Ahead of the G7 Summit - the first after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) and the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) co-organized the Global Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (GCPPD) toward the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit, in cooperation with other regional parliamentarians’ fora and partners.
This conference in Tokyo (April 26-27) represented a key opportunity for national leaders to address how population issues might impact new international agreements on development in the 2030 Agenda era.
Its aim: solicit the commitment of global parliamentarians to send a strong message to the G7 leaders on the importance of population and development issues "to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment”, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
Over 140 parliamentarians from 64 countries gathered to discuss five thematic topics:
gender equality and women’s empowerment
investing in youth
building active aging societies
infectious diseases and effective risk management systems
the role of parliamentarians in the SDG era
The Conference focused particularly on promoting universal health coverage as a key instrument to tackle population and development challenges.
APGPD Chair, Dr Sharman Stone MP, attended the conference and co-chaired the session on gender equality and women's empowerment: reproductive health and universal health coverage.
Dr Stone, along with parliamentarians from Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Canada, and Bolivia, as well as civil society representatives from the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Healthy Women Healthy Economy Initiative, discussed the question: “What can Parliamentarians do to reduce gender gaps and advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as promote healthy life and well-being for all women and girls?”
This session enabled participants to share national, regional, and global experiences and good practices, and improve their understanding of the challenges and gaps in women's empowerment around the world, with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In her speech before resigning from the Australian Parliament, Dr Stone mentioned her work with the APGPD, the AFPPD and this conference:
"My work as the chair of the Australian group of the Asia-Pacific parliamentary population development forum has helped me build close relationships with like-minded MPs across our region. I am vice-chair of the umbrella Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, chaired by Japan's Dr Keizo Takemi. It was a privilege to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week to report on our work, which will feed into their G7 deliberations. This forum is tackling the horrors of child marriage, FGM, the trafficking of women and girls, grinding poverty, poor health and education access, and women's need for empowerment, all of which are such pressing issues in our region. Changes are so important for the peace and prosperity of our region, but, as well, it is a right of every person, man or woman, to have a safe and decent life."
[Photo caption: Co-Chairs of the Panel: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Reproductive Health and Universal Health Coverage: APGPD Chair and AFPPD Vice-Chair, Dr Sharman Stone MP, and Vice-Chair of the JPFP and Chair of GLOBE Japan, Ms Yuriko Koike, MP]