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ICPD@25 - placing human rights at the heart of Zambia’s development

Globally, it is acknowledged that securing human rights for all, especially for women and adolescent girls, is central towards achieving sustainable development. If one were to trace the origins of this landmark consensus, it would lead back to Cairo in 1994.

There, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), key evidence on the correlation of human rights, population, sexual reproductive health, gender equality and development merged into a remarkable global consensus that placed individual dignity and human rights, including the right to plan one’s family, at the very heart of development.

More than 20 years later, the subsequent adoption of the far-reaching, interdependent and ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 marked a strong global recommitment to the ICPD Programme of Action, securing consensus that investing in individual human rights, capabilities and dignity is the foundation of sustainable development.

The year 2019 will mark the 25th anniversary of the ICPD. Leading up to the commemoration, Member States of the United Nations, including the 54 member states of the African Union, including Zambia, have embarked on multi-sectoral national review processes, which will culminate in a global review and appraisal of the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action in April 2019.

As Zambia joins the global appraisal of the implementation of the ICPD, the Ministry of National Development Planning, in collaboration with UNFPA, recently launched Zambia’s national review process, which provides an opportunity for Zambia to carry out a stock take of key policy and programme actions, as well as investments made towards enhancing individual health and rights for all Zambians.

Speaking at the launch of the in-country review process, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Development Planning Mr. Chola Chabala, as well as UNFPA Zambia Deputy Representative Ms. Chinwe Ogbonna underscored the critical role of advancing population and development issues in an integrated manner within Zambia’s national development pathway.

 “Government is committed to realizing a people-centred development, as articulated in Zambia’s Vision 2030 as well as the 7th National Development Plan. Government therefore welcomes the ICPD@25 review process as an opportunity to further close development gaps and advance efforts towards improving the quality of life for all, including ensuring sustained socio-economic development,” Mr. Chabala.

“UNFPA is committed to partnering with the government and people of Zambia in undertaking the ICPD@25 review to ensure we highlight inclusive polices, game changing programmes, smart investments and success drivers required to facilitate advancements in sustainable development in line with national priorities articulated in the National Vision, 7NDP and related strategic frameworks”, Ms Ogbonna.

Speaking at the same event, outgoing UNFPA Country Representative Dr Mary Otieno acknowledged the strategic partnerships between UNFPA and the people and Government of the Republic of Zambia, towards achievement of the goals and objectives of the ICPD Plan of Action in Zambia.

“As I end my 4 year tenure in Zambia, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge key milestones we have collectively achieved towards ensuring every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. Together with our partners, we have ensured that sexual reproductive health and rights issues are incorporated within national development frameworks and strategic plans; and have generated key data to better target interventions and resources, as well as to evaluate policy impacts, among others” Dr Otieno.