Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Board of Directors and colleagues of PPD, along with others before me, I take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences at the sudden passing away of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. UNFPA Executive Director. I also extend our sincere condolences to the family. Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, was a great friend, adviser and well-wisher to PPD. As an untiring and passionate advocate for youth and gender and their reproductive health and rights, he will be sorely missed in UNFPA, in the UN system and, no doubt, in his native country Nigeria.
I would make some brief comments on the statement of the Acting Executive Director which substantively covered the progress and achievements in implementing the UNFPA Strategic Plan 2014-17.
Let me begin with a word of appreciation for the excellent quality of documentation provided by UNFPA for this session. In particular, the progress report of the Strategic Plan is very succinct, results oriented and honest as it highlights both the areas of achievement as well as the areas of deficit and shortcomings. PPD commends the Executive Director and the UNFPA team for their tireless work in achieving significant organizational change and transformation started some years ago and demonstrating continued and targeted performance in most outcome areas.
Since the adoption of the ICPD PoA in 1994, the world has witnessed considerable progress in terms of increasing the availability of sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, improving maternal health and promoting gender equality.
There has been a 50 per cent fall in maternal mortality over the past 20 years along with observable public health advances in most countries. Together, these factors have contributed to increase in life expectancy, leading to a rise in the number and proportion of older persons. With both mortality and fertility declining amongst younger populations in many of the countries, and larger cohorts entering the adolescent and young adult years, timely opportunities are opening up to many countries for reaping a demographic dividend.
The consequential change in age structures and the potential of demographic dividends require governments to adopt policy changes focusing on investments in education, primary health care, working life, social security and pensions while catering to emerging and changing demands of different segments of the society.
Giving women and girls access to family planning, reproductive health services and sexuality education is a human right and a significant investment for the future. Everyone should be able to make choices about their health and well-being. About 225 million women have unmet need for family planning. By meeting this need we can increase women’s empowerment, health, education levels and more.
Poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes represent a third of the total global burden of disease for women aged 15–44 years. However, only a small fragment of adolescents have access to information, counseling and integrated, youth-friendly services, especially sexual and reproductive health services without having to face discrimination or other obstacles
UNFPA’s all-round efforts to respond to this changing global context, as underpinned in the UNFPA Strategic Plan progress report and the statement of the Executive Director, is indeed reassuring and noteworthy despite its resource and other organizational constraints. PPD commends UNFPA for staying on course to increase access to sexual and reproductive health and rights especially for women and young people. PPD, as a longstanding partner, would like to express its full solidarity and support to UNFPA’s advocacy and capacity building initiatives aimed at achieving the ICPD goals and the SDGs in programme countries.
PPD takes note of the pace of implementation and achievements of the UNFPA Strategic Plan with appreciation. In 2016, of the fifteen development outputs, eight were achieved fully and seven were partially achieved. The increase in total outcome expenditure in 2016 is appreciably higher than previous years which speaks of an upward trend in delivery and performance.
Particularly noteworthy is the pioneering and pragmatic business model with differentiated modes of engagement which makes a distinction between programme countries in terms of their needs and their ability to finance their development. Its value and usefulness as a smart and judicious strategy is already being felt. It afforded the country offices much needed flexibility of differentiated programming approach which enhances development effectiveness.
PPD is an inter-governmental organization of 26 developing countries, committed to the promotion of South-South cooperation in the field of population, and reproductive health and rights. As a strong advocate of ICPD PoA , MDGs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), PPD has been supporting their implementation in its member countries . In parallel with UNFPA’s priority outcome areas, PPD is active on the ground on the issues of reproductive health and rights, population dynamics, demographic dividend, family planning services, ageing, gender equality and commodity security.
PPD and UNFPA has been working together to promote South-South cooperation in population and reproductive health programmes. It is relevant to mention here that the two organizations are working as partners in setting up the Coordination Secretariat for following up of the ‘Beijing Call for Action’ , a consensus declaration on ‘South-South Cooperation for Population and Development’ adopted by PPD member countries at Beijing in March 2016, at a ministerial meeting jointly organized by the Government of China, UNFPA, and the PPD.
It is well known that substantial experience and lessons in family planning, reproductive health and population have been generated in the last four decades in the developing countries of the south. Experiential knowledge, expertise and well tested models of solutions to issues on reproductive health and population dynamics reside in institutions and specialists in countries of the South.
This offers excellent knowledge capital and catalyzing ingredients for South-South Cooperation. PPD reiterates its commitment to leverage this knowledge and lessons of the South for wider benefits of its member countries and beyond. UNFPA has allocated appropriate priority and space for this dimension of cooperation in its Strategic Plan. Achieving SDGs and its population and development- related goals call for a strong and proactive partnership and cooperation among UNFPA and PPD as well as other development partners.
Thank you for your kind attention