Tuesday, April 11, 2017
New Zealand’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goals 3 and 5, health and gender, were the focus of a meeting at Parliament late last week.
The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) hosted the meeting on Friday 7 April.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are global goals and a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 goals and 169 targets set out a universal agenda to achieve sustainable development globally by 2030 with a commitment to leaving no one behind.
The key focus of the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development Sustainable Development Goals Forum was on the cross cutting themes of health and gender.
NZPPD members heard from representatives from the New Zealand Treasury, Family Planning New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Hui E!
These agencies outlined their role in advancing the SDGs and the importance of SDG 3 (health and wellbeing) and SDG 5 (gender equality) for achieving all 17 goals.
Charlotte Darlow, Divisional Manager of the Pacific Regional Division from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade described the strong connections between the New Zealand Aid Programme’s strategic plan and the SDGs. She also highlighted the importance of SDG 5 for the work of the Aid Programme.
“The gender equality goal is incredibly important and has the potential to be the most transformational of the goals. At MFAT we’re looking at how we consider gender right at the beginning of development initiatives to give us better results down the track”, said Ms Darlow.
Anaru Fraser, General Manager for Hui E! highlighted the role of civil society in the implementation of the goals.
“The SDGs are a state government agreement, but as civil society we also have a moral responsibility to advancing the SDGs. We can’t sit to the side, we need to support our government colleagues and add value through our connections with our communities,” said Mr Fraser.
NZPPD recognises that universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights including family planning is central for achieving these global goals in New Zealand and the Pacific.
“If we approach the SDGs in silos, we’re not going to benefit from the framework of the goals. A holistic approach is essential - sexual and reproductive health is inseparable from the other goals,” said NZPPD member Catherine Delahunty.
Dr Christine Roke, National Medical Advisor at Family Planning, discussed some of the challenges to achieving the sexual and reproductive health targets.
“There are significant inequalities in sexual and reproductive health outcomes in New Zealand, particularly for Māori. Although we’ve seen improvements, New Zealand still has high rates of teenage pregnancy as well as high and inequitable rates of sexually transmissible infections.”
She emphasised the importance articulated within the SDGS of “leaving no-one behind” and described Family Planning’s vision of Whakamanahia – equity, access, choice.
NZPPD Chair Joanne Hayes said, "the SDG presentations were very informative raising much interest for further exploration by the NZPPD group. Concern over funding cuts to various agencies was also expressed by the Group."
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