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(Brussels, 30 April 2014) Over 87 European NGOs across 42 European countries joined forces this week to call upon their governments and other likeminded states to express strong support for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at the upcoming 11th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Open Working Group will meet 5-9 May 2014 in New York to continue the consultations around specific focus areas from which the SDGs will be developed. Negotiations around specific goals, targets and indicators will culminate in the adoption of the group’s report this summer. The report – to be officially presented at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly- will be one of the main reference texts to guide the intergovernmental negotiations at UN level that will end in September 2015 with the adoption of the new post-2015 development agenda.

Through a joint position paper, representatives from the European SRHR civil society called on their governments to live up to the pledge – made at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20) in June 2012 – to work toward an aspirational set of Sustainable Development Goals. In a letter addressed to all European delegations, the members of the EuroNGOs, Countdown 2015 Europe, IPPF EN and ASTRA networks stated: “A truly transformative agenda requires going beyond the minimum standards set out in the 1990s. In doing so it must recognize that sexual and reproductive health and rights: cut across the economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development; contribute to accelerate progress under each of the current MDGs; and are key components of the measures that must be taken to respect and protect human rights, empower women and young people and eliminate inequalities.”

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