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For Written Answer on : 08/03/2023
Question Number(s): 121 Question Reference(s): 11721/23
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide an update on the status of the new initiative on sexual and reproductive health and rights as outlined in the policy for international development, A Better World; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Government’s international development policy, A Better World, was launched in 2019 and includes a commitment to the development of an initiative on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). The Department expects to launch this initiative in the second half of this year.

Access to health services, including access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, is fundamental to transforming women’s health outcomes, is inherent in the right to health, and, is needed if we are to achieve full gender equality.

Improving the quality and availability of maternal health, engagement on the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, and our work internationally on the prevention and treatment of sexual and gender-based violence have been long-standing elements of Ireland’s development cooperation.  We are currently reviewing our existing work and identifying areas where there is scope to do more.

There is a need to scale up efforts to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies especially among adolescent girls.  The Department of Foreign Affairs has this year increased Ireland’s core contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to €4.5million. We will also provide additional support to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership to reduce the unmet need for safe modern contraception in 54 countries. The investment will contribute towards a reduction in the 121 million unintended pregnancies recorded annually, and in turn will reduce the number of unsafe abortions and improve maternal health outcomes for women.

The forthcoming initiative will seek to protect access to sexual and reproductive rights in crisis settings, in recognition that access to all elements of health care, including sexual and reproductive health, are most severely compromised during conflict and humanitarian crises.

Our renewed focus on SRHR will also respond to the impact COVID-19 has had on progress towards key targets defined for Sustainable Development Goal 3, Health and Well-Being.