Norway supports #SheDecides

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Permanent Representative, Ambassador Hans Brattskar, and intern at the Mission Synnøve Ravnestad Eikefet were two of the many participants showing their support for the initiative. Photo: The Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva

International women’s day on 8 March was the perfect occasion to raise awareness for women’s rights, for sexual and reproductive rights, and the new global initiative on sexual health and family planning called She Decides. The Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva participated at a lunch event, organised by the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands in Geneva, to show its support for and give information about She Decides, and sexual and reproductive rights.

The event was held at UNAIDS, and speakers included Flavia Bustreo, the WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women and Children, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, Chargé d’Affaires for the Netherlands, Reinout Vos, Anya Gass and Anna Delany from Plan International. They underscored the importance of women getting to decide for themselves whether, when and with whom to have children, and emphasized that this is a fundamental right that needs to be protected. Dr. Bustreo also noted that when women themselves decide they are not only able to improve their own health, but also the health of future generations.

Norwegian support for sexual and reproductive health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 47 000 women die, and nearly 7 million need medical treatment every year, as a result of unsafe abortions. More than 225 million women would like to have access to contraception, but do not have access today. Sexual and reproductive health is a priority for Norway, and the Norwegian Government announced earlier this month that it would increase its contributions to sexual and reproductive health and safe abortions by roughly 10 million euros. The additional funds will partly be used to increase support to the UNFPA and their work with reproductive health issues for women living in poverty, crisis and conflict. Also selected NGOs will be invited to apply for funding.

“The right of women to have control over and make decisions about their own sexuality and body is crucial. It is crucial for women’s health. It is crucial for gender equality. And it is crucial for fighting poverty and ensuring sustainable development” said Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality, Solveig Horne, earlier this month at the She Decides conference in Brussels.

Read the full statement of Minister Horne here

Read more about the She Decides initiative here