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Pacific Island MPs commit to Health and Rights Pathway at SIDS

Parliamentarians have a strategic role in implementing the health and human rights goals nations are committing to at the UN's 3rd Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) conference, which begins in the Pacific island nation of Samoa today.

The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), its national committees, and the Pacific parliamentarians who are in delegations to SIDS will work together to ensure the population and development priorities in the already agreed SIDS outcome document, the Samoan Pathway, can be implemented.

"The sustainable development of Small Islands Developing States and the healthy well-being of our peoples is highly dependent on genuine partnerships being realised from our SIDS commitments and other Post 2015 plans," said Hon. Sunia Manu Fili, MP of Tonga and chair of Tonga's Parliamentary Committee on Population and Development.

With the support of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), AFPPD will join with its Pacific champion parliamentarians at the Third Conference of Small Islands Developing States on September 1-4, 2014 in Apia, Samoa.

AFPPD will feature its partnership at SIDS with the International Planned Parenthood federation (IPPF) to create the Post-Election Module for Pacific Parliamentarians on Population and Development as one of the ways to foster implementation of evidence and rights-based policies for health and well-being at national levels.

"Partnerships are vital. We used this module in Tonga to help establish our parliamentary committee with genuine participation from civil society groups and partners UNFPA and UNDP," said Hon. Sunia Fili.

AFPPD and other civil society advocates met in a Major Groups Forum in Samoa late last week where the Pacific Parliamentarians' Moana Declaration from 2013 was cited as a great partnership process between CSOs and MPs to support access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people and without discrimination, and increase participation of women and young people in decision-making processes.

"It is important for Pacific parliamentarians to be active at SIDS to make sure that that ICPD priorities will be prominent in the post-2015 agenda, through the Beijing+20 review, Rio+20, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN General Assembly," said Hon. Sunia Fili.

"AFPPD will also work hard at SIDS to garner support from other Pacific parliamentarians and governments to establish more national committees to promote increased parliamentarian advocacy for ICPD and Post 2015 in the Pacific", said John Hyde, AFPPD Deputy Director.

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