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New High-Level Commission will ensure promises made at Nairobi Summit are kept as COVID-19 pandemic threatens to turn back the clock for women’s health and rights

NEW YORK -- A new High-Level Commission of advocates, experts and activists was established today to help commitments to women’s health and rights made at the November 2019 Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 stay on track, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is blocking access to essential services, such as family planning and antenatal care.

The Nairobi Summit secured billions of dollars in commitments from governments, the private sector, foundations and others. It rallied support to achieve “three zeros” – zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths, zero gender-based violence and harmful practices – in 10 years.

UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, and the governments of Denmark and Kenya convened the Summit 25 years after the landmark International Conference on Population and Development, which culminated in a global agreement that sexual and reproductive health and rights are a necessity for growth and prosperity. But progress in securing these rights has stalled.


Like the Nairobi Summit, the commission is radically inclusive. Aleksandra Chichikova, Miss World Wheelchair 2017 and women's health advocate from Belarus, here seen at the Nairobi Summit (front row, center right), is a member of the High-Level Commission.
©️ UNFPA

“Since the Nairobi Summit, the road to 2030 and the achievement of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all has grown steeper due to COVID-19,” says UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “Yet we continue to forge ahead, to back up words with deeds and action on the ground. The new High-Level Commission will help all of us who made commitments in Nairobi keep those promises.”

Like the delegates at the Nairobi Summit, the membership of the High-Level Commission is radically inclusive. Chaired by H.E. Mr. Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and H.E. Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada, its members range from former heads of state to grassroots activists and youth. (For a full list of members, see below).

The Commission will monitor and report on progress towards fulfilling the 1,250 commitments made at the Nairobi Summit, and in particular the 12 global commitments contained in the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25, and make recommendations for removing bottlenecks so that the sexual and reproductive health and rights community maintains its momentum towards a world of rights and choices for all.

More information about the High-Level Commision, its members and activities can be found here: https://unf.pa/hlc

For media and interview enquiries, please contact:

Eddie Wright: +1 917 831 2074; ewright@unfpa.org