November 15, 2019

If You Make Abortion Illegal, It Will Happen Anyway –Akina Mama wa Afrika at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted a landmark Programme of Action which set out to support women and girls to reclaim their bodily autonomy and choice, for their sake and that of their families, communities and nations. Akina Mama wa Afrika participated at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 joining thousands of Feminists, women rights’ activists, government and private sector actors to commemorate ICPD the anniversary of the ICPD which set out to lift millions of women and girls, their families and communities from exclusion and marginalization, and enable nations to harness the demographic dividend to grow their economies.

Since Cairo, a number of gains have been made but women and girls continue to be left behind. Young people are still not exercising their agency, lack proper education and access to critical health services. With 2030 fast approaching, the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved if the goals laid out in 1994 are not reached. The Nairobi Summit convened by the governments of Kenya and Denmark and UNFPA reenergized the global community, breathing new life into the ICPD agenda. Discussions revolved around achieving zero unmet need for family planning information and services, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

The Summit was a watershed moment as various partners made bold commitments to transform the lives of women and girls and achieve global sustainable development by ending all maternal deaths, unmet need for family planning and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030. Country specific pledges included Uganda’s commitment to stand firm in eliminating obstacles that stand in the way of empowering girls including teenage pregnancy, child marriage and all forms of gender based violence by promoting universal access to all methods of family planning and reduce unmet need of family planning access from 28% to 10% by 2022 and scaling up technical and vocational training to create life skills relevant to the labour market, complemented with increase in financial support towards reproductive health and family planning supplies and commodities. A notable commitment from the Republic of Seychelles was to repeal all laws discriminating against women and girls by 2022. Almost USD1billion was pledged towards efforts to improve SRHR and HIV/AIDS services as well as tackle violence against women.

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