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New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group Meets United Nations

New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group Meets With United Nations’ Leaders To Discuss The Importance Of Sexual And Reproductive Health And Rights

Wellington, 7th March 2012:

The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) met with United Nations’ leaders Helen Clark and Michel Sidibe while they were in Wellington on a whirlwind tour of duty. Twenty six MPs gathered over lunch for a fruitful discussion of the importance of gender equality in international development programmes, and in particular the necessity for improved sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In his role as Executive Director of UNAIDS Mr Sidibe spoke of the need for stronger links between HIV and other sexual and reproductive health programmes as the issues are innately intertwined. Miss Clark spoke of how rape is widely used as a weapon in war and civil unrest, through which there has been an increased incidence of HIV among women.

Mr Sidibe described the face of the global HIV epidemic as female and emphasised the ripple effect that equipping young women with comprehensive sexuality education and services can have: ‘If you provide knowledge and life skills for young people to negotiate their sexuality, you help avoid early pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies, as well as unsafe abortion. If you reduce new infections in young women, and provide treatment to all women living with HIV, you can avoid mother to child transmission of the virus. It is very important to address the status of women in society.”

Mr Sidibe commended the work of the group, their commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights and the leadership New Zealand MPs show on this issue.

The NZPPD is cross - party, with currently 44 members representing over 36 percent of all New Zealand MPs. The group has provided a forum for New Zealand parliamentarians to engage and act on international population and development issues for twelve years. The NZPPD has a particular focus on the Pacific region, where the population and development challenges remain great. Family Planning International houses the NZPPD Secretariat.



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