In her introduction to Perspectives (which I wrote for the United Nations Population Fund to mark 50 years of their work in Sri Lanka) Ritsu Nacken the County Representative for UNFPA Sri Lanka explains what the publication sets out to do:
“This year, 2019, marks two important milestones in the field of reproductive health
globally: 50 years since UNFPA began its operations, and 25 years since the landmark
International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, which represented a paradigm shift for population and development in the recognition that people’s rights, choices, and well-being are the path to sustainable development.
Commemorating these milestones, it is our pleasure to present ‘Perspectives –
A reflection on five decades of advancements in sexual and reproductive health in Sri
Lanka’. This publication celebrates the achievements during the last 50 years and earlier, and focuses on UNFPA’s key areas of work – Maternal Health, Family Planning, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, prevention of Gender-Based Violence, and Providing Humanitarian Relief, through a compilation of stories from resilient, inspiring, and empowering people.
The shared insights are from those who have dedicated years of service to addressing the challenges faced in each sphere of UNFPA’s work, paired with the stories of the lived realities of women for whom these vital services and far-reaching policies were intended.
The publication also focuses on how rights and choices have been at the heart of the population and development agenda, yet, at the same time, how thousands of people are still waiting for the promise of ICPD to be fulfilled. If we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, if we are to leave no one behind, then we must address the unfinished business of the ICPD agenda.
Each narrative is a reflection of the potential for sexual and reproductive health and rights to transform the lives of individual women and girls – and from there, like ripples in a pond, to drive change that propels the wellbeing of their families, communities and
the country itself. Fifty years on, the fight for rights and choices in reproductive health must continue until the world we imagine, is the world that we live in right now.”