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Kiribati Youth Back Pacific Sexual Health Report

Kiribati Youth Back Report On Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health In the Pacific

South Tarawa, Kiribati, 14/8/13

Yesterday New Zealand MPs Jan Logie and Asenati Lole-Taylor were joined by Kiribati Parliamentarians, key officials, civil society representatives and around 100 young people from five different youth groups at National Parliament in South Tarawa to launch a report on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in the Pacific.

The report, ‘Pacific Youth: Their Rights, Our Future’, is based on the findings of the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) Open Hearing on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Pacific which was held in Wellington in June of 2012.

The launch event saw the Minister of Education, Honourable Maere Tekanene and the Minister of Health, Honourable Dr. Kautu Tenaua addressing those present about the challenges of adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights in Kiribati. The launch follows on from the NZ MPs meeting with a number of groups including the Population Strategy National Taskforce, Kiribati parliamentarians, key ministries and other Kiribati leaders in sexual and reproductive health.

Honourable Dr. Kautu Tenaua said of the report: “I very much support this document. We will try our very best to adopt the recommendations in it that we feel we could take on in our country.”

The event buzzed with energy from the presence and performance of the youth groups. Performances included traditional Kiribati dances, music from the Kiribati brass band, marching from recruits at the Marine Training Centre and less traditional acts by the Kiribati Family Health Association (KFHA) youth who use drama, music and dance to engage with people on issues of sexual and reproductive health.

Asenati Lole Taylor spoke on behalf of NZPPD saying: “It is fantastic to see so many young people here as they are what this whole visit is about. Kiribati has a very young population with 57% of the population under 24. If young people in Kiribati are able to manage their sexual and reproductive health it will mean they can complete their education, manage their family size, contribute to the economy and invest in their families.”

Discussions at the report launch focused on key recommended actions from the report. The areas discussed included the need:

• For comprehensive sexuality education in formal and informal settings.

• To revisit policies to ensure girls or their partners are not discriminated against by educational institutions due to pregnancy.

• To increase efforts to ensure Kiribati adolescents have access to a range of high quality, adolescent friendly, sexual and reproductive health services.

• To establish a special interest group on population and development for Kiribati leaders.

Background

The NZPPD is cross - party, with currently 45 members representing just fewer than 40 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 since 1998. 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.

This visit is being funded through an advocacy grant from the Asia Pacific Alliance (APA) for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, a regional member based network based in Bangkok. Family Planning International, the NZPPD secretariat and an APA member, has been responsible for coordinating consultations and organizing all logistics. Other APA New Zealand members in New Zealand include NZ AIDS Foundation and Positive Women, who are secondary partners in this initiative.

This visit follows a similar trip by NZPPD members to Solomon Islands earlier this year in March.

ENDS

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