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MP calls for action on population and development


 

NEWS RELEASE: 2nd JULY

MP calls for action on population and development  

 

The Chair of a cross-party group of New Zealand MPs has issued a call for action on international population and development issues.

The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) highlighted the importance and impact of focusing on population and development issues, particularly in the Pacific, at its ten year report launch on 2nd July at Parliament

“If we invest in population and development, we will save and improve lives,” said MP Jill Pettis, NZPPD Chair. The World Health Organisation states that sexual and reproductive ill health accounts for one-third of the ‘global burden of disease’ among women of reproductive age (15-44 years old). Every minute, another woman dies in childbirth.

Investing in population and development issues, such as sexual and reproductive health and gender, is necessary if we are to reach broad development goals, including sustainable economic growth, poverty elimination and environmental sustainability. “Put simply, investing in population and development is cost effective. If people are healthy, they can be educated, work, care for their families and contribute to their communities and the economy,” said Jill Pettis.

The NZPPD Chair is calling for international population and development issues to be prioritised in New Zealand’s overseas development assistance strategy. It is important that all political parties support these issues at the policy and resource level.

The report, ‘Taking Action: The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development’, states that the population and development situation in our own region, the Pacific, is critical. There is evidence of high rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unplanned teenage pregnancy. A recent study across five Pacific Island countries showed that the prevalence of the STI chlamydia averaged 18 percent of those tested. In Papua New Guinea, a generalized epidemic of HIV continues to worsen, along with high rates of maternal mortality. Pacific people are taking action to meet these challenges and New Zealand can support this.

Family Planning International, a unit of Family Planning, houses the Secretariat of the parliamentary group. “New Zealand is highly regarded in the international arena for its work in population and development and it is important that these issues continue to be on the political agenda”, said Jackie Edmond, Chief Executive, Family Planning.

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