How Critical are Human Rights, Equality to Development?

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Top Government Officials to Debate Way Forward After 2015

UNITED NATIONS, New York—Inaugurating the Commission on Population and Development, global opinion leaders and stakeholders will hold an interactive high-level debate about the centrality of human rights and dignity, good health, and freedom of mobility to a sustainable world. Speakers will include: President Anote Tong of Kiribati; former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique; and former President Tarja Halonen of Finland. They will be joined by a panel of high-ranking dignitaries, including: Eleonora Menicucci, Minister, Special Secretariat for Women’s Affairs, Brazil; Tedros Ghebreyesus, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia; and Asma Khader, Secretary-General, National Commission for Women and General Coordinator of Sisterhood is Global Institute, Jordan.

The debate, moderated by the BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandani, will tackle the triumphs and challenges the world still faces 20 years after the unprecedented adoption of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). This global consensus marked a historic paradigm shift that universally recognized women and young girls as individuals entitled to the same opportunities, choices, and rights as men.

The interactive debate aims to bring worldwide attention to the findings and key messages of the forward-looking agenda that emerged from the ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report. These findings address the single, powerful goal: To ensure sustainable development by placing the human rights of all people and individual well-being at the heart of the future development agenda.

Recent stories in The New York Times and The Guardian underscore the important linkages between climate and human rights-based approach to development. The participation of President Tong presents a unique opportunity for journalists to engage with the head of a small-island state looking for innovative solutions to save his people from the worst impact of global warming.

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