Kenya will, from 13th to 15th November 2019, be hosting an international conference in Nairobi on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) after 25 years otherwise named ICPD+25. The secretariat for the event is the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD).
What is ICPD+25?
The ICPD in reference was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 and from it a Program of Action was developed that changed the whole perspective of development by placing population issues at the centre of development and shifting the main goal of national population policies to that of improving the well-being of citizens.
It also identified enhanced access to reproductive health as critical to development and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.7 has years later reinforced this view and given prominence to improved reproductive health.
Why is Kenya an ideal host for the ICPD+25 conference?
Kenya is a leader in population and development issues guided by an internationally recognised Population Policy for National Development (PPND).
It is one of the 179 member countries that committed to the ICPD 1994 PoA and has consistently worked towards achieving the PoA objectives and has been conducting ICPD reviews every five years. Kenya is also a very active member of the FP2020 movement and has achieved remarkable progress by surpassing family planning targets and continuously seeking ways of improving the family planning program as a pathway towards management of population growth and consequently attaining a quality life for its population.
Kenya, in April 2017, successfully hosted the first China-Africa Conference on Population and Development organised by NCPD and UNFPA in collaboration with the China Population and Development Research Centre (CPDRC).
Exciting events expected at the conference
There will be the main event and several side events at the conference and campaigns/calls have already started for most of them. One side attraction for the youth is the She Decides (25×25) Campaign where 25 young leaders who are 25 years old (born in 1994) from 25 different countries and are actively promoting reproductive health issues and rights will showcase their achievements. They first meet in Kathmandu, Nepal in March to start planning for their participation.
The conference will also bring together renowned population and development scholars, scientists and researchers who will be presenting cutting edge findings from recent research studies to provide evidence of the achievements of the past 25 years and for decision making towards accelerated progress on the ICPD PoA and SDGs.
Information on more events will flow as the countdown to the event gets near.
Preparations for ICPD+25
Preparations for the conference are already in full gear and planning meetings are being held regularly. A National Coordinating Committee (NCC) was first established in NCPD in January 2019 when information was communicated that Kenya would be the host for the conference and soon after, the National Steering Committee (NSC) was born. The NSC has already met and is being chaired by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Planning, Dr. Julius Muia, EBS while the NCC is led by Dr. Josephine Kibaru-Mbae, OGW, the Director General of NCPD. Seven (7) Inter-Agency Sub-Committees are also in place to handle different areas of focus in planning for the event.
Globally, individual member countries are assessing their status while regional conferences are also being held to prepare harmonized status reports especially for the event.
Is a 25 year old agenda still relevant?
The ICPD 1994 PoA is still very relevant and will remain so for some time. This is because progress has not been as fast as envisaged, inequalities persist between countries with more than 1 billion people still living in poverty and maternal mortality is still very high in several countries. Also, gender violence still persists while reproductive health and human rights of women, adolescents and youth continue being compounded by economic crises, rapid urbanization and migration and aging populations.
The event will be a platform for member states to advance implementation of the ICPD PoA by taking stock of the positive outcomes of 25 years, the existing gaps and addressing the challenges that are hindering faster progress. It will be a chance to re-confirm commitment to the agenda and hence accelerate success in SDGs so that no one is left behind by the train of development.
ICPD+25 is about the quality of life and giving people necessary rights and choices to acquire it.