• The moral compass of the conference is the issues of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
• We must overcome the paradox that has for so long defined the humanitarian work; the role of women and youth is the key to success.
As the International Conference on Population and Development kicks off in Nairobi this week, bringing together heads of state, ministers, parliamentarians, technical experts, civil society representatives, private sector partners among other players, they must be cognisant of the current realities facing the continent. This year marks the 25th anniversary since the first gathering in Cairo.
The continent still grapples with rising poverty, poor education, increase in violence, hunger, famine amidst deteriorating climate, challenges of access to financing and the economic growth rate which is far too low to meet the growing demands of the continent.
This gathering must seek to address these pressing issues that have become a threat to the continent that has for so long been able to address high mortality rates, unsafe water supplies and corrupt governments, which often has depended on war, which has brought issues of instability leading to loss of lives and properties.
The moral compass of the conference is the issues of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, ending gender-based violence and harmful practices and upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health care even in humanitarian and fragile contexts.
These are critical issues that clearly show us that indeed, none of Africa’s problems is beyond the means and resources within the continent. What has largely lacked is proper policy-making and implementation. The role of women and youth is the key to success.
While this conference offers the road map for progressive development, it must seek to ensure women, youth and children are at the forefront. To ignore their voices is to do development at your own risk.