From its inception, Family Care International (FCI) has helped to shape the global consensus on the need for women-centered, rights-based, comprehensive reproductive health services.
Consensus documents that set goals and targets for the enhancement of women's reproductive and sexual rights and women's empowerment include: the International Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993; the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo; the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing; and their five-year reviews, which took the form of United Nations' General Assembly Special Sessions in 1998, 1999 and 2000 respectively.
In addition to these consensus documents, heads of state and government from around the world included two key goals related to sexual and reproductive health in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and to combat HIV/AIDS.
Advancing the Cairo Commitments
FCI advocates for continued commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action at regional and international-level intergovernmental meetings. In 2004, FCI worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Population Action International to revitalize support for the ICPD Programme of Action through the Countdown 2015 campaign. This strategy included:
- A Global Roundtable in London (2004).
- A Magazine Countdown 2015: Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights for All with articles from leaders in the sexual and reproductive health field.
- A Global Report Card analyzing countries' progress towards the ICPD goals.
- A communications and media campaign.
To ensure that international commitments are clearly understood, FCI publishes briefing cards and other summaries of agreements reached at various international meetings. Further, FCI advocates for the use of the ICPD goal, universal access to reproductive health by 2015, as a target to measure progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals
The eight Millennium Development Goals are the primary framework for shaping development strategies. Developing countries are creating "MDG-ized" development plans; bilateral and multilateral donors are channeling funds toward programs aimed at achieving the MDGs; while UN agencies are incorporating the goals into their programming.
In 2005, FCI and 40 NGO advocates from the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) community, mobilized to advocate for the use of the ICPD goal: universal access to reproductive health through the primary health system by 2015, as a target to measure progress towards the achievement of the MDGs.
The strategy included:
- Publication and distribution of 35,000 Millenium Development Goals and Sexual & Reproductive Health briefing cards on sexual and reproductive health and the MDGs.
- Background papers and E-Bulletins to keep advocates informed about the Millennium+5 review process and opportunities for advocacy.
- Advocacy at the national, regional, and international levels throughout the Millennium+5 review process and beyond.
The briefing cards raised awareness among governments, NGOs and others of the importance of sexual and reproductive health for development and the contribution of sexual and reproductive health toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
In early October 2007, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the inclusion of universal access to reproductive health by 2015 as a new target under MDG 5 to improve maternal health. The General Assembly's adoption of this approach is an important advance that will allow countries' progress on SRHR to be monitored through the MDG framework.