In January 2013, the Summary Report from the Aspen Consultation on Health, Food Security and Population in the Post-2015 Development Agenda was submitted to each of the UN task teams charged with advising the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the issues of health, food security, population dynamics, inequalities, education and environmental sustainability.
The Report was a synthesis of a consulation that took place in December 2012, when Aspen Global Health and Development convened a distinguished group of public- and private-sector experts to provide input on the post-2015 development agenda. Participants focused on the interrelated issues of health, food security and population dynamics, but the wide-ranging conversation encompassed many of this century’s most pressing challenges.
The recommendations of the Aspen Consultation Summary Report were particularly visible in the draft report by the Task Team of the Global Thematic Consultation on Health, including in the Task Team’s illumination of the linkages between reproductive health and other development sectors:
“The following example illustrates the multiple benefits that universal access to reproductive health services and protection of reproductive rights would bring. People’s, and especially women’s, right to decide the number of children they wish to have (and are able to afford) is a basic human right. Countries that have fully supported this right tend to have a lower total fertility rate. Smaller families benefit women’s and children’s health and make it easier for health systems in low resource contexts to serve their populations. Among other things, having fewer children empowers women to participate in society, complete their education, and access formal employment, giving them an independent income. It also contributes to human development by reducing household poverty. Smaller families slow population growth, which in turn reduces demand for water, food, and energy; alleviate pressures on education and the environment; diminish social conflict and state fragility; and reduce climate change and mitigate its impact.”