News

Unwanted pregnancies: Action to defend rights

06/06/2016

Every year, 80 million women are faced with an unwanted pregnancy. 22 million take the risk of an unsafe abortion: 47,000 lose their lives. Yet all the means are available to avoid these deaths.
Since 2014, Doctors of the World (MdM) has been meeting the needs of women, couples and teenage girls in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Gaza, Haiti and Peru with AFD’s support. These projects are conducted in partnership with local organizations and health authorities.

Unsafe abortions: 3rd leading cause of maternal mortality

While an increasing number of countries are integrating access to contraception as a priority, these efforts do not always lead to an availability of services, and health systems continue to exclude certain categories of women, particularly unmarried women and teenage girls. Unsafe abortions, the 3rd leading cause of maternal mortality, are a public health challenge and seriously hinder economic and social development.

Today, 225 million women who would like to avoid or postpone a pregnancy still do not have access to contraception. Doctors of the World actively supports the right of every woman to use a safe and effective contraceptive method in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and have access to a voluntary interruption of pregnancy (VIP) which is without risks and legal, where applicable.    

How to take effective action?

Doctors of the World operates on 3 levels:

1- Strengthening healthcare provision: For example, in Burkina Faso, the health centers in the Djibo district have been equipped with ultrasound scanners, and staff have been trained in how to use them, for instance, to detect fetus malformations and provide access to a termination of pregnancy in this context.

“Abortion is forbidden in Burkina Faso, unless it is a therapeutic abortion […]. The mother’s life is in danger and we try to save the mother […]. There is also hygienic abortion, often when a woman has an ultrasound scan and we see that the child inside has a malformation, in this case we can terminate the pregnancy.”
Midwife, Burkina Faso

2- Informing about sexual and reproductive rights: In Haiti, Doctors of the World works with POZ (Promoters of the Zero AIDS Objective) to run a hotline which aims to facilitate access to information about sexuality and sexuality education services for young people.

“My message is for hospitals who do not receive women who want an abortion, I would like to say to them that all women are women and that it is necessary to receive them […]. I advise all women like me who do not want to get pregnant to use family planning and use a condom.”
Mrs. Y. M, Haiti, February 2016

3- Conducting advocacy to promote and respect sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), focused on access to contraception and safe abortion. For example, last March, a delegation of parliamentarians from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and DRC participated in the symposium “The Right to Abortion: An Urgent Combat” organized by MdM in Paris.

Mobilizing actors

Guaranteeing access to contraception and medical abortion for all requires the commitment of all actors, starting with governments, which must support policies that defend women’s rights. Efforts must focus as a priority on sexuality education, and especially target young people, access to comprehensive service provision for the prevention and management of unwanted pregnancies, as well as the reduction of stigma and the integration of sociocultural, economic and geographical determinants in order to allow all men and women to make their own choices.

In 2015, Doctors of the World conducted a study on the sociocultural and community determinants of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gaza and Peru. A comparative analysis, highlighting the specificities and similarities between the obstacles encountered by young women in the different contexts, is also available here.



Rémy Rioux appointed Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement by the Council of Ministers today, 25 May 2016

25/05/2016

Today, on a proposal made by François Hollande at the Parliament on 27 April 2016 and following a unanimous favorable vote of MPs and a majority of Senators, Mr. Rémy Rioux, 46, Deputy Secretary General of the French Ministry of Foreign affairs and International Development, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement, a Public Industrial and Commercial Establishment responsible for development in Southern countries and the French overseas territories. Rémy Rioux, AFD’s 11th Chief Executive Officer, will take over as head of AFD on 2 June 2016.

Rémy Rioux was born in June 1969 in Neuilly-sur-Seine and is an alumnus of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, Sciences Po, and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration. He is a historian by training, a former student of Alain Corbin and Pierre Nora, and Senior Advisor at the Court of Auditors. During his career, he has alternately held responsibilities in France and for development in Africa.


Rémy Rioux appointed Chief Executive Officer of AFD © Alain Buu

At the age of 26, Rémy Rioux discovered Africa during an ENA internship in Benin, and subsequently by campaigning to promote the harmonization of business law in Africa. He has a love of this continent and has travelled across it throughout his career, established close ties there, and acquired a recognized expertise in development issues. He worked at the Directorate of the Treasury from 2004 to 2007, and subsequently from 2010 to 2012, where he contributed to modernizing monetary cooperation with African Franc Zone member countries, participated in the resolution of the Ivorian crisis, and contributed to making the issue of infrastructure and development central to the international agenda of the G20. At the time, he was a Member of the Boards of Directors of AFD and its subsidiary PROPARCO.

Rémy Rioux also conducted control missions in the energy and defense sectors at the Court of Auditors between 1997 and 2004. He worked at the Ministry of the Interior from 2000 to 2002, at the Office of the Minister Daniel Vaillant, where he was responsible for the budget and changeover to the euro. He also held a position at the State Holdings Agency (APE), from 2007 to 2010, as Chief Investment Officer responsible for the transport and media sectors, and sat on the Boards of Directors of various companies (SNCF, RATP, ADP, Renault, France Télévisions, France Médias Monde, Arte, le Grand Port Maritime du Havre).

In 2012, he was Director of the Office of the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade, Pierre Moscovici. He was actively involved in redefining economic relations between Africa and France and in the work conducted by Jacques Attali on economic Francophonie. Two years later, Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, appointed him Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry, in charge of economic issues. Alongside the Minister, he managed the financial component of the negotiations for COP21.

Following the announcement made by the French President in September 2015 of a revival of France’s Official Development Assistance policy and an increase in development and climate finance (by EUR 4bn by 2020, to reach EUR 12.5bn of annual commitments, including EUR 5bn for the climate), he was entrusted with a preparatory mission for the establishment of closer ties between Agence Française de Développement and Caisse des Dépôts, which aims to provide France with a tool capable of meeting the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He is a man of dialogue and conviction and is deeply attached to the Massif Central region, particularly Corrèze and Lozère, where he regularly stays with his wife and three children.

Key Dates

  • 26 June 1969: Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
  • 1997: Auditor at the Court of Auditors on leaving ENA (Marc Bloch Class), where he became Senior Advisor in 2013
  • 2001 and 2002: Budget Advisor at the Office of Daniel Vaillant at the Ministry of the Interior
  • 2003: Control missions in the energy and defense sectors at the Court of Auditors
  • 2004: General Directorate of the Treasury, Head of the Office for Monetary and Development Cooperation with African, Caribbean, Pacific and Franc Zone countries
  • 2007: Deputy Director for the transport and audiovisual sectors at the State Holdings Agency (APE)
  • 2010: Deputy Director for international financial affairs and development at the General Directorate of the Treasury
  • 2012 to 2014: Director of the Office of Mr. Pierre Moscovici at the Ministry of the Economy and Finance
  • 2014: Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in charge of economic affairs
  • 2015: Responsible for financial matters in the French negotiation team for COP21.
  • June 2016: Appointed the 11th Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Développement.
     


Returning land to Kogi Indians to regenerate forests

01/04/2016

In Northern Colombia, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, one of the world’s most remarkable and most threatened biodiversity hotspots, AFD is supporting a program which has two objectives: return land to the Kogi Indians and regenerate forests. It is being conducted by a French NGO Tchendukua - Ici et Ailleurs.*

Memory awakened in Colombia, 500 years after the conquest

The activities implemented are being jointly managed with the Kogi Indians, the last heirs of the great pre-Columbian societies in South America, and are based on the ancestral knowledge of the Mamas (meaning “sun” in Kogui, the language of the Kogi Indians), the spiritual and political authorities of the community. When the Kogis recover land which will be reforested, they awaken its memory via sacred sites, places of knowledge, which they rediscover and then revive. It is like a thousand-year-old memory, interrupted by 500 years of conquests, slowly coming back to life, in the turmoil of the approaching modernity. A few months after COP21, this is an original example of the joint building of projects which appear to be promising in terms of attempting to address the major challenges of our time.

After 15 years of work, it is impressive to see this deforested land, whose soil has been damaged by long years of intensive livestock farming, then by the farming and fumigation of coca, come back to life.

Amazing results

The results are there to see and they are amazing. Over 1,000 hectares have been restored and have become luxuriant again, villages have been rebuilt, and “Guacamaya” parrots are returning. Biodiversity is slowly being reestablished around each village and is necessary for the survival of the Kogi culture. There are, of course, food plants: yucca, malanga, yam, batata, corn, millet, sugar cane, beans, guandul, tomatoes, chili peppers, pumpkins, bananas, etc., combined with other non-food crops, such as calabash, totumo, agave and cotton which, after having been re-established, are now constantly developing. These plants and, more generally, these vast regenerated agro-forestry systems, allow the Kogis to be self-sufficient on their land, both for their food and clothing needs and for their architectural and spiritual needs.

 

 

From land-use to wise use?

In addition to the return of biodiversity, the dialogue with the Kogi Indians allows us to broaden our outlook and explore new ways of being and acting together, in order to address the major challenges of our time and give life to this premonitory phrase by the geographer Elisée Reclus: “Man is nature becoming aware of itself.” Land use will perhaps then once again be put to wise use, developed with care, and the human adventure will once again be vibrant and creative, as it will be in solidarity with this nature that supports and provides for us.

Eric Julien
Geographer, Founder of the NGO Tchendukua - Ici et Ailleurs



 
 
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