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SPEECH by Dr. Jennifer Butler, UNFPA Pacific Director & Representative

Declarations and Statement

Opening Remarks by

Dr. Jennifer Butler,

Director and Representative, UNFPA Pacific

 

Pacific Regional Sharing and Learning Meeting on Family Life Education Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Thursday, 7th October, 2021

 

 

[Salutations]

Minister for Women Youth & Social Affairs, Government of Kiribati; Honourable Martin Moreti

 

European Union Representative Mr. Silvio Lazzari,

 

Mr. Chris Golden, Director, Programmes and Operations IPPF Pacific

 

Senior government officials, Staff from Ministries/Departments of Education,

 

All the young people here and listening wherever you are

 

Civil society partners and our wonderful MC, Tura

 

Distinguished guests, and our valued regional partners across the Pacific. Mauri, Bula vinaka, Malo e lelei, Talofa lava, Iakwe (yuck-way), Gud morning. Warm Pasifika greetings to you all.

 

Almost one year ago, on the 3rd December 2020, we gathered in a similar setting to launch the International Technical and Programmatic Guidance on Out-of-School Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the Pacific. It was an exciting event.  And more importantly, it became the catalyst for changing the landscape of Comprehensive Sexuality Education/Family Life Education in the region. 

 

During this one-year journey, we have  seen heightened political interest, the establishment of CSE/FLE committees, an increase in dedicated human resources,  and the building of strategic partnerships with national level civil society partners to strengthen the operational environment for both in and out of school CSE/FLE.

 

  • Kiribati has significantly advanced building teacher competencies to deliver CSE/FLE according to international standards
  • Vanuatu and Samoa established new FLE multi-stakeholder committees.  
  • The Solomon Islands and Tonga have built strategic partnerships with civil society organisations to reach out of school young people,
  • And in Fiji, RMI and FSM Ministries and Departments of Education have demonstrated commitment, resilience and resolve in mobilizing support for CSE/FLE. 

 

The Pacific has worked with such agility and alacrity to ensure that two million young people have a future where they are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their sexuality and guaranteed well-being.

 

For that we applaud you.

 

As UNFPA, we are proud to be associated with this tremendous progress and believe that today’s meeting is only the start towards nurturing this momentum across the region.

 

We are also proud to be associated with the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative has provided the financial and political impetus which is critical in amplifying investments in CSE in the region. They understood the power of prevention and youth empowerment, and you are all contributing to its articulation.  

 

And we will do all we can, with Governments, partners, young people and United Nations sister agencies to advocate for the inclusion of CSE as a key priority area for young people, and a significant component of achieving the demographic youth dividend across the Pacific in the development of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023-2027.

 

Such longitudinal investments have changed the narrative on youth empowerment in the region.  Investment in CSE/FLE is about shifting systems, reshaping gendered social norms, youth empowerment, about ensuring rights and choices for all young people, and eliminating violence against women and girls.  It is not a time-bound project or programme. 

 

It is an absolute pleasure to see familiar faces here today.  It is important to use this time to reflect on what we have learned over the past year, where  and how we need to recalibrate, and what we need to amplify and replicate on our forward march, ensuring rights and choices for all young people across the Pacific, wherever they may be, whoever they may love, leaving no one behind.

 

On Monday 11th October, we will join the world in commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child under the theme “digital generation, our generation. I encourage you all to use this platform and explore the innovations that will help us all reach young people, especially adolescent girls, with CSE/FLE within the context of COVID19, and their evolving preference for digital platforms as sources of information.

 

UNFPA is grateful to work with all of you, and we are so appreciative of our partnerships with Governments across the region, with civil society and with the ICPD25 Youth Champions.  And we are so fortunate to work in close partnership with  IPPF SROP and Family Planning New South Wales (FPNSW).  We will continue to learn, to adapt, to advocate and to serve.

 

 

As I conclude, I must extend our deepest appreciation to the European Union for funding the Spotlight Initiative, as well as to DFAT (Australia) and MFAT (New Zealand) for their investment in sexual and reproductive health and rights, including Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

 

Vinaka vaka levu, malo aupito, tanku tumas, ko raba.

 

Full review

UNFPA Publication on Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC)

Publication

This is a collection of 18 good practices on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) documented and shared by UNFPA regional and country offices. Among the cases you will find here are for instance an excellent set of SSTC initiatives on the census. There is also an interesting case of determining the social returns of investment. Of course, there are many other cases in various areas of the UNFPA mandate.  

These good practices are the latest additions to the growing compendium of UNFPA documentation of SSTC initiatives.  Together, they are a reflection of the success of UNFPA’s instrumental role as facilitator of SSTC and of its capacity to leverage SSTC as a programme accelerator for results. They can also be used for advocacy, to inform programme design, and to find ideas for potential SSTC partners. The cumulative total of 63 documented SSTC practices can all be found in the South-South Galaxy, the UN system-wide SSTC platform. They are also linked to the UNFPA website for SSTC and the SSTC Community in myUNFPA. Please check them out and share them with your colleagues and partners. Equally important, please continue to document and share with us your SSTC success stories.  

Full review

End of Programme Review Report on the Upscaling Jadelle Rollout Programme in Solomon Islands

Situation Report

This report presents findings from the End of Programme Review of the Upscaling Jadelle Rollout (UJR) Programme implemented by UNFPA Pacific Sub regional Office (PSRO) in Solomon Islands, covering a period between mid-2016 through the end of 2019. This programme was bilaterally funded by the DFAT post in Solomon Islands. The report provides detailed review of the programme, particularly with regards to effectiveness, impact (positive and negative, primary and secondary, medium to long-term, direct or indirect and intended or unintended) and sustainability of the programme. It highlights key results, challenges and lessons learned as well as makes recommendations when implementing similar programmes in the future. 

Full review

DFAT: Transformative Agenda 2020 Annual Report

Annual Report

With an AUD $30 million investment by the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office (PSRO) seeks to reduce unmet need for family planning over a 51-month period (2018-2022) in six priority countries: Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Achieving this overall objective builds on three synergistic programme outcomes: increased and improved supply of integrated sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services, particularly for family planning; increased demand for integrated SRH information and services, particularly for family planning; and a more conducive and supportive environment for people to access and benefit from quality SRH, especially contraceptive choice.

This annual report covers activities under the programme from January to December 2020. It highlights major changes; key achievements, challenges and lessons learned; progress towards the results framework and management issues.

Full review

Out of School Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the Pacific

Publication

The importance of comprehensive sexuality education in improving the sexual and reproductive health of young people and reducing gender-based violence is well documented. Comprehensive, quality, rightsbased programmes have been demonstrated to support young people to develop self-esteem and crucial life skills; empower them to make informed decisions and thus reduce rates of sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies and sexual and gender-based violence. While many Pacific countries have taken great strides to provide sexuality education to young people in school, there is a lack of knowledge about the education that is provided to young people outside of school and access to quality, rights-based and gender sensitive comprehensive sexuality education is not universal across the Pacific. The Transformative Agenda, a programme funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through UNFPA, identified comprehensive sexuality education as the main strategy for increasing demand for integrated sexual and reproductive health information and services in order to reduce unmet need for family planning and ultimately transform the lives of adolescents and youth. As such, IPPF with support from UNFPA, conducted a mapping of sexuality education and related programmes delivered by various groups across Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. A survey with organisations delivering sexuality education was conducted to understand what is currently being delivered outside of the school setting. Additionally, through online surveys, a review of existing resources and focus groups conducted with young people across the Pacific, it was possible to identify the content and programming gaps in delivering comprehensive sexuality education. It was found that while a range of organisations are delivering some form of sexuality education to young people outside of school settings, the curricula delivered are not equipping young people with adequate knowledge and skills to inform their decision making and cope with everyday challenges related to sexual and reproductive health. Organisations reported significant gaps in their curricula while young people reported receiving incomplete information or missing certain topics entirely. It is crucial that young people are empowered to make informed decisions about their lives, by providing them with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence. IPPF and UNFPA are committed to supporting Pacific national Governments, civil society organisations and feminist movements to ensure that every young person has the skills, confidence and knowledge to successfully navigate the challenging transition to adulthood and realise their full potential, through collaboration with multiple and diverse stakeholders in the Pacific region.

Full review

SWOP 2021

State of the World Population 2021

State of World Population Report

Somewhere today at this moment…
…an adolescent girl is waking up. She’ll discover she is expected to undergo a rite of passage,
forever to be wounded by female genital mutilation.
…another girl is being told to get dressed because today will be her wedding day. She’s
scarcely 13 years of age.
…and a woman has been walking for a couple of hours to her village health centre to seek
contraception. When she arrives she’ll be sternly informed that there will be no prescription
without her husband’s consent.
All around the world, women and girls are not in control over their bodies and their lives.
Yet, women have a right to make their own decisions about their bodies.
Yet how many women can actually claim they have the power to exercise that right?
The new UNFPA State of World Population report shows that, in countries where we have data,
nearly half of women lack the power to make their own decisions…
...About whether to have sex with their partner.
...About whether to use contraception.
...And about whether to see a doctor.
Often these decisions are made or influenced by others, whether partners, families, societies or
even the government.
The right to the autonomy of our bodies means that we must have the power and agency to
make choices, without fear of violence or having someone else decide for us.
Intertwined with it is the right to bodily integrity, where people live free from physical acts to
which they do not consent.
For many people, but especially women and girls, life is fraught with violations to their bodily
autonomy and integrity.
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We see this when a lack of contraceptive choices leads to unplanned pregnancy.
We see this in the terrible bargain made to exchange unwanted sex for a home and food.
We see this in life-derailing practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage.
Autonomy is violated when people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities cannot
walk down a street without fearing assault or humiliation, or when people with disabilities are
stripped of their rights to self-determination, to be free from violence, to enjoy a safe and
satisfying sexual life.
Some violations, such as rape, may be criminalized but not always prosecuted. Other violations
go unchallenged because they are reinforced by community norms, practices and laws.
The right to bodily autonomy is violated when a husband or partner forces a woman to have an
abortion or impregnates her against her will.
Bodily autonomy is violated by practices like…
...so-called “corrective rape”...,
...so-called “honour killings”...
...and so-called “virginity tests.”
This list goes on and on.
And what was bad has become worse, now with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further
diminished women’s autonomy by increasing sexual violence, new barriers to health care,
unplanned pregnancies, and job and education losses.
Although there are many impediments to bodily autonomy, gender inequality is perhaps the
most insidious and pervasive one.
Gender-unequal norms and attitudes lead to power imbalances in relationships that restrict
women’s decisions, particularly when it comes to sex and pregnancy, or that drive the
expectation that women must defer to their husbands or partners in all aspects of their lives.
Real, sustained progress therefore depends on uprooting gender inequality and all forms of
discrimination, and transforming the social and economic structures that maintain them. In this,
more men must become allies. Many more men should commit to stepping away from patterns
of privilege and dominance that profoundly undercut bodily autonomy.
While a bold goal, gender equality is also an internationally agreed one, as the fifth Sustainable Development Goal, and as the purpose of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 25th anniversary of which we are observing this year. All countries can do more to achieve gender equality, since no country is there yet Governments have a lead role to play in reaching that goal. By fulfilling their obligations under human rights treaties, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women, or CEDAW, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, governments can alter the social, political, institutional and economic structures that reinforce and thrive on gender-unequal norms. Bodily autonomy is a foundation for the enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to health and the right to live free from violence. Institutions and leaders are therefore obligated to extend all the support and resources required for us to carry out our choices in a meaningful
way. But we must look beyond obligations, to opportunities: A woman who has control over her body is more likely to be empowered in other spheres of her life. She gains not only in terms of autonomy, but also through advances in health and education, income and safety. She is more likely to thrive, and so is her family. When we see these benefits accrue across whole societies, we understand that communities and countries will flourish when all people are empowered to make their own informed decisions
about their bodies and futures. Realizing autonomy will help us realize a world of greater justice and human well-being, which benefits us all.

Full review

Kiribati Social Development Indicator Survey 2018-19 Findings Report

Kiribati Social Development Indicator Survey 2018-19 Findings Report

Technical Reports and Document

The Kiribati Social Development Indicator Survey (KSIDS) was carried out in 2018-19 by Kiribati National Statistics Office in collaboration with Ministry of Health and other government ministries, as part of the Global MICS Programme. Technical support was provided by the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Pacific Community (SPC) with government funding and financial support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), UNFPA and UNICEF. The Global MICS Programme was developed by UNICEF in the 1990s as an international multi-purpose household survey programme to support countries in collecting internationally comparable data on a wide range of indicators on the situation of children and women. MICS
surveys measure key indicators that allow countries to generate data for use in policies, programmes, and national development plans, and to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed upon commitments. The objective of this report is to facilitate the timely dissemination and use of results from the KSDIS. The report contains detailed information on the survey methodology, and all standard MICS tables. The report is accompanied by a series of Statistical Snapshots of the main findings
of the survey.

Full review

SAMOA YOUTH MONOGRAPH 2020

SAMOA YOUTH MONOGRAPH 2020

Technical Reports and Document

A Population and Housing Census (PHC) provides a precise and geographically detailed account of population characteristics. More than just a head count, the data collected provides a snapshot of how many people are living in a country by age, sex and geographic location – and importantly how they are living, as well as other key socioeconomic characteristics. This makes a census a rich source for analysis, providing key inputs for policy, administration and research, and resource allocation. This report draws on the information collected in the Census to present a picture of the younger generation in order to assess how well youth are transitioning to adulthood in ways that will contribute to the country’s social and economic development. It is hoped that the analysis and data presented in this report will be used by government officials and decision-makers in Samoa to design youthsensitive policies and programmes, to allocate appropriate resources, and to monitor the effectiveness of interventions. The report complements other thematic reports published using data from the 2016 Census including the PHC 2016: Census Briefs 1 to 4 and the 2018 Samoa Disability Monograph – all published by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (SBS). This report is intended for a broad audience, including people with limited statistical expertise, and presents key findings with clear explanations to help readers interpret the data and its limitations. It serves as a useful resource on Samoan youth and their contribution to economic and social development in the country.

Full review

Tonga MICS 2019 Snapshot of Key Findings

Tonga MICS 2019 Snapshot of Key Findings

Technical Reports and Document

The Tonga Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) was carried out in 2019 by Tonga Statistics Department (TSD) in collaboration with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs – Women’s Affairs and Gender Equality Division and other government ministries as part of the Global MICS Programme. Technical support was provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Pacific Community (SPC) with government funding and financial support of UNICEF and UNFPA through Ministry of Health. The Global MICS Programme was developed by UNICEF in the 1990s as an international multipurpose household survey programme to support countries in collecting internationally comparable data on a wide range of indicators on the situation of children and women. MICS surveys measure key indicators that allow countries to generate data for use in policies, programmes, and national development plans, and to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed upon commitments. The objective of this snapshot of key findings is to facilitate the dissemination and use of results from the Tonga MICS, 2019. The survey methodology and detailed tabulations based on the data collected are available in the Survey Findings Report.

Full review

Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) Jan-Mar 2021

Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) Jan-Mar 2021

Fact Sheet

Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) Jan-Mar 2021 infographic 

Full review

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