News – 21 January 2011
“Keep your promises to young people around the world,” is the central demand to world leaders in a new campaign video launched today (21.01.11) by ASK, the Irish Family Planning Association’s (IFPA) youth-led advocacy group.
The video is part of ASK’s Keep Your Promise campaign which aims to raise awareness of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) among young people in Ireland. The 8 MDGs represent an unprecedented global effort to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015.
The ASK campaign turns the spotlight on MDG 5 − improving maternal health and achieving universal access to reproductive health. The campaign video features messages from Irish youth leaders highlighting why this Goal is of particular importance to young people.
Key facts outlined in the video:
- Pregnancy and childbirth related deaths are the number one killers of girls aged 15 – 19 in low-income countries
- Young people under the age of 25 have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections and account for more than half of all new HIV infections
- Worldwide, more than 50 million adolescent girls aged 15-19 are married, some with little understanding of sex or reproduction
ASK spokesperson Grace Wilentz said: “Our youth-led campaign emphasises MDG 5 because it is the most off-track of all 8 MDGs and also because young people are the most in need of sexual and reproductive health services and information but are the least likely to have access to them.
“This campaign is our way of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our peers in the global south to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights are recognised as human rights, and as an element of equal opportunity and development.”
Irish youth-led and youth-serving organisations showed their support for ASK’s campaign by participating in the campaign video and signing The Copenhagen Declaration, a pan-European youth political statement calling on decision makers to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to make sexual and reproductive health a high priority on the development aid agenda.
Campaign supporters included: the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), SIPTU Youth, Labour Women, Young Greens, Ógra Sinn Féin, EIL Intercultural Learning, Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Voluntary Service International and Choice Ireland, among others.
Young people can sign the declaration or learn more about the campaign by logging on to: https://www.facebook.com/KeepYourPromise
The video is available at:
Notes to the Editor:
About the MDGs
In September 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the United Nations Millennium Development Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty. The declaration sets out a series of targets to be achieved by 2015; these have become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
While there has been significant progress in several areas, the goals related to young people’s sexual health are most off track. This includes pregnancy related death and illness, adolescent pregnancy rates, access to contraception, sex education, gender equality and HIV prevention.
ASK is the Irish Family Planning Association’s youth-led advocacy group. Formed in 2009, it aims to empower young people in Ireland to stand up for their own sexual health and rights and to advocate for increased availability of unbiased, accessible information on sexual health and rights.
Activities to date include the publication of a factsheet on how young people are central to the realisation of MDG 5b (Universal access to reproductive health), a briefing session for youth leaders on the Millennium Development Goals and a presentation to young people participating in a dance4life World AIDS Day event.