The world has undergone several changes in recent decades, such as declining population growth, aging populations, increased external and internal migratory movements, epidemiological transition, rising youth unemployment. At the same time, many challenges still remain, such as persistent hunger, poverty and socioeconomic inequality, inequality between women and men, violence against women and girls, high rates of communicable infections, and low educational levels.
The challenges we face in Brazil are commensurate with the country’s territorial extension. We are not only a continental but also a diverse country, with a population of 210 million inhabitants. Brazil’s fertility rate is currently 1.6, which is already below the level of population replacement. The decline in fertility is attributed to reduced mortality combined with increased access to information and family planning services. Our country has also observed the aging of its population. The Brazilian government seeks to take advantage of this demographic bonus to implement public policies in order to prepare for this new reality. We have just approved in Congress an important reform of the pension system.
In order to demonstrate our commitment with these challenges, Brazil has presented 13 national commitments, around important issues such as family planning, maternal mortality, actions for adolescence and youth, fight against HIV and hepatitis C, quality of life and well-being of mothers and children, knowledge of traditional peoples and communities, the promotion of ethnic equality and combat against social inequalities, refugee and migrant reception efforts, fostering of family-friendly responsible practices by companies, prevention of suicide and self-harm, and the eradication of child and early marriage.
We recall the importance of achieving universal health coverage and access to meet many of the ICPD goals, including voluntary and informed family planning policies in accordance with countries legislations and priorities. Brazil has one of the largest public health systems in the world, the Unified Health System (SUS), which provides universal access to health-care services and medicines and vaccines. SUS provides access to safe, modern and effective contraceptive methods, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, prenatal care, assistance during delivery and subsequent follow-up, according to Brazilian legislation.
It is important to highlight that Brazil defends the right to life from conception and condemns the practice of abortion as a contraceptive or birth control method.
Brazil is also implementing family-centered policies and programs. We are convinced that the family is the basic unit of society, as stated in the article 16 (3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Supporting and investing in families is key to ending poverty and hunger, ensuring a healthy life and promoting well-being for people of all ages, as well as lifelong learning opportunities for all. Families have a crucial role in ensuring better education outcomes for children, including early childhood development, enabling access to employment and providing opportunities for decent work, assisting people with disabilities and empowering women and girls.
It is crucial, for example, to protect a healthy family environment to ensure a safe place for women and children and to combat and prevent violence and discrimination. We also prioritize helping families achieve a healthy work-family balance, including ensuring proper maternal care and breastfeeding for infants. Emphasis must be given to the necessary support for single-parent families. It is also necessary to promote intergenerational solidarity, with a view to maintaining quality of life for the elderly, including through public policies directed at children, youth and adults in the labor market.
Our countries face diverse challenges addressed in the ICPD Program of Action. In order to move forward, we invite countries to focus on issues that unite rather than divide us, and join forces around common goals. We call upon Member States to focus efforts, resources, and determination to fulfill the unfinished work around the ICPD Programme of Action and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in order to achieve a more harmonious, peaceful and prosperous world, leaving no one behind.