015 development agenda. Further information on the specific provisions of the above instruments are annexed to this Statement.

Under the leadership and mechanisms of the AU, these instruments have been implemented to various degrees in individual member states, with increasing emphasis on monitoring and accountability.

In the recent concluded African Union Summit in June 2015, convened under the theme “Year of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Africa Agenda 2063”, African Heads of State and Government, re-stated their commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights by resolving to “ensure that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights of African women are implemented and mutually accounted for in the existing commitments to women’s reproductive health and rights, as adopted by the African Heads of State in the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol) in 2003, and the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in 2006.”

Based on the regional commitments above and various national commitments at constitutional, legal and policy level, Africa has made commitments in line with the two key targets on SRHR in the Sustainable Development Goals, namely:

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes;

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

We therefore urge our Heads of State and Government to stand in solidarity with the millions of African women and girls affected by poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and explicitly support the SRHR targets 3.7 and 5.6 in the Post-2015 development agenda without any reservation.

We pledge our support to working with you to make these targets a reality.

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Statement Prepared by:-

SOAWR – Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (www.soawr.org)
A Coalition of 46 organizations drawn from 24 AU states to advance ratification, domestication and implementation of the AU Women’s Rights Protocol as read together with national, regional and international legal frameworks that advance the rights of girls and women in Africa. Equality Now’s Africa Regional Office serves as the SOAWR coalition secretariat and is committed to ending discrimination against girls and women. Contact on behalf of SOAWR, Kavinya Makau, kmakau@equalitynow.org and Naisola Likimani – nlikimani@gmail.com

FEMNET – African Women’s Development and Communication Network (www.femnet.org)
A women’s rights network of 503 African women’s rights organizations and individual gender advocates based in 43 African countries. Contact on behalf of FEMNET, Dinah Musindarwezo director@femnet.or.ke and/or Rachel Kagoiya: library@femnet.or.ke

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