04/08/2014 06:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Day 2 Recap: Keeping Youth and Human Rights in Focus


Suzanne is blogging live from New York, where she is serving on the U.S. delegation for the 47th Commission on Population and Development.

As the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) progressed today, we encountered new roadblocks. Not about grounds passes and room reservations (much of that has been resolved -- bravo!), but about the very essence of this Commission. Why we are here and what we're expected to achieve.

Apparently, according to some delegations, the text we're negotiating is not about human rights. Not about youth. We are here for population and development, and the negotiated text should reflect that focus.

I know, I know. Read it again. It confused us, too. What is population and development about if NOT about human rights and youth?

Pursuing a development agenda of any size and scope without putting human rights at the very center of all deliberations, debate, discourse and design is to miss the point. Profoundly.

As for youth being a "distraction" to the work at hand, one need only look at the numbers. The number of young people in the world today. The number of young people who aren't having their basic needs met for education and meaningful employment. The number of young people who need their sexual and reproductive health and rights fulfilled so they can help us achieve our shared development agenda, and achieve their desired and deserved futures.

In fact, the linkages between human rights, young people, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the ICPD Program of Action, and whatever comes next as part of the post-2015 agenda is where the rubber hits the road, if you will.

As PAI has said time and time again, people are at the center of our work. It is a woman's face, or a girl's smile, that should be the engine of the change we want to see. As for the "core" work of the Commission, let's break it down:

• Trends in fertility matter because families, in all their diverse forms, are driving these trends.

• Contraceptive prevalence rates matter because women, both married and unmarried, are driving those rates up and down, depending on how well we have met their needs for method choice, access and more.

• Population dynamics matter because people are dynamic themselves -- they are rural and urban, they are poor and wealthy, they are migrating and displaced, and much, much more.

As we look toward Friday, and the conclusion of our deliberations, we envision a strong outcome document that does justice to the time, energy and resources that Member States, civil society, and United Nations personnel have dedicated to the undertakings of the Commission.

We are hopeful, dedicated and passionate. We will push for an outcome document that will make women and girls the world over proud.

To read yesterday's recap, click here.

For live daily updates from #CPD47, be sure to follow Suzanne (@SuzannePAI) on Twitter!