CPD: Protecting Bodies, Protecting Rights

Tuesday 4 April 3:00 - 6:00 PM at Conference Room 5, UN Headquarters.


The World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development and the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations invite you to

“Protecting Bodies, Protecting Rights: The role of Faith-Based Organizations in Enabling Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,”

a formal side event to the 50th Session of the Commission on Population and Development.

This event will convene representatives of Member States, the United Nations and faith-based organizations (FBOs) that have been taking critical leadership on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and are also advancing a deep theology of life which ensures the rights for all and youth and girls in particular. During this consultation, we will explore how religious actors and religious communities can be the ‘tipping point’ for community development and societal transformation on SRHR.




  • H.E. Geir O. Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations


  • Moderator : Dr. Azza Karam , Senior Adviser, UNFPA, Coordinator, UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development

Celebrating the Power of Faith: Realizing Potential and Partnerships for a Shared Agenda in Protecting Bodies and Protecting Rights

The panel will frame the particular obstacles and opportunities faith communities face when they engage to promote an agenda of life in dignity with SRHR for all at the intersections of religion, culture, human rights and health. We will focus on the role FBOs can and do play in addressing child, early and forced marriage and comprehensive sexual education. We hope to illustrate the distinct role of faith actors, drawing inspiration from their religious resources, to visualize connections between very basic services and life-affirming narratives that promote real quality of life for those served and the wider community.

We will also focus on the need for strong, concerted and sustainable multi-stakeholder action on policy, advocacy, partnerships, and funding. While recognizing the primary responsibility of Member States to guarantee basic right to health, including SRHR, what legislation, policies, resources and practices are needed and what is the role and contribution of the different actors in making this happen?

  • Mr Daniel Legutke , Human Rights Desk, German Commission of Justice and Peace
  • Rev. Dr. Anders Wejryd, Archbishop Emeritus of Church of Sweden, President for Europe for the World Council of Churches
  • Dr. Ayesha Chaudhry , Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Gender Studies, University of British Columbia
  • Azra Abdul Cader , Senior Programme Officer, ARROW
  • Hendrica Okondo , Global Programme Manager SRHR and HIV – Focal Point Africa, World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA)
  • Rev Carlos Tamez , Regional Coordinator for Advocacy and Diakonia, Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI)
  • Deena Cowans, Masters in Public Administration-Development Practice, Rabbinical Student, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
  • Peter Munene , CEO, Faith to Action Network


Conference Room 5
CPD Side-Event