New global partnership to advance comprehensive sexuality education
UNESCO, together with UNFPA, has set in motion a new initiative dedicated to advancing comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). The ‘Global Partnership Forum on CSE’ presents an opportunity for sharing good practice on delivering quality, evidence-based, age-appropriate sexuality education so that every child and young person has the foundation for a healthy life and happy future.
The Partnership Forum brings together development partners, civil society organizations, research institutions, bilateral partners, youth organizations and foundations, taking a big-picture look at the advocacy, research and programme work being conducted by the members to fast-track progress and make CSE a reality for all young people.
The evidence for comprehensive sexuality education is clear. It improves knowledge and self-esteem, changes attitudes, gender and social norms and builds self-efficacy. It has a positive impact on safe sexual behaviours while not hastening sexual activity. Yet despite the clear and compelling evidence, many children and young people are not receiving access to good quality CSE.
Recognising this, the new Global Partnership Forum on CSE will intensify collaboration, share good practice, and grow research. Instead of working in silos, this Partnership Forum aims to be the go-to space for dialogue, debate, and doing business together when it comes to CSE. It will work to mobilize the broader international community, and enhance commitments to CSE at global, regional and country levels. The Partnership Forum members meet monthly, starting in December 2020 and carrying through to the end of 2021.
CSE impacts on many different aspects of young people’s lives and the Forum will ensure a mobilized, active and visible community of CSE advocates and actors, advancing political and social dialogue on CSE with an aligned voice, and contributing to an enabling environment for greater commitment to CSE.
Vibeke Jensen, Director of the UNESCO division of education for peace and sustainable development said the Global Partnership Forum on CSE brought together actors with a common vision. “It is a vision of a world where all young people have the knowledge, skills and values they need to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections, to promote values of tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence in relationships, and to support a safe transition into adulthood.”
Ms Jensen encouraged organizations working to advance CSE to join the partnership, helping to advance effective approaches to the health and well-being of children and young people across the world.
Implementation of good quality CSE is vital to the achievement of several global and regional commitments on young people’s sexual and reproductive health, including several Sustainable Development Goals. CSE is also recognized as part of the essential sexual and reproductive health service package towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).