Southern Africa should recommit to promise of youth advancement: UNFPA

11 Sep 2019 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 11 SEP (NAMPA) – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) East and Southern African Region says it is time for the block to recommit to the promise of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda of ensuring rights, choices and empowerment of all young people to realise their full potential.
This was said by UNFPA Regional Director Julitta Onabanjo during a one-day multi-country dialogue held in Windhoek on Wednesday, while giving her speech titled ‘Reflections of a 25-year journey: ICPD and its contributions to agendas 2030 and 2063’.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ICPD meeting held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 - where 179 governments adopted a landmark programme of action, which set out to empower women and girls for their sakes and for the benefit of their families, communities and nations.
“The hard-won gains remain under threat in a world facing multi-dimensional forms of inequality, persistent discrimination, patriarchy, political turbulence, rising conservatism, constrained resources, as well as the impact of climate change,” said Onabanjo.
She emphasised that UNFPA is certain without fulfilling the promise of Cairo, the region cannot achieve the 2030 Agenda nor by extension Africa Agenda 2063.
The 2030 UN Agenda is a commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 worldwide, ensuring that no one is left behind, while Agenda 2063 is the blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.
Noting areas requiring urgent action, Onabanjo said there is a need to intensify demonstration of political, financial and community leadership by national governments, civil society, development partners and international and local communities to the socio-economic and environmental obstacles faced by women, youth and the most left-behind.
Another area includes securing a healthy, educated and skilled human capital for emerging respective markets and developing economies; advancing generation and use of high-quality disaggregated data and demographic intelligence to guide high-impact policy actions.
Equally the region should be advancing climate change resilience through a rights-based and people centred approach in policies, programme adaptation strategies and financing, considering the impact in the region.
“We must now know that in the future the two most critical confounders will be technology and climate change, hence there is a need to integrate various aspects for Africa as adaptation is key,” Onabanjo noted.
The Windhoek dialogue served as a build-up to the 25th ICPD anniversary with a high-level conference scheduled to take place on 14 to 16 November 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.
It was attended by various representatives including young people from Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa.