For some years already, politicians and policymakers are discussing what should be the next development agenda after the Millennium development goals end in 2015.
European ministers of International Cooperation will discuss the new targets on July 14 and 15 to determine the European position.
Rutgers calls on these ministers to recognize the importance of sexuality education for young people to reach the targets.
Basic human right
The discussion around development goals shows time and again there are countries that refuse to grant their people even the most basic human rights, states Dianda Veldman, director of Rutgers. “Religious conservatives and populists often take affront to people’s right to decide themselves when and how many children to have, and who to love and share their life with. However, these rights are essential to achieve the development targets.”
Statistics show that one in five women become mother before they are eighteen. In some of the poorest countries one in three girls have a child before they grow up themselves. This is one of the reasons why every year 250,000 women and girls die during pregnancy and delivery. Ten percent of all women has no access to contraceptives.
Young people have difficulty to protect their own sexual and reproductive health. “In many countries health workers do not know how to support young people that ask for advice. In some places you run the risk to be arrested for the possession of condoms. Sexuality remains a difficult topic and having a child just happens.”
On World Population Day – July 11th – the United Nations call for investment in young people. Never before there were as many young people as there are now which is a great opportunity for the future.
Sexuality education for boys and girls is a great start to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights. When young people learn about their own body and the body of the other, there will be more equality between men and women, respect for diversity and less sexual violence. Young people will have children later, get more education and contribute more to the development of their country.
Family planning is one of the best investments in human capital and puts countries on the path of growth and sustainable development. “Only with more attention for sexual and reproductive health and rights, women and girls have the chance to take their future in their own hands. At that point development becomes not only sustainable but also meaningful.”