UNFPA renews support for reproductive health, rights of women, girls

Dr Natalia Kanem, the UN Under--General and Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA), will be on an official visit to Nigeria from Nov. 24 to Nov. 28 to renew the fund’s for sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, in the country.

The information is in a statement issued by UNFPA’s Media Associate, Mrs Kori Habib in Abuja on Wednesday.

Kori stated that Kanem would be accompanied by the UNFPA Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Ms Argentina Piccin, based in Dakar, Senegal.

She noted that during the five-day visit, the UNFPA executive director would shed light on the achievements, progress and challenges in implementing UNFPA’s mandate in Nigeria and the region, particularly in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

She quoted the UNFPA Resident Representative for Nigeria, Ms Ulla Mueller, as saying “all is set to host the Executive Director and her delegation, together with the Regional Director, the visit will bring added impetus to our work. are excited.’’

Kori added that Kanem’s visit was coming two years after the 2019 Nairobi Summit on ICPD+25, where member states recommitted to accelerate the promise of achieving the Plan of Action of the International Population on Development, 25 years after the landmark agreement in Cairo, Egypt.

She noted that a report published by the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 indicated that progress had been made, but a lot was still required to achieve the three cardinal and transformative of of the fund.

The three zeros are — ZERO maternal deaths, ZERO unmet need for family planning, and ZERO gender-based violence, and harmful practices, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage.

She announced that while the current Strategic Plan (2018-2021) draws to an end, UNFPA’s newly approved Strategic Plan (2022-2025) will be implemented from Jan. 1, 2022, with renewed vigour, commitment and a sense of responsibility to accelerate and upscale interventions aimed at achieving the three transformative goals.

Meanwhile, the UNFPA executive director’s visit to Nigeria, coincides with the start of this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.

The UNFPA boss, will, therefore, engage with government, partners, beneficiaries and staff members.

She will be granted audience by President Muhammadu Buhari, and members of government, the ministers of finance, budget and national planning, health, women affairs, youth and humanitarian affairs.

The UNFPA executive director is also scheduled to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree from University of Benin for her leadership and advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender Equality.

Kanem and Piccin will also visit healthcare workers at the UN Severe Acute Respiratory Isolation and Treatment Centre (SARI) in Abuja, and attend the STEAM Flagship graduation event, an entreneurship programme for Gender-Based Violence survivors and launch the Media Premier of Drama series on GBV as part of the 16 Days Activism commemoration.

The UNFPA executive will engage with the media and young people from University of Benin to exchange views and ideas. (NAN)