Preventing adolescent pregnancy – a development and human rights issue: PGA

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John W. Ashe

"I am deeply concerned that pregnancies amongst girls under age15 are on the rise in the Caribbean region", President of the UN General Assembly Dr. John Ashe said in a message to a High-level multi-stakeholder meeting on Reduction of Adolescent Pregnancy in the Caribbean.

 Dr. Ashe drew attention to the latest report on the State of the World Population which noted that in the Caribbean, about one in five women under 19 has been pregnant at least once.

He warned that for the Caribbean, where the rates of adolescent pregnancy are among the highest in the world, this is a very serious concern.

And he pointed out that the consequences of early pregnancy are long lasting and sometimes dire.

He noted that globally, adolescent pregnancy carries significant health risks for both mother and infant with 200 teenage girls dying in childbirth or following pregnancy complications, every day.

 According to Ambassador Ashe, preventing adolescent pregnancies is both a development and a human rights issue.

He called for a holistic approach to promote girls' and women's rights and rectify pervasive gender inequalities and discrimination.

He said the vital role played by women and the harnessing of the future potential of young girls is vitally important to the future we want, and in recognition of this, he would convene a High-Level event on the contributions of women, the young and civil society to the post-2015 development agenda to be held in March 2014.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) figures show that every year in the developing world, 7.3 million adolescent girls give birth; 2 million of them are under the age of 15.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1’35″

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