Gender equalityInternational conference of parliamentarians on women's and girls' rights
Berlin – On 16 and 17 April, members of parliament from 50 countries are meeting at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to discuss "Empowering women and girls to lead self-determined, healthy, and productive lives". The German All-Party Parliamentarians' Group on Population and Development, the German Foundation for World Population and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) are jointly hosting the conference on the occasion of Germany's G7 presidency. The approximately 140 participants will draft a joint final declaration, which is to be handed to the German Chancellor's G7 sherpa, Dr Lars-Hendrik Röller.
The conference will focus on women's and girls' sexual and reproductive rights, which is a priority area of Germany's development cooperation in the health sector. Under its development cooperation programmes, Germany seeks to foster people's right to make choices, gender equality, and access to information for young people, especially girls and young women. The BMZ is also working with like-minded international partners to advance this issue.
The economic empowerment of women will also be a key issue on the agenda of the G7 summit hosted by Germany at Schloss Elmau in early June. The relevant G7 initiative is to foster vocational training for women in developing countries, with the participation of private businesses. As part of its G7 presidency, Germany will therefore be encouraging enterprises to sign the Women's Empowerment Principles, seven voluntary principles launched by UN women and the UN Global Compact in 2010.
Functioning health systems are a vital prerequisite for women and girls to lead healthy, self-determined lives. This, too, is an important issue on Germany's G7 presidency agenda. The BMZ alone will be making available 205 million euros in additional bilateral funding for a special health programme for Africa in 2015 and 2016. Germany already successfully campaigned for a good result to the replenishment conference for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has already immunised 440 million children. Germany hosted the conference in January this year. Pledges actually exceeded the funding target of 7.5 billion US dollars. This means that another 300 million children worldwide can be immunised over the next five years, protecting them from fatal diseases.