Scope and purpose

In 2004 the World Health Assembly adopted the first Global Strategy on Reproductive Health. The overarching objective of the strategy is to accelerate progress towards meeting internationally agreed international development goals and reproductive health targets and, ultimately, to attain the highest achievable standard of reproductive and sexual health for all. The strategy is grounded in human rights as the guiding principle to accelerate progress.

The Strategy outlines that in order to ensure that these rights are respected the policies, programmes and interventions must promote gender equality, give priority to poor and underserved populations and population groups, especially adolescents, and provide special support to those countries that bear the largest burden of reproductive and sexual ill health. The Strategy defines that one of the core aspects of reproductive and sexual health care is promoting sexual health (Resolution WHA57.12).

Many Member States of the WHO European Region have made substantial progress in improving maternal and perinatal health, family planning, prevention of unsafe abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual health remains a challenge and requires more analyses and exchange of best practices in meeting the goals of the 21st century. Several Member States have recently prepared analyses of the sexual health status and developed national strategies and policies. In 2009 the European Commission has published situation analysis and trends on sexual behaviour in the European Union.

In line with these developments, the WHO Regional Office for Europe in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Policy of Spain, IPPF European Network and BzGA, WHO Collaborating Center in Cologne, Germany is proposing to hold the regional meeting of the national counterparts.

The aim of the meeting is to contribute to the improvement of sexual health in a health systems framework. The objective of the meeting is to discuss key concepts related to sexual health, to examine specific barriers to the promotion of sexual health for different target groups and to propose appropriate and effective strategies for promoting sexual health.

 The specific thematic focus for this meeting will be:
• Existing sexual health strategies and policies,
• Evaluation of sexual health status
• Sexual health of adolescents and young people (includes sexual education), elderly, migrants, people living with HIV and persons with disabilities.

Based on a joint review of country experience there will be discussions on challenges, achievements and developments. The meeting will be attended by national counterparts in the area of sexual and reproductive health from the Member States of the WHO European Region, representatives from WHO and other United Nations agencies, and other partners, including NGOs.
Recommendations for further improvement of sexual health will be developed by the participants of the meeting.