BELFAST is this week playing host to a global gathering of sexual and reproductive health experts.
It is the first time the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Network has held its annual member meeting, the regional council, in Northern Ireland. Members include the UK’s sexual health charity FPA (Family Planning Association) and organisations from 38 other countries.
Across three days in the city, gathered experts at the Europa Hotel will discuss key movements in sexual and reproductive health policy and campaigning across the region, including a look at how access to infertility treatment varies.
The meeting will also put a spotlight on ongoing moves in Northern Ireland to modernise discriminatory abortion laws.
FPA’s Northern Ireland Director, Dr Audrey Simpson OBE, said: “We are proud to host the first regional council meeting in Northern Ireland and delighted to welcome representatives from across the EU, Eastern Europe and Central Asia to Belfast.
“IPPF has worked closely with FPA in Northern Ireland in its abortion rights campaigning and we have had valuable insight from other countries on how legislative change can and does take place.
“We look forward to three days of sharing our diverse experiences, so we can each take away examples of best practice and ideas of how we can further improve sexual health and reproductive rights for people.”
Vicky Claeys, Regional Director of the IPPF European Network, said: “It is a great honour and pleasure to have our meeting in Northern Ireland, especially because there is still so much at stake in regard to sexual and reproductive health, and in particular around abortion provision.
“The IPPF European Network fully supports the work of FPA, and in particular its work in Northern Ireland. It is a pity that so few people within Europe are aware of the challenges women face in this part of the UK.”
Dr Simpson is available for interviews today ahead of the conference, as well as before 9.30am and after 10.15am on Thursday 25 June. Representatives from IPPF are also available for interview.Please call Hannah Upton on 0207 608 5265 to coordinate this.