1st APCRH "Manila Declaration" - 7th APCRSHR

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1st APCRH "Manila Declaration"

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Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health (APCRH)
Venue: Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City, the Philippines.
Date: February 15-19, 2001,

Theme: "Quality Reproductive Health: On Track with the ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development) Commitment."


(Adopted during the First Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health, February 15-19, 2001, Manila, Philippines)

As people of the vast region of Asia and the Pacific, we are proud of and strengthened by the multi-cultural and diverse religious traditions that enrich our societies.  Both within our nations and in our international relationships, we strive to promote tolerance, unity, and mutual cooperation.  Diversity can unite peoples together if the differences do not lead to inequity or oppression.  Respect and understanding of positive distinctions among our peoples is a strong foundation for progress and a clear direction for development.

Our efforts to improve reproductive health have highlighted the need to address inequitable and oppressive gender structures which are present in all our nations and are destructive of our best efforts toward social improvement.  These structures are antithetical to the values espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, covenants of the United Nations, the Program of Action of the ICPD, and the Platform for Action of the Beijing Conference on Women.  Gender inequity is a major factor that inhibits women from accepting and accessing reproductive health services and deters the prospect of quality of care.  It has serious consequences for adolescent’s reproductive health.  Gender and socioeconomic inequity exacerbates the fragile reproductive health situation of individuals living in poverty or with limited access to appropriate health services, or with people living in situations of internal conflict.

As gender inequity has serious demographic and social consequences, women and their partners should have appropriate rights and means to achieve their fertility intentions.

Women should also have social and familial support needed to achieve a balance in work and family responsibilities.

Gender equity is the foundation on which the needed improvements in reproductive health for all people can be constructed.  We see this in terms of the following basic principles:

  • Reproductive rights and responsibilities are human rights and personal responsibilities.  These are not the monopoly of any social group, and hence should not be unilaterally decided by any particular social group or institution.

  • Reproductive rights of women will only be protected when reproductive rights and responsibilities of all peoples are recognized and promoted in an atmosphere of humane and just structures of society.

  • Reproductive rights of individuals will only be protected when societies recognize the freedom of individuals to express responsibly their sexual and reproductive preferences.

  • Individual expressions of sexual and reproductive rights will only be safe and responsible if individuals have full knowledge of the potential consequences of their actions, and these expressions are shaped by respect for the rights of other persons.

  • Reproductive rights will only be promoted by participation of both men and women.

We thus declare:

Only through a forthright, critical, and effective promotion of gender equity will be able to ensure reproductive health for all people and development of our societies.

In promoting reproductive health for all, the elimination of all forms of gender inequity and oppression must be a priority for governments, NGOs and other civil society organizations, and international community.

Elements of tradition, religion, law, custom and practices that promote gender inequity or oppression must be subject to public identification and remedial action.

As the promoter of people’s welfare and the agency responsible for justice in civil society, governments should significantly increase resources to eliminate gender inequity in all state institutions, and ensure that reproductive health concerns of all are addressed.

Therefore, we the participants of the Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health held in Manila, February 15-19, 2001, commit to build collaborative relationships among community partners, program administrators, researchers, educators, service providers, program clients, youth groups, elderly, differently able, media, non-government organizations, government organizations, inter-governmental bodies, donors and policymakers, to promote gender equity as the foundation for raising the quality of reproductive health.

Further as NGOs are indispensable partners of government in national and international processes for reproductive health, we are forming a network of NGOs and individuals to ensure the implementation of the ICPD Program of Action.

February 18, 2001


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