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The participation of the largest ever quota of youth and adults at such an event in Myanmar will help encourage debate on the challenges and barriers that youth and women face in the country in accessing sexual and reproductive health services and information. This will also give them confidence to speak out about their experiences and exchange best practices and lessons learned with other countries in the region. Most importantly, the conference provides opportunities to strengthen partnerships and forge alliances across the region to expand dialogue around SRHR.

Every two years the APCRSHR provides a forum where civil society, young people, academia, media, the private sector and development partners from Asia and the Pacific come together to push forward the boundaries for improved SRHR outcomes, and review calls to action and declarations from previous conferences. The 7th APCRSHR, that took place in Manila, the Philippines, in 2014, resulted in a declaration for governments to address inequalities in SRHR services in the region by removing discriminatory policies, addressing the lack of accountability mechanisms to track progress in preventing inequalities, and involving marginalized and vulnerable groups of the population in the implementation of SRHR programmes. This built on the call to action from the 6th APCRSHR in Indonesia, which again focused on respect for individual's SRHR, particularly marginalized groups, in the form of policies and programmes.

The conference enables participants to reflect on progress that has been made to date before collectively developing strategies and actions across and within regions to ensure that access to SRHR is universal and raising awareness that this is pivotal for sustainable development. UNFPA is providing support to the conference as part of its global advocacy to bring about a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Ms. Janet E. Jackson, Country Representative, UNFPA Myanmar said: "Significant events and crises have occurred over the last two years - and, in so far as they touch on development, political, social and humanitarian issues - these have often impacted on freedoms and rights when it comes to sexuality and reproductive health, especially for women and girls. This conference gives civil society, and NGOs especially, added courage for safeguarding these freedoms and rights".

Ms. Yoriko Yasukawa, Regional Director, Asia and the Pacific Regional Office, UNFPA Bangkok, will deliver a keynote speech at both the youth and main conference, affirming UNFPA's commitment to ensuring universal access to SRHR and the impact this has for sustainable development.