12/05/2014 03:51 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2015

We Must Not Forget Sexual and Reproductive Health And Rights For All

Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released an advance copy of his synthesis report on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the road ahead for development efforts in the post-2015 era. We at Women Deliver welcome this report and its call to action to leave no one behind.

We are pleased to see that human rights and health for all people -– regardless of gender, age or nationality -– will form the foundation of the next development agenda. And we are particularly encouraged that the report specifically recognizes the critical importance of improving women’s health and rights as well as the rights and involvement of young people, who are rightly called the “torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030.”

However, dignity and justice should –- and must –- also mean that all women and girls can experience their sexual and reproductive rights, and access the health care they need. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly for adolescent girls, needs to be a priority in the post-2015 world. We know that when girls and women survive and thrive, there is a positive ripple effect throughout society: communities and economies are stronger, environments are more resilient and everybody wins.

The final draft of the Secretary-General’s report will be released in late 2014, and intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development framework are expected to begin in January 2015. We hope this process will strengthen and secure girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the final set of Sustainable Development Goals, which are anticipated to launch in September 2015.

In May 2016, we will have an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made and the challenges that remain for girls and women around the world at the Women Deliver 2016 conference in Copenhagen. As the first global gathering of women’s health and rights advocates after the SDGs are adopted, this meeting will provide a critical platform for honing in on how the major goals and targets related to girls and women will be implemented calling on the global community to do more to deliver for girls, women and young people everywhere.

Together, let’s make this the “century of women” that the Secretary-General has called for -– but let’s not forget about girls.