Onward to 2030: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 marked the first time specific issues related to sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) were included in global development goals (specifically those related to health, education, and gender equality). While the adoption of the SDGs is an important step toward improving SRHR globally, determining what constitutes success toward these goals and their targets will be both complex and vital. Failure to do so, however, could result in SDGs that are nothing more than a political declaration.
In late 2014 and early 2015, the Guttmacher Institute led one of many informal processes to produce recommendations relating specifically to SRHR indicators. Potential indicators were assessed in terms of their relevance and feasibility given the targets agreed upon for the SDGs. That included the extent to which each indicator reflects core SRHR principles and outcomes, and how it is prioritized by advocates, as well as whether data are available for a significant proportion of countries, are nationally representative and are tracked over time. The recommended indicators—some of which are currently measurable and some of which are “aspirational”—fall under the health, education and gender equality goals and span the gamut of SRHR issues.
Both the public and private sectors, including governments, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders, will be key to achieving the SDG targets and goals. The U.S., as the single largest donor in the developing world, has the opportunity to be a major player in their achievement by promoting SRHR issues abroad through diplomatic and development work.