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CSO Conference: Experts urge effective gender mainstreaming for sustainable development


On Wednesday, a section of Civil Society Organizations drawn from different countries convened in Nairobi to deliberate pertinent matters, especially those affecting the youth and women, ahead of the 2024 UN Civil Society Conference, to be held at the United Nations Office in Nairobi on 9-10 May.

This supports the Summit of the Future which will take place in New York during the UN General Assembly in September 2024.

Speaking during the Pre-conference meeting, UNFPA Country Director Anders Thomson underscored the need for sexual reproduction health, access to family planning, and women’s rights included, to make sure that youth and young people are being listened to at the negotiating table.

‘As the UN and civil society, we have come together to strategize ahead of the Summit of the Future which will happen in September in New York, where we will define what will come after the SDGs of which some have been achieved, but some have not’ said Thomson

Dr. Margaret Lubaale, the Executive Director for HENNET noted that women play a critical role in society and ought, for instance, to be guaranteed free access to family planning services. She further challenged the government to pump more funds into sexual reproductive health in a move aimed at securing the future of women and children.

“Just because family planning is not an antibiotic, does not mean it is not essential. When there are budget cuts, the first thing to be affected is the family planning commodities. Our call to government is to increase family planning financing, we are not just talking about condoms, but contraceptives of all types to be accessed freely,” said Dr.Lubaale.

Thomson agrees. He says governments in low-income countries should be in a position to fund family planning programmes due to competing humanitarian needs like floods. He, however, affirmed that UNFPA still supports family planning programmes.

“Climate change has lasting impacts on human health and disproportionately affects women and girls. Women, girls, and marginalized groups who are largely dependent on natural resources for livelihoods are among the hardest hit by extreme weather patterns. These weather patterns limit their access to food, education, and access to essential health services, including those that address sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR),” he said

Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins from the Population Action International (PAI), reiterated the need to build resilient communities in the middle of crises such as floods.

“Young people should be supported with fundamental healthcare which includes sexual reproductive health amidst crisis. We are fighting to ensure that those who want to access contraceptives do so and are treated with respect’ said Nabeeha.

She gave an example of abortion which she noted was one of the leading killers among women and should be recognized as an essential healthcare, adding that everyone should be allowed to have access to safe abortion.

The Summit of the Future is going to envision how generations will look like, not just in health but in the attainment of all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs targets.

Ruth Were
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