Government increasing support to sexual and reproductive health and rights
At the ‘She Decides’ conference in Brussels today, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin will announce an increase of SEK 200 million in support to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
"Sweden's feminist government remains one of the strongest international voices for the universal right to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We need international leadership that stands up to the forces that seek to restrict women's and girls' rights," says Ms Lövin.
Together with Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands, Sweden is co-organising the 'She Decides' conference taking place in Brussels on Thursday. Representatives of some 50 countries are expected to take part, as well as parliamentarians and organisations from Asia, Africa, Europe and America, as well as UN bodies. She Decides is intended to mobilise financial and political support for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
"No country can lift itself out of poverty without access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Today's conference is the start of a progressive alliance for women's and girls' right to decide over their own bodies," says Ms Lövin.
The Government will support and strengthen the current systems and organisations that are turning SRHR into a reality for millions of people around the world. This investment will go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and via the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to organisations that give women and girls access to advice, sex and relationship education, contraceptives, maternity care and safe abortions.
Maternal mortality around the world has declined by almost 50 per cent since the early 1990s. But one woman or girl still dies every other minute because of complications in pregnancy or childbirth, many as a result of an unsafe abortion. Decisions such as the Mexico City Policy – which the US administration has recently re-introduced and which stops US aid from financing organisations that advocate or offer abortions – jeopardise progress.
Sweden's support to sexual and reproductive health and rights
Globally, Sweden is one of the largest donors of support to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Support to SRHR accounts for over 60 per cent of Swedish health aid through Sida, and approximately 7 per cent of Swedish international development cooperation, totalling some SEK 2.3 billion in 2015.
Sweden is, for example, the largest donor of core support to the UNFPA. The UNFPA estimates that Swedish core support to the organisation in 2014 and 2015 prevented over 200 000 unsafe abortions and approximately 1 000 cases of maternal mortality, and has given over 1 600 000 people across the world access to contraceptives. The Government has decided to increase Swedish core support to the UNFPA for 2017 from SEK 515 million to SEK 545 million.