ICPD 25 and UNFPA@50 commemoration kicks off in Namibia

22 May 2019
Delegates cutting the ICPD25-UNFPA@50 cake.

WINDHOEK, Namibia - The UNFPA Namibia Country Office on 22 May 2019 launched its Roadmap to Nairobi with a high-level reception to mark the beginning of celebrations for UNFPA’s 50th Anniversary (UNFPA@50) and the 25th Anniversary of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25). 

The Roadmap to Nairobi sets out commemorative events that UNFPA Namibia will carry out throughout the year to advance the objectives of ICPD25. Upcoming events include a media engagement session to orient media practitioners about ICPD25 and launch the 2019 State of the World Population report; an ICPD25 presentation during the National Women’s Health Conference; dialogues with youth and parliamentarians; and a public lecture with university students. The Roadmap to Nairobiwill culminate with Namibia’s reaffirmation of the validity of the Cairo ICPD agenda at the high-level global Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise in Kenya from 12-14 November 2019.


UNFPA Namibia Roadmap to Nairobi.

Speaking at the reception, UNFPA Country Representative Ms. Dennia Gayle said that while 25 years had passed since its declaration, the Promise of Cairo remained as relevant as it was in 1994, although not yet fully met. 

“The hard won gains remain under threat in a world stricken by multi-dimensional forms of inequality, persistent discrimination, political turbulence,” Ms. Gayle explained, adding rising conservatism and resource constraints from economic tailwinds as additional threats.

Despite it often feeling like taking two steps forward and get pulled one step back at times, Ms. Gayle said that “we are optimists and we are resilient.” 

Delivering the keynote address, the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia Madame Monica Geingosacknowledged the significant strides made in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights for youth and adolescents, and pointed out the need to closing the gaps.  

“I want to share with you a dream that we need to have,” Ms. Geingos said. “A dream where we protect our young people from harm, and this dream starts by ensuring that we ensure access to reproductive health information to anybody who impregnates and anybody who can fall pregnant. If a thirteen year old can impregnate, and if a thirteen year old can fall pregnant they need to have access to the information and services that can assist them.”.

She added: “I also dream of a statistics heaven, where we have timely and accurate statistics on health interventions, on police statistics so we can identify problematic behaviour and arrest problematic patterns before they turn into a crisis,” she stated. 

Margaret Mensah-Williams, Chairperson of the National Council shared how she participated as a young female activist in intergovernmental processes that helped shape the ICPD: ”We started looking at the ICPD document and we said this is what’s going to mold us. We had a voice and a clear message: women and girls matters.”

Youth representative Gogontlejang Phaladi noted that for women's reproductive health and rights to be fully realised in Africa, the continent must brace for many uncomfortable and controversial discussions.

“We need to be asking ourselves that 25 years since ICPD, why is it easy for a young person to get a sugar daddy or sugar mommy [than] it is for them to get an opportunity in economic empowerment…why is it easy for students to access pornographic content than it is for them to access comprehensive sexuality education,” she stressed.

“We need to harness domestic resource mobilisation to invest in home-grown innovation and digitalisation that will enhance service delivery and provision. Young people in Africa are coming up with great innovations.  I envisage a very near future where the best innovation actually comes from Africa,” Ms. Phaladi concluded.