Bigger and Better: The key Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Events in 2019!

Bigger and Better: The key Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Events in 2019!

January 17, 2019

Heading into 2019, you will no doubt be filled with new resolutions and fresh spirits for the coming 365 days! We have summed up some of the key events, activities, conferences and summits during the year for you to follow and engage in. Whether you’re an advocate, an expert or just passionate about international development and sexual and reproductive health and rights: these are your moments to shine! Whether its joining a campaign on some of these days, writing a blog or creating a vlog, engaging in the mentioned conferences and seminars, or just keeping an eye out and sharing what others are doing on these days, there’s always a way you can play a part.



January is quite peaceful! As most of us settle down into the new year, we have time to open up our planners and jot-down our goals and engagements.



February begins with the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on the 6th. As an advocate or organization, this could be a key moment to highlight why ending this practice needs more attention whether it’s by joining a campaign or reaching out to your network online.


The month also holds the opportunity for a UN civil society consultation on HIV and Human Rights on the 18thand 19thin Geneva. From the 25th onwards, the 40th UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be in full swing until the 22nd of March. Here, high-level deliberations linked to human rights will be made. In total, three regular sessions will be held in 2019 – lasting at least 10 weeks – and this will be the first one.



March will be kicking off big with the International Zero Discrimination Day catalyzed by UNAIDS on the 1st. 


A week later, on the 8th, marks the International Women’s Day – a wonderful moment to get vocal about women’s rights.  


Also in this month is the yearly UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, from the 11th to 22ndof March. The key theme will be ‘social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls’ and the ‘Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development’. You can find out more about the Commission on the Status of Women through our advocacy resources on You(th) Do It! and by watching the animation below.


The Commission on the Status of Women



And finally, between the 18th and 22th, LGBTI+ activists and allies will fly across the globe to share experiences and discuss the future of the LGBTI movement during the ILGA World Conference in Wellington, New Zealand. If you’re passionate and want to engage, registration is open!


Not to forget: March is Women’s History Month! So take the time this month to read up and share with your network, on how women have made history.



April will hit the ground running with another high-level, key UN event in New York between the 1stand the 5th of April. The Commission on Population and Development is historical as it will be taking place twenty years after the adoption of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. In our advocates' vlog you can get a feel for last years Commission on Population and Development and what to expect.



May is a month filled with moments to get active and get engaged! The International Day of Families – on the 15th– will be an opportunity to highlight that families can be beautifully diverse (be it same-sex couples, single parents and other loving relationships) and that policies need to be more inclusive of this.


Later in the month, the 21st marks the World Day for Cultural Dialogue and Development. Two days later, on the 23rd, the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula ( a serious condition affecting women and girls world) will be a wonderful moment to advocate for women and girls’ health and rights.



June will be buzzing in Vancouver (Canada) where the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women will be hosted. Between the 3rd and the 7th, the 2019 Women Deliver Conference will provide new inspiration, education and connection for activists, politicians and others.


As for other days to keep in mind, later in the month, the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict will take place on the 19th.  Followed a day later by the World Refugee Day on the 20th.


Lastly, the 41st session, the second session of the year, of the UNHCR will be ongoing from the 24th of June to the 1stof July.



In July, the world’s largest open scientific conference on HIV and AIDS will be held in Mexico City, Mexico. If you’re a researcher or work for a research institute, attending this event might be interesting. Also, the IAS Conference on HIV Science will be launched on the 21stof July and will last four days.

Also, don’t forget to get loud on the 11th, as we celebrate the World Population Day.



August will start with a bang, as the first week of the month is World Breastfeeding Week.

Also, on the 19th of August it’s the World Humanitarian Day, an ideal moment to reflect on SRHR in humanitarian settings.


At the end of the month, the World Congress on Sexual & Reproductive Health and Family Planning will happen between the 28th and 29th of August in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Congress aims to spur new innovation in reproductive Health and is currently accepting submissions. 



As the summer slowly comes to an end in September, the third session of the UN Human Rights Council will cover three weeks in September, from the 9th to the 24th.



October holds three International Days ready for activism and action! The 11th is the International Day of the Girl Child. The 15th is dedicated as the International Day of Rural Women.

Also in October: between the 12th and 15th the Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health will cover up to 45 (!) different topics in Mexico City, Mexico.



November sees a day not many think about; the 19thof November is officially dedicated as the World Toilet Day. This day highlights the need to advocate for better water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) around the world, as 4.5 billion live without a safe toilet and 892 million people still practice open defecation


Also in November: the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women deserves your attention and activism on the 25th of the month.




As for December, the year will end with a bang! Human Rights Day will be celebrated on the 10th, offering many options to campaign! The 18thwill be another moment to reflect on humanitarian settings with the International Migrants Day.


Last but not least, on the 20th, the International Human Solidarity Day will be a day to celebrate our unity in diversity; to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements and a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication. 




As the year continues, 2019 will surely be more fun, inspiring and empowering moments that will pop up. We would love to hear from you: which events are we missing? Let us know via Twitter.