The international Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) came to a close on Thursday with a strong resolve to eradicate vices that have retarded women and girls empowerment across the globe.
The conference dubbed ‘The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise’ and which attracted more than 9500 participants from more than 170 countries offered an inclusive platform, bringing together governments, UN agencies, civil societies, private sector organizations, women’s groups and youth networks.
Speaking when he officially closed the three-day conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said the meeting had unanimously agreed on triple zero on family planning, maternal deaths and gender based violence.
“The conference has unanimously agreed to ensure zero unmet for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths as well as zero gender based violence and harmful practices against women, girls and the youth,” said Dr Ruto.
He said Kenya would continue to work hard to protect the rights of women and girls as well as promote their empowerment programs.
He said Kenya under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta would continue to accelerate its efforts by packaging priority actions to realize women’s empowerment.
Dr Ruto said he was encouraged by the consensus that has emerged that advancing women’s rights and well being goes a long way in unlocking the social power that is needed to power positive economic and political transformation.
“Investing in women and girls is good as an end in itself, but also yields tremendous dividends that accelerate sustainable development in terms of reducing inequality, poverty and unemployment and generating continuous economic growth,” he said.
Dr Ruto singled out access to secondary and tertiary education, more rapid reduction in maternal deaths, and the total elimination of FGM and child marriages as some of the areas that the government was prioritizing.
The Deputy President added that acceleration of equal participation by women in all spheres of social, political and economic endeavour was also part of the government’s efforts to empower women.
“This focus will require stronger partnerships with other governments, development partners, civil society, private sector, religious communities and most critically, women and youth organisations,” said Dr Ruto.
“Our commitments are intrinsic components of our constitutional dispensation and national socioeconomic transformation blueprint,” he added.
He called for concerted effort in the fight against gender based violence, maternal deaths, female genital mutilation, early marriage as well as unemployment, poor school enrollment, transition and completion and inadequate skills.
“We realize that the strength of our commitments to the ICPD Action Plan is commensurate with the speed of attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. We are building a society that reflects these commitments in every sphere of endeavour and economic endeavour,” he said.
He said the focus would require stronger partnerships with other governments, development partners, civil society, private sector, religious communities and most critically, women and youth organisations.
“Our commitments are intrinsic components of our constitutional dispensation and national socioeconomic transformation blueprint,” said Dr Ruto.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director, Natalia Kanem, praised Kenya for its resolve to ensure FGM was eradicated in the next 10 years.
“I want to commend the commitment by President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure FGM is eradicated in Kenya within the shortest time possible,” she said.
Dr Kanem said her organization would establish a new high commission to drive the agenda of the implementation of the commitments that have been made in the just concluded Nairobi Summit.
“We are going to create a new high commission to drive our agenda and monitor the implementation of the commitments that have been made in this Nairobi Summit,” said Dr Kanem.
She added: “Promises made are promises kept.”
Ms Karen Elman from Denmark said she was optimistic that the Nairobi Summit would be a milestone to women’s empowerment across the globe.
She said Denmark was impressed that the conference was inclusive, active involvement of youth and that there was more focus on how to end practices such as FGM, gender violence and early marriages among other vices, which hinder development of women.
“What we know what to do is to ensure an effective follow up of the promises that have been made. There is enough talking and it is now time to implement what we say,” said Ms Elman.