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Pacific Parliamentarians in NZ

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

International News

Parliamentarians from five Pacific nations and the head of the world’s second largest NGO will meet in Wellington on 29 June to consider how to better involve boys and men in sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific.

Ministers and MPs from Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu will join with their New Zealand Parliamentary colleagues for an open hearing at Parliament.

Tewodros Melesse, Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), is attending and presenting to the one-day hearing which will function in much the same way as a Select Committee meeting.

The theme of the Open Hearing is Engaging Boys and Men in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

The Pacific Ministers and MPs are:

  • Hon Maere Tekanene, Kiribati Minister for Education 
  • Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Samoa Minister for Justice and Courts Administration 
  • Hon Dr Saia Ma’u Piukala, Tonga Minister for Health 
  • Governor Julie Soso, Papua New Guinea Member of Parliament 
  • Dr Puakena Boreham, Tuvalu Member of Parliament

The Open Hearing is being organised by our International Programmes unit which provides secretariat support for the cross-party New Zealand Parliamentarians Group on Population and Development (NZPPD).

The aim of the Opening Hearing is to better understand how and to what extent boys and men are engaged in SRHR in Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

The sexual and reproductive health needs of men, beyond their roles as women’s partners, have received relatively little attention by SRHR agencies. Whilst it is important to continue to support and promote SRHR for women, engaging men is also essential. Without actively involving men, universal access to SRHR will never be achieved.

“The sexual and reproductive health needs of men are just as important as the needs of women, as is engaging men in the discussions,” NZPPD chair Barbara Kuriger says.

Pacific Parliamentarians will be invited to sit alongside their NZPPD counterparts to listen to presentations from a wide range of experts in the field.

Presenters will include the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), IPPF, the Burnet Institute, Marie Stopes Papua New Guinea, the Tonga Family Health Association, the Kiribati Family Health Association, and a male youth representative from Kiribati. Te Puāwai Tapu and Family Planning will also present.

A report and recommendations from the Open Hearing will be published later this year and will be shared with Parliamentarians from all participating countries.

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