Thursday, June 18, 2009

Global Youth Demand Action

Where were you 15 years ago? Maybe you were already working or looking for work, maybe you were in college or grade school, maybe you weren't even born yet.

But officials from 179 countries got together in Cairo, Egypt, in the fall of 1994 and promised to change the world in 20 years. The result of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was a ambitious plan that would, among other benefits, give universal access to services and information to improve the sexual and reproductive health of everyone by 2015.

Fast forward to today, with just over five years to go, and we have a lot of work to do.

Using technology that was just a glimmer in some developers' eyes 15 years ago, young people around the world are taking their sexual health and their future in their own hands. Earlier this month, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) launched the 15andCounting campaign on social networking platforms MXit, Facebook and Twitter - urging young people around the world to call their governments to task and demand action.

According to the campaign, "too many governments have failed to make good on their promises. This failure puts the lives and health of tens-of-millions of young people at risk." To put this in context, those born in 1994 form part of the largest group of young people the world has ever seen – some 1.5 billion. With these numbers, as I'm sure we all know, their health and wellbeing affects all of us.

Toward this end, the campaign offers a petition that will be presented to the United Nations to demand governments act now to "fulfill their promise to provide better access to sexual and reproductive health services for all young people."

More than 25,000 people from around the world have signed it so far, mostly young people. The campaign has a goal of "hundreds of thousands of signatures representing every country on the planet."

From their website: "We are asking all governments around the world to prioritise [sic] young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, including comprehensive sex education and information and youth friendly health services."

For more information, check out these links:

Join 15andcounting on Facebook
Follow 15andcounting on Twitter