Improving maternal and reproductive health is an important focus of Ireland's international development policy with health system strengthening at the heart of Ireland’s approach.
Ireland works through the UNFPA, the World Health Organisation, with organisations such the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and with civil society partners. Ireland does so to ensure access to essential drugs, health services, and best practice, including building more effective health workforces, with an emphasis on better health outcomes for women and children.
Ireland recognises that quality health systems must include access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services if women's health outcomes are to be transformed, including reducing maternal and child mortality. This is consistent with the global ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs also reaffirm the Programme for Action agreed 25 years ago by 179 countries, including Ireland, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). A High Level Summit - “Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise”, 12 to 14 November 2019 – was convened by the Governments of Kenya and Denmark, together with UNFPA, to mark the 25 years since Cairo. The Nairobi Summit has helped to galvanise political and financial commitments needed to complete the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action.
At the Nairobi Summit, Ireland reaffirmed its commitment to the Cairo Programme of Action and the SDGs including elements relating to women’s health and on ending gender based violence A full list of the commitments made by participants in the Nairobi summit, including Ireland, is available on the ICPD25 website: www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitments.
In all, over 1,200 commitments were made at the Summit by Governments, the private sector, faith-based organisations, academia, and civil society. Ireland plans to use the existing reporting systems for the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, i.e., the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), for stock taking on and follow-up to the national commitments announced at the Nairobi Summit as appropriate.
It has also been suggested that the Nairobi commitments be monitored by a Commission set up by UNFPA that will run until 2030, alongside the SDGs and Ireland would support such an approach.