First Lady in Nairobi for int’l conference on population

First Lady Jeannette Kagame is a very strong advocate of family planning. For years she has also been at the forefront of fighting maternal deaths. Photo: Courtesy.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has joined other leaders in Kenya, for the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

This conference, jointly organised by the governments of Kenya and Denmark, as well as UNFPA, aims to take stock of the gains, challenges and future actions in effectively advancing the ‘Programme of Action’ adopted by 179 Governments, in Cairo in 1994.

According to the organisers, countries have made gains since then, but too many people are still being left behind.

More specifically, the meeting seeks to mobilise commitments aimed at promoting sexual reproductive health, family planning and gender equality.

At the same time, too many nations have not been able to fully reap the demographic dividend, as young people and other groups still lack agency, education and access to critical health services. Also increasing the pressure is the deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, they say.

“We cannot do that if we don’t also reach the goals laid out in the ICPD Programme of Action,” the statement from the organising committee reads in part.

The meeting seeks to mobilise the political will and financial commitments needed to fully implement the ICPD ‘Programme of Action’.

Organisers say such commitments will be centred around achieving zero unmet need for family planning information and services, as well as zero preventable maternal deaths.

Other commitments include working to achieve zero sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices against women and girls.

Mrs Kagame will be joining government officials and representatives of organisations to re-energise the global community and breathe new life into the ICPD agenda.

1994 commitments

In 1994, countries had come to a consensus to achieve universal primary education by 2015.

Countries had particularly committed to providing wider access to women for secondary and higher-level education as well as vocational and technical training.

Countries had also set out to reduce infant and under-5 child mortality rates by 35 per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality rate below 45 per 1,000 by 2015.

At the time, they had also said they would significantly reduce maternal mortality and increase access to reproductive and sexual health services, including family planning.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com