|UNFPA - World Population Day 2010|
Incredibly, these very issues were missing from the agenda of the conference on emissions reduction in Copenhagen in December (2009). They were missing from the UN summit on climate change held in NYC in September 2009.
In her article "Factoring People Into Climate Change" in The Nation, Barbara Crossette discusses the connection between reproductive/women's rights and the environment and the reasons for silence about them at summits and conferences.
NGO activists see the connection and
UN officials are largely on the same page. Helen Clark, the new administrator of the UN Development Program, said at the Berlin forum that "educating women and families in the developing world on the number of children they actually wish to have, improving the health of women and promoting gender equality, reducing poverty and hunger, and mitigating climate change" form a virtuous circle.
Governments, however, disagree and wish to leave population off the agenda, especially India, which sees any discussion of population control as the West attempting to block its growth. India's influence among other developing nations ensures the continued absence of population and related women's and reproductive issues from conference agendas.
The refusal to discuss women's sexual health, gender equity, and reproductive rights does not surprise me; both traditional societies and more advanced ones stumble when it comes to granting full agency, personhood, and autonomy to women. Maybe we will literally go up in flames rather than grant women full, functioning equality!