Remarks by the UNFPA Resident Representative Ms. Ulla Mueller at the One year Anniversary of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25
Held Virtually on November 12, 2020
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire
The Executive Chairman of National Population Commission- Alhaji Nasir Issa Kwarra
Honourable Federal Commissioners of National Population Commission
The Director General, National Population Commission Dr. Ghaji Ismaila Bello,
His Royal Highness, the Emir of Shonga, Alhaji Haliru Yahaya,
Your Excellency the Ambassador of Denmark Mr. Jesper Kamp
Directors here present
Other dignitaries in attendance,
Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished guests, It is my pleasure to welcome you and make these remarks at this first Year Anniversary of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 (International Conference on Population and Development).
Thank you for attending this event physically and virtually.
In 2019, thousands of stakeholders met at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise, to recommit to an extraordinary vision of the Programme of Action set forth at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 – a vision of full equality for women and girls, and of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
As indicated previously, today marks one year since the Nairobi Summit, co-convened by the governments of Denmark, Kenya and the UNFPA. It is 365 days since over 100 governments, including Nigeria, pledged to a vision of complete equality for women and girls, and of unimpeded sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
In Nairobi, 12 global commitments became three transformational goals – ending preventable maternal death; ending unmet need for family planning (contraceptives), and ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.
The goals are transformational because they are critical to releasing the potential of women and girls. They are transformational because the sustainable development will not be achieved without them.
The Nairobi conference highlighted urgent issues to achieve them such as greater domestic and international financing, private sector engagement, bringing young people into all decision-making that affects them, developing quality and disaggregated data, and ensuring that sexual and reproductive health information and services reach people in crisis.
As we have just heard, Nigeria was present too and Nigeria made their commitment, pledged their contributions to achieving the transformational goals:
- Achieve overall goal of zero preventable maternal deaths by 2030: using Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) and other options to facilitate increase in providing of Skilled Birth Attendance (SBA) to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in rural, underserved areas of Nigeria; Funding Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS) (including 4 ANC Visits and delivery (including Caesarian Section), 2 Post Natal Care visits and intermittent treatment of malaria in pregnancy (ITMP), treatment of under-five-children for malaria, diarrhea, population screening for non-communicable diseases and implementation of the Road Map for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality at the sub national levels;
· Achieve Zero unmet need for family planning: Sustain our annual allocation and contribution of $4m to the Basket Fund for procurement of modern contraceptives and ensure “free access” to reproductive health and family planning information and services in all public health facilities;
· Achieve Zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women, girls and youth: Nigeria enacted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) in 2015 to protect persons against various forms of violence; and launched the National Strategic Plan to end Child Marriage in 2016;
We have come a long way since that commitment but with the arrival of COVID-19 pandemic globally, our best made plans have given way to rescheduling, reprogramming and adjustments to ensure that our beneficiaries remain at the heart of our response.
A comparison of the pre- and post-pandemic data shows that, in Nigeria, with an already fragile health sector, the pandemic threatened to reverse successes made in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights – visible in the documented increases in gender-based violence, missed hospital visits (particularly antenatal visits), and scarcity of much-needed medical supplies.
With over 60,000 confirmed cases, over 1000 fatalities and almost 3000 active COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, this is the new reality in which we have to meet our obligations of ensuring accelerated action to the Nairobi Commitments and Sustainable Development Goals.
We may have been forced to alter our best made plans, but within this unexpected visitor lies the opportunity to innovate, improve, and adopt the post-pandemic mantra of “build back better”. It seems impossible, but like the late Nelson Mandela once said “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
This inspires me, and I hope it will inspire all of you, to remember, that despite COvid19 it is still important to focus on the commitments and accountability to deliver the 3 transformational goals in Nigeria.
I implore us all to use this gathering and the progress we have made so far to reenergise ourselves. Today is about focusing on the commitments made by Nigeria and taking stock of where we are in the achievement of those commitments. It is important that they be placed high on the political agenda and seen as an integral part of achieving the SDGs and improving the overall development of the country.
Meeting our commitments by the 2030 target will require an affirmative response. This involves greater accelerated action, more commitment to catalyse change, and larger pools of investment to cater for the increasing pace of change we are witnessing globally and domestically.
Ahead of the 2030, another decade to reaffirm ourselves to these transformative goals presents itself – a decade of action lies ahead of us. Where Family planning is recognised as an enabler to sustainable development, where GBV is ended as access to justice for survivors is ensured and the perpetrators brought to trial.
Let us respond optimally! Let us March forward Together!
Let us do it for our women and girls! Please stay safe and adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
Thank you all.