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Issues of population, of reproductive health, and of women's empowerment seem to be missing from the Rio20 agenda. Do you as a woman have, or have you in the past had access to family planning and/or safe abortion so that you have the number of children you want, or have had the number of children you wanted? Was pregnancy always a joy, or was one or more pregnancies a burden? Access to the highest standard of reproductive health and to family planning is your human right as established in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development and also in the Millennium Development Goals of the year 2000.

Last October the planet reached the 7 billion human population milestone. According to the Population Division of the United Nations, we will reach 9.3 billion by 2050. All the people now and in the future will want food, safe water, energy, access to education, health and a job. You must be kidding. The planet right now is giving way beneath us. Sustainability is a joke. Right now a billion people are hungry. A billion people lack access to safe water and sanitation. The oceans are overfished, forests are disappearing, climate change is wreaking havoc with floods and droughts. There are increasing numbers of climate refugees. Look at Pakistan these last two years with enormous widespread floods. Look at the drought in the Sahel region of Africa causing millions to need food aid. There is nothing sustainable about the human impact on the environment now. It is going to get a lot worse. It is going to get ugly. Wars over resources will abound. Women will suffer violence at the hands of the ignorant and frustrated.

Leaving issues of population and of women's access to education and health and to full gender equality in every realm of civil society off the main Rio agenda is akin to being blind on a sight seeing tour. There is no there there!

I am co-founder of 34 Million Friends of the United Nations Population Fund. The 10th anniversary of this grassroots movement will be on July 22 of this year. Amazing!


In partnership with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), World Pulse is collecting personal stories outlining women’s experiences and recommendations on sustainable and equitable development for presentation at the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

All stories submitted on our community platform between now and June 3, 2012 will be presented at the Rio+20 Conference. Additionally, selected entries will be published in World Pulse’s digital magazine and distributed widely to international media partners. Learn how YOUR voice can be included!


jadefrank's picture

Taking your voice to Rio+20

Dear Jane,

As a voice for population control and women's access to sexual and reproductive health, your message rings clear and powerful!

Thank you for participating in our Rio+20 initiative and courageously sharing your voice. Your story and recommendations are en route to Rio de Janeiro with our partners at WEDO, and will be presented at the conference to ensure grassroots women's perspectives are included at the negotiating table. Our editorial team is working on an E-magazine for publication next Wednesday which you will receive in your inbox, highlighting selected pieces from our Rio+20 initiative. We will keep you updated on the outcomes of the conference and how you can stay involved as a vocal leader for your community on these issues.

I encourage you to read the stories of your fellow PulseWire sisters and engage in conversation to share experiences, ideas, and best practices for addressing sustainable development issues in your communities.

In friendship and solidarity,

Thank you so much for this comment. The 10th anniversary of 34 Million Friends of the U.N. Population Fund will be in July. There is also a family planning summit in July in London with DFID, UNFPA and the Gates Foundation. The theme will be makinig the right to family planning a reality. Cheers, Jane

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