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Gender Equality and Women;s Empowerment key focus of Irish Aid - Minister Flanagan

Gender, Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Ireland, 2015

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment key focus of Irish Aid - Minister Flanagan

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, this evening launched a series of factsheets on behalf of the Oireachtas All Party Interest Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Development. 

The factsheets explain how sexual and reproductive health and rights contribute to better health and education outcomes for women and girls; improve gender equality and support countries to develop sustainably.

Minister Flanagan said: 

“Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality are critical in tackling maternal and child mortality, reducing poverty and ensuring that countries develop sustainably. 

“Ireland has played a leading role internationally to promote progress on women’s empowerment and maternal mortality.  In September, negotiations will conclude on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted by a summit of world leaders at the UN in New York. Ireland has been a global champion for the inclusion of an ambitious goal and targets on gender equality in this development agenda. 

“Of Irish Aid’s annual budget, 20% is invested in global health and HIV programmes, which is critical to women’s health.  We are working with governments and non-governmental organisations in developing countries to strengthen health systems for improved maternal and child health outcomes. 

“Over twenty years ago, in Cairo, the international community agreed on a Programme of Action at the International Conference on Population and Development.  We need to uphold these commitments to continue to work towards women’s empowerment and rights.” 

The Oireachtas All Party Interest Group is chaired by Olivia Mitchell, TD. 

Press Office
24 March 2015

Notes to editors: 

• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

• The Irish (Oireachtas) All-Party Interest Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Development was established in 2000 by Mary Banotti MEP and Senator Mary Henry with the purpose of ensuring that the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo 1994) would be central to Irish development policy. The Group consists of members of all political parties in the Dáil, Seanad and European Parliament. 

• The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) is funded and supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and is the Secretariat to the All Party Oireachtas Interest Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Development. 

• The United Nations is seeking to agree a set of global goals on poverty eradication and sustainable development for the period 2015 – 2030 to replace the Millennium Development Goals, a set of goals which were designed to address some of the most pressing issues affecting humanity. Ireland was appointed the co-facilitator for international negotiations on this new global development agenda, to be adopted in September 2015. 

• The International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994,  resulted in the adoption of a 20 year Programme of Action by 179 countries with the goal of universal access to reproductive health services for everyone in all countries.  Whereas earlier world conferences on population had focused on controlling population growth in developing countries, mainly through family planning, the Cairo conference highlighted that reproductive health and rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes.