Team Europe partners
Important progress has been made in advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) situation in Africa, but significant challenges remain, and the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting access to essential health services and reversing years of hard-won gains in women and young people’s health.
The Initiative on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights launched in partnership between African and European stakeholders focuses on 3 objectives
- increasing continental and regional SRHR actions in the health and education sector
- improving the availability and affordability of quality SRHR-related products for all, especially women and girls
- strengthening advocacy and accountability efforts that ensure SRHR needs are met
The SRHR initiative contributes to health and well-being for all, and in particular, it enables young people to fulfil their potential. It creates demographic benefits and is a foundation for prosperous societies.
A shared priority
Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a shared priority for Africa and Europe. They are key to reaching Sustainable Development Goals 3.7 and 5.6 on health for all and gender equality, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Both African and European governments have committed to fully implement the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development from 1994, commitments that were renewed during the Nairobi Summit in 2019.
Commitment to SRHR is a strong priority for the African Union and the African Regional Economic Committees (notably the East African Community, Economic Community of West African States and Southern African Development Community), enshrined in the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and various regional bills, laws and strategies.
The EU’s commitment to SRHR and gender equality are enshrined in the European Consensus on Development (2017) and the Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (2021). The EU is committed to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
Gender equality is a core value of the EU, a universally recognised human right, and closely interlinked with SRHR. The EU is a global front-runner in promoting gender equality as a key political objective of its external action.
The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Initiative consists of around 140 coordinated, but mostly independent, regional and country actions funded by Team Europe members of the initiative and implemented by multiple partners, including civil society and UN agencies. A large proportion of these are implemented in partnership with African national and regional health authorities.
- Comprehensive sex education linking schools to health services to help prevent gender-based violence, early and unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions
- National governments strengthened to deliver quality SRHR interventions via primary health care
- SRHR products procured by national health systems and added to official lists of essential medicines
- More SRHR data and evidence is generated and used
- Regional coordination is strengthened for more effective advocacy and accountability