FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
CONTACT: Madison Donzis | [email protected]
WASHINGTON, DC -- This morning, President-elect Biden announced his plans to nominate Ambassador Samantha Power for USAID Administrator and elevated the position to become a member of the National Security Council.
In reaction to the announcement, Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a leading global sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy organization, issued the following statement:
“We applaud President-elect Biden’s decision to nominate Ambassador Power as USAID Administrator. Ambassador Power has the experience and stature to put our foreign aid policies and programs back on track and pursue new policy solutions to advance the health and human rights of people who face stigma, discrimination, and political persecution.
“Most importantly, her nomination and the elevation of the position to the National Security Council, indicates the Biden administration is serious about U.S. cooperation internationally and fulfilling our global commitments and obligations.
“As UN Ambassador, Power worked alongside other nations to advance human rights, including the rights of women and girls, LGBTQI+ persons, and refugees. She did not shy away from difficult conversations and met with those who are marginalized and face stigma and discrimination -- those with whom high-level policy makers typically do not meet.
“Her leadership and experience will be critical in addressing the urgent mission of USAID including addressing the global COVID pandemic and climate change - and the rolling back of the regressive policies passed under the Trump administration, such as the newly released anti-gender policy that erases LGBTQI+ persons, the expanded global gag rule, and attacks on SRHR at the UN in alignment with authoritarian regimes.
“We are optimistic that under Power’s leadership there will be greater investment and coordination across agencies to respond to the health and human rights of women and girls, and others who are discriminated against globally. CHANGE stands ready to work with Ambassador Power to ensure quick action to stop implementation of the global gag rule. We also will seek action from her to ensure that U.S. funding supports abortion access as allowable by law in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. This is especially important for survivors of sexual violence and rape in conflict and crisis situations.”
“We congratulate Ambassador Power on this well-deserved nomination and we look forward to working with her to advance SRHR for all through U.S. foreign assistance.”
Late last year, CHANGE released its annual report grading U.S. government agencies - including USAID - on how their global health policies, investments, and programs have impacted three domains across SRHR: family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment.
In 2019, USAID received a C+, down from an A- in 2017. The SRHR Index graded USAID’s actions in 2019 considering how evidenced-based, consistent with human rights norms and principles, responsive to need, and gender transformative they were in regard to SRHR. CHANGE hopes that new leadership at USAID will take steps to improve their grade for 2021.
VIEW USAID’S 2019 GRADES HERE: www.srhrindex.srhrforall.org
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The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization that promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights as a means to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, by shaping the public’s conversation, elevating women’s voices, and influencing U.S. and global policies. We are guided by our vision of a world that respects, protects, and honors sexual and reproductive rights for all. Our work is grounded in and driven by a human rights framework at the intersection of multiple sectors including women’s rights, human rights, family planning, maternal health, HIV and AIDS, and gender-based violence.