Major Commitments Mark ICPD Summit Opening

THE summit to mark 25 years since the International Population Development (ICPD) kicked off today (November, 12 2019) in Nairobi, Kenya amidst major commitments by governments, civil society and private sector organisations to accelerate access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for women and young people.

By Michael Gwarisa in Nairobi Kenya

The commitments are being made during the three-day Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, taking place 25 years after the landmark International Conference on Population and Development, in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted an action plan for women’s empowerment and sexual and reproductive health for all.

Officiating at the ceremony, Kenya President, His Excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta said commitments made at the 1994 ICPD summit needed to be fast-tracked to ensure populations access quality healthcare services without facing any form of discrimination and or limitation.

Targets were set to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, increase access to education, achieve SRH, reduce infant and child mortality rates, reduce maternal mortality rate and also eliminate harmful gender practices.

“We are here today to once again rededicate ourselves to the commitments made in Cairo. We are here to celebrate progress made in the last 25 years and to make new commitments to complete the unfinished agenda,” said President Kenyata.

He added that in as much as there is still unmet need in terms of access to SHRH services, significant progress has been attained over the past 25 years.

“There is no doubt that since the landmark agreement that was made in Cairo in 1994, there has been significant through uneven progress in many areas. Today we have one billion fewer people living in extreme poverty than in 1990 and life expectancy at birth has increased by about seven years.

“Primary school education is accessible to most children in the world and the global maternal mortality rate has fallen about 45 percent. Fertility rate has also declined in most countries where the couples have better control over family size. There has been a steady, though slow increase in the number of women in leadership and decision making positions in all sectors of society.”

He also said that the Kenyan government was ready to recommit itself to the promise made at the Cairo convention and also promised to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in his country by 2022.

Meanwhile, The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem said at the start It was now time now “to finish that unfinished business.”

“The International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo began the push to put women and girls at the center of global development. This has paid off time and again. But that ICPD vision is still far from reality, and that journey that began 25 years ago in Cairo is far from over.”

She added that over the past 25 years, gains have been made in strengthening maternal health care and expanding access to quality contraceptive information and services. But there are still many who have not benefited from these gains, with more than 800 women dying during pregnancy and childbirth every day and 232 million women wanting to prevent pregnancy but not using a modern contraceptive.

The summit aims to tackle these problems as well as put a stop to gender-based violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation.

“The bold, rights-based vision of the ICPD – that development must put people first, that access to health, education and human dignity must be equal for all persons – informed the bold vision of the 2030 Agenda,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

As accelerators for the Sustainable Development Goals, the outcomes of the Programme of Action must be carried forward. Our common framework for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership depends on it.”

“We will continue to be among the major donors in the world in support of the ICPD Agenda: in particular of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights,” said Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Prehn.

“Denmark will continue to work at the very front together with partners. If we want to reach the 2030 agenda, we must fulfill the promise of Cairo.”

“Among Kenya’s many commitments are actions to accelerate equitable access and availability of sexual and reproductive health service so they reach young people too,” said Kenya’s Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Macharia Kamau.

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