"The largest generation of adolescents in history - 1.2 billion strong - is preparing to enter adulthood in a rapidly changing world. Their educational and health status, their readiness to take on adult roles and responsibilities, and the support they receive from their families, communities and governments will determine their own future and the future of their countries.
UNFPA. 2003. State of World Population 2003.
In February 2005, 50 people from the United States and European Union, between the ages of 17 and 25, came together in Brussels, Belgium to discuss sexual and reproductive health.
The Transatlantic dialogue US-EU 'Knowledge is Power' Conference, of which Marie Stopes International was a co-organiser, was a unique opportunity for young advocates to voice their concerns about sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights (SRHR) based on their own experience and knowledge.
Together, they formulated a Programme of Action that gives recommendations to guarantee and protect their rights, now and in the future.
The Programme of Action calls for the participation of young people in the development, decision making, implementation and evaluation of SRHR policy at all levels. The delegates identified three main issues which must be urgently addressed by governments if comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people are to be realised:
. comprehensive sexuality education
. access to services and supplies
. addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The Programme identifies the barriers that must be overcome in order to successfully address each of the above concerns and gives specific recommendations for how this can be achieved in order to benefit young people now and in the future.