CM/AS(2005)Rec1675 prov. 22 April 20051
925 Meeting, 4 May 2005
6 Social Cohesion
6.2 A European strategy for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights –
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1675 (2004)
1. The Committee of Ministers has studied with interest Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1675 (2004) on a European strategy for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as Resolution 1399 (2004) on the same theme, which develops further the Assembly's recommendations to member states. It has brought them to the attention of the governments of member states.
2. The Committee of Ministers shares the Parliamentary Assembly's commitment to furthering access to sexual and reproductive rights, as witnessed by the Assembly's endorsement in 2003 of the Ottawa Statement of Commitment, giving priority to universal access to reproductive health services. The Committee also recalls the Assembly's Resolution 1394 (2004) on the involvement of men in reproductive health, and welcomes the extensive overview of the current action of the Council of Europe contained in the Assembly's present resolution.
3. The Committee of Ministers recognises the importance to be given to work in the area, which incorporates activities into the framework of broader issues of public health protection. In this context, the Committee recognises the strong link between “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and HIV/AIDS and recalls the commitments made by member states through, inter alia, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (2001) and the regional conferences on HIV/AIDS in Dublin and Vilnius during 2004. It is hence in the spirit of integrated strategies and multi-pronged approaches that the Council of Europe member states will enhance the protection of “sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
4. The work of the Steering Committee for equality between Women and Men (CDEG) has addressed issues of reproduction and sexual health as part of the mainstreaming approach to equality between women and men. The European Population Committee (CAHP) has published studies on the sexual and reproductive behaviour (including contraceptive practices and abortion) of adolescents. Its work in 2003 focused on the role of education and information in reproductive health.
5. The exchange of experiences between member states, as requested by the Assembly, forms part of the regular activities of the European Health Committee (CDSP). The CDSP has expressed its willingness to encourage member states to contribute to these exchanges (see the appended comments) in the area of “sexual and reproductive health and rights”. The Council of Europe's joint project on “Health Promoting Schools” with the WHO and the European Commission presently provides a means of promoting sex education in Europe. The CDSP considers that many of the recommendations it has already elaborated offer guidance for national health strategies, but is ready to consider the inclusion of issues raised by the Assembly in its future recommendations, including those currently under preparation. Furthermore, all the CDSP programmes are based on strategies for incorporating ethical, social and human rights dimensions of health.
6. With respect to the collection of data and the development of indicators on sexual and reproductive health, the European Population Committee has already taken initiatives in this field. However, the Committee of Ministers considers that other organisations, in particular the WHO, UNAIDS and the OECD, carry out important and useful activities in this field, and the Council of Europe will continue to take advantage of their activities, so as to avoid duplication of work.
7. As to the Parliamentary Assembly's call for specific guidelines to assist member states in drafting national sexual and reproductive health strategies, the Committee of Ministers reiterates its opinion that there are many guidelines already developed by international organisations, which could feed into national efforts. The Council of Europe member states would benefit from further exchange of information of such existing tools as well as the guidance by the CDSP in addition to that already provided by the existing Council of Europe instruments in the social and health fields.
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.