Mr President, Excellencies,
It is a privilege to address you today, on behalf of organisations that make up the Africa CSOs Coalition on Population and Development.
At the 20 year anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action, a paradigm shift that placed human rights and individual dignity at the heart of development, Africa has much to celebrate with regards to progress we have made.
Despite all this progress, much still remains to be done to give our people a better future… I am from I am from Kenya and I will tell you about Fatuma, a 16-year old girl from Nakuru. Fatuma has suffered multiple violations, and at her age she has experienced unimaginable pain; from when she was forced to undergo female genital mutilation, to when she was brutally raped and infected with HIV.
Your excellencies, As we are here today, Fatuma struggles to forget her past and find resonance with her new life. But the odds are against her. Not just her, the odds of living a decent and fulfilled life are against millions of adolescent girls in Africa. Approximately, 3.3 million girls in Africa are at risk of female genital mutilation each year. Yes, the reality of an African girl child is that of possible child marriage, high risk of obstetric fistula and death resulting from pregnancy.
Your excellences, on this historic occasion, we the Africa CSOs Coalition on Population and Development, implore you all to adopt the recommendations from the ICPD beyond 2014 review and ensure its full implementation with emphasis on these 3 key areas:
- Invest in our adolescents and youth to reap the demographic dividend. Africa is currently the youngest continent, with more than 70% of our population below 35 years, we must therefore invest in their education, health and well being
- Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, for all without distinction.
- Deliver on the commitments in the Common African Position and ensure that the commitments as well as findings and recommendations of the ICPD Beyond 2014 are reflected in the Post 2015 development agenda.
We are at a defining moment, and we have the opportunity to determine the AFRICA and WORLD we want, to change the course of history and give Fatuma what is rightfully hers, dignity! equality! and equity!
On behalf of the African CSOs Coalition on Population and Development