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WCY2014 - UNFPA Discusses The Right to Health of Adolescent Girls

In the definition of the post-2015 development framework, strong investment in the health of adolescent girls needs to be a top priority in order to close the equity gap worldwide and contribute to development across all three dimensions - economic, social, and environmental.

The panel for the event consisted of Dr. Kiran Rupakhetee, Under Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Nepal, Ms. Padmavathi Srinivasan, Technical Specialist, International Centre for Research on Women in India, and Ms. Argentina Matavel, UNFPA Representative, Bangladesh.

The panelists at UNFPA's first side event examined the current situation around adolescent girls' health and looked at the devastating consequences practices such as child marriage have on girl's sexual and reproductive health and rights. They used specific case studies from Nepal, Bangladesh, and India to promote the experiences and lessons learned in girls centered programme models that promote sexual and reproductive health and rights

Dr. Srinivasan gave a great presentation on the issues of child marriage and teenage pregnancy. She stated that "Ending child marriage is not an end in itself. Increasing the worth and value of the girl child is". She also went on to say that we cannot talk about issues like child marriage unless we address overarching issues like gender equality.

Using Nepal as a case study, Dr. Rupakhtee outlined the issues and dangers facing young girls using personal stories to highlight specifically, the harmful practice of child marriage.

Ms. Matavel used powerful statistics on issues like teenage pregnancy rates to highlight the fact that geographic location matters, in relation to how prevalent these issues are. Following up on this, Mr. Sibenaler stated that "A girl should not be a wife, and children should not be mothers".

All panelists spoke on the necessity for systematic attention towards the special needs of adolescent girls throughout the post 2015 global agenda.

Members of the audience participated in a Q & A session at the end where they had the opportunity to ask questions from panelists. Overall, the event was a great success and managed to spark a much needed discussion amongst the delegates at WCY2014.