Botswana has identified four commitments – to strengthen access to family planning; the reduction of maternal deaths; reduction of Gender Based Violence as well as provision of quality, timely and disaggregated data – as game changers in the implementation of the commitments made towards achieving the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda.
The country delegation joined others comprised of world leaders, representatives of non-governmental organizations, young people, business leaders and community groups on Tuesday to unveil their commitments to end preventable maternal death, meet all women’s demands for family planning, and stop violence against women and girls by 2030.
The commitments are being made during the three-day Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, taking place 25 years after the landmark ICPD, in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted an action plan for women’s empowerment and sexual and reproductive health for all.
Dr Richard Matlhare, Head of the Botswana Delegation in Nairobi, Kenya and Coordinator of the National Aids and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) said on Tuesday that Botswana’s intention is to reduce maternal deaths from 143.2 in 100 000 births to less than 70 in 100 000 births through capacity building and allocation of financial and human resources towards maternal health by 2030.
He added that the country will ensure that information and services, quality, affordable and safe modern contraceptives at all service points through capacity building of health care workers on integration of family planning services from 350 to 1000 by 2030.
“I can assure you that we will rally behind Duty Bearers of these commitments to ensure that they are realized, through defined and specific actions that will address the unfinished business of the ICPD,” Dr Matlhare said, adding that government will strengthen partnerships with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other development partners as well as non-state actors to implement the ICPD plan of action.
Youth Advocate, also a University of Botswana student, Michelle Simon 18, told delegates at the Summit that in contributing to the realization of the ICPD, the young people of Botswana commit to accessing information to help them make informed decisions, this through accessing youth-friendly health services for young people across the country. The youth of Botswana also commit to engaging in policy and programmatic dialogues to ensure that their voices are included.
Commitments by non-governmental organisations of Botswana will be presented by CEO of Botswana Gender Based Violence Prevention and support Centre, Lorato Moalusi later this week.
UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem said at the Summit that since the Cairo ICPD, “we have put women and girls at the center of global development,” adding that this has paid off time and again.
She admitted though that ICPD vision is still far from reality and that the journey that began 25 years ago in Cairo is far from over. “It’s now time to finish that unfinished business,” she said.
Since the ICPD, 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 attention must be paid to strengthening equal access to health, education, and human dignity for all persons – anticipated the bold, ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. “As critical accelerators for the Sustainable Development Goals, the outcomes of ICPD must be carried forward. The success of the global agenda for sustainable development, our common framework for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, depends on it.”
Denmark Minister for Development Cooperation, Rasmus Prehn confirmed that Denmark will continue to work with partners to ensure the fulfillment of the agenda. “If we want to reach the 2030 agenda, we must fulfill the promise of Cairo.”
The Summit is hosted by the governments of Denmark and Kenya and UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Its intention is mobilizing the political will and securing the financial commitments urgently needed to make sexual and reproductive health a reality for everyone, everywhere.