Executive Director Of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Dr. Natalia Kanem has called on the international community to recommit to the principles and objectives of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Programme of Action.
Speaking in Nairobi, Dr. Kanem said the aim of the Summit on ICPD to be held in Nairobi in November is to elicit firm commitments from governments, institutions and communities to end preventable maternal deaths, improve access to modern contraceptives and end gender-based violence as well as harmful practices.
“I am confident the Summit is going to re-energize the global community, breathe new life into the ICPD agenda and sustain or amplify gains made since 1994,” said Dr.Kanem.
Kenya, Denmark and UNFPA are expected to host an inclusive gathering for world leaders, heads of state and governments, officials from international organizations, heads of grassroots organizations, business leaders, youth and other stakeholders at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ground breaking ICPD, which took place in Cairo in 1994. During that conference, leaders articulated a bold vision regarding the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. Its Programme of Action, adopted by 179 governments, recognized that reproductive health, as well as women’s empowerment and gender equality, are the pathway to sustainable development.
According to data from UNFPA, about 300,000 women die each year—more than 800 a day—of complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable, and many of those who are girls.
“At least 15 million teenage girls worldwide have been forced into sex—often by partners, relatives or friends and only one in 100 seeks help,” said Dr.Kanem.
The UNFPA Executive Director further said gender based violence has also been on the increase globally and one in three women are subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime while rape is increasingly employed as a weapon of war.
“Despite all the gains since 1994, we unfortunately still have a long way to go before we can claim to have finished the business of the ICPD. Too many are still not enjoying their rights. Too many have been left behind,” said Dr. Kanem.
The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 is being convened by the governments of Kenya and Denmark, and UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, from 12-14 November 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.