Saraki, UNFPA, Others Call for Action in Accelerating Progress of SDGs

Toyin Saraki

Chiemelie Ezeobi

The Founder of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs. Toyin Saraki in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other stakeholders drawn from the private sector, civil society organisations and child advocacy groups, yesterday made an urgent call for action in accelerating the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They made this disclosure at a high-level roundtable on ‘Mobilising and harnessing high-level private sector, philanthropic and multi-stakeholder engagement for the Nairobi Summit on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 25- accelerating the promise’.

The call to action is to accelerate sustainable economic and social development by contributing to ending preventable maternal deaths, unmet need of family planning and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other harmful practices.

According to Saraki, the call to action is germane in the wake the forthcoming Nairobi Summit billed for November 12 to 14, 2019 on the ICPD25, a high-level conference to mobilise the political will and financial commitments needed urgently.

She said: “This year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark ICPD held in Cairo in 1994. The ICPD Programme of Action was remarkable in its recognition that reproductive health and rights, as well as women’s empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes.

“We have made incredible gains since then, but too many people are still being left behind. To help achieve the 2030 Agenda for SDGs and the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health by 2030, we must attain the goals laid out in the ICPD Programme of Action.

“Consequently, UNFPA and The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is launching a call to action to the private and philanthropic sector in Nigeria to submit commitments and showcase their tangible yet ambitious contribution in accelerating progress against the ICPD Programme of Action.

“The role of the private sector is critical to the achievement of the SDG and the implementation of the Programme of Action.”

She also charged all the stakeholders to make visible commitments to help accelerate progress towards the vision of the ICPD Programme of Action and SDGs.

The Chief of Strategic Partnerships Branch, at UNEPA, Mariarosa Cutillo, also touched on the role of the private sector and the type of commitments before, during and after the Nairobi Summit.

UNFPA is the United Nations (UN) sexual and reproductive health agency, committed to ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, every child-birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

The UNFPA representative said they have consistently invested and partnered government, civil society and other agencies to implement impact-driven development programmes, projects and activities that provide universal access to sexual reproductive health, promote reproductive rights, reduce maternal mortality, especially for women and young people whose ability to exercise their right to sexual and reproductive health is often compromised.

Over the years, UNFPA has recorded impact in diverse areas of public health concern especially youth sexual reproductive health and rights, sexual violence, maternal health, child marriage and population dynamics as well as accelerating progress towards the achievement of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) declaration.

Also speaking, Founder, Cece Yara, Bola Tinubu called for holistic support system and a paradigm shift in child advocacy.

Senior Pastor, House on the Rock Church, Paul Adefarasin, made a commitment on behalf of the church to work together with all relevant stakeholders.

Hope Uzokwe of Sahara Group also highlighted the partnerships they have built through their foundation, adding they have directly impacted 2 million people.

The British Deputy High Commission, Harriet Thompson harped on women and children who are victims of conflict, who are abused all over again.

But it was Busola Dakolo, celebrity photographer, and wife of popular musician, Timi that drew the loudest applause.

Dakolo, a survivor of rape and sexual abuse, took the audience through a brief journey of her ordeal and how she has worked on regaining her self-worth.