#SheDecides conference raises 181 million euros for women and girls

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Funds raised #SheDecides conference Belgium

Today, with the participation of representatives from fifty governments as well as civil society, the Ministerial Conference She Decides took place in Brussels, joining forces and rallying financial support for the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls.

The She Decides Global Fundraising Initiative will support those non-governmental organisations and UN agencies that make sexual and reproductive health and rights a reality for millions of women and girls worldwide. According to Minister Liliane Ploumen from The Netherlands, who launched the initiative, She Decides is a global movement giving a voice to those who want to stand up for women’s right to decide.  

UNFPA’s Executive Direcor Babatunde Osotimehin called for a holistic view, acknowledging that recent setbacks in SRHR funding “threatens to throw us back to a period before 1994. This is huge. But,” he emphasized, “the response I’ve seen ahead and during She Decides makes me confident we can overcome.”

“What brings us together is a desire to take action in favour of women and girls”, stated the Minister for Development Cooperation of Belgium and host of the conference, Alexander De Croo. “If we are serious about the main objective of the Sustainable Development Goals, we know it will not happen without equality for women and girls. We want every pregnancy to be wanted and every delivery to be safe.”  

Ministers for Development from Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark on stage at #SheDecides conference in Brussels

Swedish Minister Isabella Lövin echoed this statement and underlined, “we, the women of today, are reaping the fruits of the battles of our mothers and grandmothers”, as she, on behalf of Sweden, pledged 21 million euros for the work for reproductive health and rights of women and girls.

“She Decides” delivers a strong statement and message, while being a pro-conference rather than anti-conference, underlined Mr. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation & Development.

Girls all over the world should be given the chance to go to school, finish their education and receive information regarding SRHR. All too often, contraceptives remain taboo and even if a girl knows about them, she often lacks the means to actually buy them – which results in unwanted pregnancies and sometimes fatal abortion attempts, as Adama Dicko, Member of the promotion and protection of families from Mali, emphasized.

In total 181 million euros were pledged by governments, NGO’s, foundations and the private sector. “This is not an initiative of the North,” said Mr Melesse, Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF.  “When it comes to the rights of women and girls, the rights of children, there is no North, there is no South. There is only the Globe.”

More information on the initiative and possible ways to contribute on www.shedecides.eu