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WAS Statement About the Conclusion of the Commission on Population and Development

April 21st, 2023

THE WORLD ASSOCIATION FOR SEXUAL HEALTH (WAS), a non-governmental organization with special consultative status from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), was represented at the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development by Ms. Esther Corona, WAS International Liaison Committee Chair and Member of the Executive Committee.


WAS had also participated in meetings with UNESCO and UNFPA on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). In this context, WAS issues the following statement.

The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) expresses its disappointment by the lack of consensus in the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) to reaffirm and advance commitments towards sexual and reproductive health and rights. The fifty-sixth session of the commission, held on 10-14 April 2023, ended without an agreement on an outcome, which would have focused on population, education and sustainable development.

WAS represents sexual health, rights and education organizations and experts from around the world that look up to the commission to fulfill its crucial role in advancing the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Next year, the international community will mark thirty years since the adoption of the ICPD in Cairo. This is the time to overcome differences and work together with reinvigorated resolve to design and implement government policies and legislation that advance the achievement of the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual health.

WAS appreciates the efforts made over three weeks of negotiations and regrets that 22 countries were unable to support language which had been agreed by the commission a decade ago, particularly on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). This political pushback undermines our collective efforts towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We recall the commitment in target 3.7 to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including education.

WAS stresses that lack of comprehensive sexuality education has actual consequences on people’s lives. It is needed to empower young people to make informed decisions about relationships and sexuality. Its absence leaves them vulnerable to coercion, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. Without it, many facing greater risks will be left behind, in particular women and girls, youth, LGBTQI+ people, migrants and Indigenous Peoples.

WAS is committed to providing professional advice to governments and increasing evidence-based research which supports comprehensive sexuality education. We resolve to strengthen our advocacy at the national, regional and international levels, including with relevant United Nations bodies. We recognize the need for the expertise of WAS members to counter growing disinformation by an increasing number of civil society organizations at the United Nations.

WAS reaffirms that sexual rights are grounded in universal human rights that are already recognized in international and regional human rights documents, in national constitutions and laws, human rights standards and principles, and in scientific knowledge related to human sexuality and sexual health. As stated in our Declaration of Sexual Rights, everyone has the right to education, including comprehensive sexuality education.

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