By Anamaria Suciu, YouAct Chair
In the beginning of June 2018, 22 feminists met in Kuala Lumpur to have a cross‐regional south-south feminist intersectional dialogue on sexual and reproductive justice in the context of the sustainable development agenda. The meeting was organized by Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ) with the aim of creating a space to deepen our analysis and strategize around the 2030 sustainable development agenda, as well as to connect and build cross-regional alliances with younger feminists from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Pacific, Middle East and Europe. YouAct was invited to bring a youth perspective from Europe, a donor-region where North-South dichotomy persists regarding issues related to sexual and reproductive justice.
For 3 full days we shared lessons learnt and best practices regarding organizing, identified regional trends and challenges, as well as similarities and differences in our ways of working and opportunities in staying connected. We focused on advocating for accountability and addressing cross-cutting targets related to gender, elimination of discrimination, SRHR and education from a comprehensive justice approach. We have deepened our analysis of economic, political and environmental and ecological justice interlinkages with SRHR. We reflected on strategies within feminist movement building and activism and how to build and maintain transnational solidarity and organizing. Fruitful discussions on SDGs-related processes also took place, mainly regarding the Regional Forums for Sustainable Development, the High Level Political Forum and the National Voluntary Reviews.
For YouAct it was a great opportunity to connect with other regions and hear about similar, but also particular challenges and ways of working when it comes to sexual and reproductive justice. The feminist perspective kept us all together and we discussed how emerging issues across regions are conflicting with our work: the conservatism and rise of the right political wings, the neoliberalism, austerity measures and corporate power and the neglecting of the environmental and ecological justice. All these issues are interconnected, and we must take them into consideration when ensuring that SRHR and youth SRHR stay on the agenda and are furthered in negotiations and high-level discussions.
It becomes clearer and clearer that gender and SRHR have a great potential in advancing the achievement of every Sustainable Development Goal, however we see opposition rising all over the world. We can’t help but notice anti-choice movements growing and giving a sense of belonging and inclusiveness to their supporters, austerity measures reducing access to vital services, corporations having serious negative impacts on indigenous communities, environmental crisis leading to sexual violence, increased domestic work burden on women, poor health outcomes and death. How do we address all these issues and many more that are affecting girls and women everywhere?
How do we make sure the intersectional approach becomes the norm? And that the gender dimension, for example, is considered when discussing everything, from health to education, environment and national security? How do we make sure states are accountable to their promises? These are tough questions, but discussions have long started and change is on its way. Advancement is only possible if enough interest and resources are gathered and we thank RESURJ for choosing to invest in this and for meaningfully collaborating with various regions across the world.
YouAct is committed to continue the discussions, to continue to be intersectional in our work and to build strong cross-regions and cross-movements links, to further the SRHR for all.
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