Successful implementation of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) including Family Planning (FP) programs requires enhanced, pragmatic leadership and stewardship from policymakers including Members of Parliament (MPs). The involvement of legislators is a strategic intervention that contributes to effective and sustained programs. It is important therefore to provide space for Members of Parliament, because of the unique nature of their roles, (legislation, budget appropriation and oversight) to understand the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs and what they need to do in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With this in mind, the Africa Regional Office (ARO) of Partners in Population and Development, (PPD) has been organizing high-level policy meetings for African parliamentarians who sit on the committees of health to promote south – south cooperation and information exchange on best practices and identify areas of follow up action to advance the SRHR including FP agenda in the region.
The meetings, organized under the auspices of the Network of Africa Parliamentary Committees on Health (NEAPACOH), focus on implementation of regional and international commitments including the International Congress on Population and Development, Program of Action (ICPD PoA), the Maputo Plan of Action, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the FP2020 commitments, among others.
The meetings also update parliamentarians on countries’ progress on implementation of SRHR frameworks. In addition, the meetings provide a platform for building capacity and raising awareness of MPs on the interrelationships between SRHR and sustainable development, and emerging concepts like the Demographic Dividend, among others.
Against this background, PPD ARO in partnership with NEAPACOH organized a two days high level policy advocacy meeting with parliamentarians from June 29 – 30, 2016, at Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda. This meeting was the eighth, in a series, that have been organized under the auspices of NEAPACOH. The theme of the meeting was “From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Challenges and Opportunities for Parliaments to enhance Reproductive Health/Family Planning”. It aimed at providing space for parliamentarians to understand the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs and what they need to do to build and sustain the momentum for political will for SRHR within the context of the SDGs.
The specific objectives of the meeting were to;
Assess progress made, challenges and lessons learned on achieving the country commitments made at the September 2014 NEAPACOH meeting
Have a common understanding of the challenges and opportunities for SRHR in the post-2015 development agenda
Share experiences and innovative practices on the implementation of RH including FP commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Enhance accountability, political leadership and stewardship for the implementation of RH/FP frameworks in the region in the context of the SDGs; and Develop country-specific action plans for parliamentarians that promote RH/FP for implementation over the coming 12 months.
The meeting was attended by participants from 19 African countries, both Parliamentarians and technocrats. The countries represented included; Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Chad Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other participants included representatives of development partners, NGOs, Civil Society and other important stakeholders engaged in Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal and Child Health programs.
By the end of the meeting, the MPs made country commitments towards addressing Reproductive Health/ Family Planning. A resolution (The Kampala Call for Action) was adopted by participants, committing to address a number of issues regarding RH/FP
Download the report: www.partners-popdev.org/docs/2016/2016_NEAPACOH_meeting_Report-Final.pdf