Young leaders from Moldova make commitments to accelerating the promise of ICPD

2 August 2019

Vadul lui Voda, 30 July, 2019 - 30 young leaders, members of the Local Youth Councils and Youth Centres from the Republic of Moldova, participated in a consultation session dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development from Cairo (ICPD). They discussed changes in the opportunities to fulfil the rights of young people in the past 25 years, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health, and committed to act for change in their communities.

Young leaders from Moldova in a dialogue about their rights and choices.

Victoria Botan, a young woman with locomotor disability, who moderated the discussion, challenged the group to think of the opportunities and barriers experienced by young people from vulnerable groups, especially those with disabilities, HIV positive, ethnic minorities.

 “As a person with disability, I must say that we still face difficulties in exercising our rights. Access to health services, including reproductive health, is a fundamental human right; But it is often limited because of poor infrastructure and negative attitude. We need to promote human dignity and equal opportunities for everyone, so that no one is left behind“, Victoria said.

Victoria Botan, a young activist for the rights of people with disabilities, including their reproductive health rights.

The young people agreed that positive changes have been made since 1994 in Moldova to address the rights and needs of young people mainly in the areas of education and health. However, even achieved progress has not reached all young people in the country. Inequalities affected heavily adolescents and youth living in rural areas, coming from ethnic minorities, growing up without parents and those with disabilities.

The biggest challenge remains regarding the access of young people to quality information, education and services on sexual and reproductive health and rights partly due to the existing taboos, stigmatization and stereotypes in the society. 

The issue of adolescent pregnancy and birth is still serious in Moldova. Every year, more than 2,000 young girls give birth, which is equal to the population number of several villages in the country. An early pregnancy limits girls in reaching their goals in education, personal and professional development, thus, increasing their vulnerability to violence and poverty.

Dumitru, Y-PEER educator, is vocal about the sexual and reproductive health rights of young people in Moldova.

This is how Dumitru, a Y-PEER educator, explained the situation: “This happens because young people are still ashamed to talk about sexuality and reproductive health and rights with their parents and teachers. They get the information from the internet, which is not always reliable”.

Elena, a youth worker from Ungheni Youth Centre added: “Adolescent pregnancy is a result of lack of information, sexual abuses and wrong behaviours”, which needs to be further addressed.

Young people agreed that they need access to quality health education in schools, while teachers need to be prepared to talk openly about these issues. The society also needs to change attitudes, to promote gender equality, accept the differences and treat each other with empathy and tolerance.

In the end, young people were challenged to think about what they can do as individuals and as a group to change the situation in Moldova and realize the ICPD dream.

They committed to conducting awareness and advocacy campaigns, to promote empathy, to be vocal about their rights and needs and to support each other.

Young people are committed to act for change in their communities and move forward the ICPD agenda.

We, young people of Moldova, commit to finishing the ICPD agenda by:

1. Being actively engaged in advocacy and promotion of the rights of young people through peer-peer education on sexual and reproductive health, active participation in civil society, youth and grassroots networks.

2. Acting collectively and encouraging others to provide equal access to education, health, employment, social services for all young people especially those who are left behind in a society that all of us have equal opportunities in Moldova.

3. Informing and raising awareness in communities about tolerance and non-discrimination towards PLWHIV, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, young people.

4. Using innovations in educating young people especially those from vulnerable groups to avoid risky behaviours, teenage pregnancy, HIV.

5. Being vocal about the sexual and reproductive rights of young people at local, national and global forums.

6. Collaborating with local authorities to ensure that youth centres have friendly and accessible spaces for the development of all young people in Moldova.

Young people actively engaged in the consultation process.

From 12-14 November, the governments of Kenya and Denmark and UNFPA are co-convening the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, a high-level conference to mobilize the political will and financial commitments urgently needed to finally and fully implement the ICPD Programme of Action. These commitments will be centred around achieving zero unmet need for family planning information and services, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

 The ICPD consultation session was organized within the Youth Summer camp supported by UNFPA Moldova, as part of the ‘Joint Fund for the development of Youth Centers and strengthening participation and civic engagement among young people of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and UNFPA’.