Member States, experts and WHO partners discuss sexual and reproductive health in Europe


The Regional Consultation on the development of the European Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)  was organized by the WHO/ Europe in UN City, Copenhagen on 14-15 December 2015.

It was attended by representatives from 36 Member States of the WHO European Region, international experts, WHO partner organizations and other stakeholders.

 In the opening speech  Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, linked the Action plan with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as with implementation of the European strategic policy  framework Health 2020. She emphasized the sensitive nature of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and urged participants of the Consultation to have an open discussion on the main challenges in the area of SRHR in the Region and the global strategic priorities presented by the experts and secretariat.

Prior to the event the 1st draft Action Plan, based on the outcomes of the expert meeting in April 2015, was shared with the delegates for discussion. It focuses on three main goals: 

  • promoting sexual health and well-being and sexual rights, 
  • promoting reproductive health and well-being and reproductive rights, 
  • striving for universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and rights and reduction of inequalities

Sexual and reproductive health is relevant to all life stages and closely linked with other health areas such as mental health, obesity, communicable and noncommunicable diseases. WHO staff working in the area of health systems, child and adolescent health and healthy aging, vaccine preventable diseases, nutrition and physical activity, mental health, violence prevention, HIV/AIDS and noncommunicable diseases, WHO consultants in the area of tobacco control, nursing and midwifery  actively  participated in the discussions. They emphasized that the goals and targets of the recently approved Regional strategies and action plans are important in improving sexual and reproductive health.

Representatives from the Regional Offices of UNFPA, UNICEF, IPPF European Network, EBCOG, WHO collaboration centers presented their visions  and strategies for collaborating with WHO on finalizing and implementing the European Action plan.  

Delegates from the Member States actively commented on the Action plan and made their suggestions based on the priorities in their countries. In addition, they requested background documents to the Action Plan, guidelines for the selection of indicators for monitoring, and highlighted the importance for the draft document to be evidence based.

The consultation agreed on the future steps in developing the next version of the European Action Plan for SRHR and involvement of all parties in the process of improvement of sexual and reproductive health in the European Region.