Your Excellency Mrs. Haifa Abu Ghazala; Assistant Secretary General, Head of Social Affairs Dept. League of Arab States.
Prof. Habib Ghedira, President Director General of the National Board of Family and Population, Government of Tunisia, Chair of the Arab Council on Population and Development and Hon. Secretary of the Board of Partners in Population and Development (PPD).
Dr. Louay Shabanah, Regional Director, UNFPA Arab States office
Distinguished Panelists, Delegates, Colleagues, Friends and Partners, Ladies and Gentleman,
Assalamualikum, good morning, good afternoon and good evening
On behalf of the organizers, I wish to welcome you all in this joint collaborative event between the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, The UNFPA Arab states Regional Office and Partners in Population and Development (PPD).
Today’s virtual meeting is a offering an exceptional plate form for discussion and sharing of best practices, experiences and approaches form different countries on the theme of Islam and Reproductive health and Family Planning with the aim to launching initiatives and creating opportunities for south-south and triangular cooperation among our member states and with other developing countries.
And this is the mandate of PPD since its launching in 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development by 10 developing countries many of them were recognized by UNFPA as success stories in FP and out of which 5 are Muslim countries. PPD is currently grouping 27 member countries with different religious beliefs and worship but all committed to the founding principles of SSC for the attainment of ICPD and the SDGs by 2030.
The Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) adopted by 179 nations including many Muslim countries, called for universal access to family planning services and thus no social or cultural barriers should prevent women from free choice and access to full range of safe and reliable family planning methods.
Since then, Several initiatives have been taken by PPD and by its member countries, through effective and transformational SSC programs and activities, to fulfill the promise they have taken in Cairo. Capacity building of Imams and religious leaders, exchange of visits and organization of study and observation tours and seminars have been carried out to share best approaches in dealing with Islam and RH/FP for successful implementation at national level. Examples are many and some will be presented by the delegates representing PPD member states like Indonesia, Tunisia, Egypt, Bangladesh and Morocco whose experts provided technical assistance to some other countries like Mali, Senegal, Niger, the Gambia and India. PPD facilitated training through countries with recognized expertise and experts in promoting their programs with support from Muslim religious leaders. These efforts contributed to enlighten the thinking and convinced changed the behavior of many religious leaders in developing countries to advocate for more tolerant Islam offering equal opportunities for men and women to live decently.
Excellences; Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Today’s event is concertizing the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the League of Arab States and Partners in Population and Development in December 2020 and is opening a new era of collaboration and partnership involving all member states of both organizations to work together towards the improvement of their population policies and RH/FP programs for the attainment of ICPD PoA and the SDGs by 2030. PPD through the strong commitment of its member states and its robust intergovernmental organization stands ready to contribute to the efforts of the League of Arab States in improving the health and wellbeing of the people in the region of our common interest and beyond so that no one will be left behind.
We hope that our conference today will contribute in 1) promoting the exchange of experiences and achievements to enrich field experiences and best practices through reciprocal and participatory learning that would respond to population challenges, 2) Highlighting the good and effective practices that have been applied in the field of reproductive health from an Islamic perspective for replication in other countries with similar social and demographic contexts and 4) Strengthening South-South cooperation between member states of the Arab Council for Population and Development and members of Partners in Population and Development.
Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,
In response to current COVID-19 crisis and post COVID-19 management, PPD and League of Arab States will come together to undertake series of activities on sharing of experiences from Muslims and non-Muslims countries in order to solve the emerging RH issues caused by the pandemic and strengthen the existing
collaboration between the Arab countries within the broader framework of south-south and triangular cooperation.
I wish to call upon the Governments of the Arab Countries through the distinguished representatives in this conference, to join Partners in Population and Development and strengthen the voice of the south globally for better response to the needs and aspirations of more than 80% of the world population including the 1.25 billion Muslims in the world.
I wish you success in your endeavors Thank you for your attention.