Keep the Cairo promise, Uhuru tells ICPD delegates

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By COUNTY DIARY & PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday challenged delegates at the International Conference of Population and Development to rededicate themselves to the Cairo commitments.

Uhuru said there is need for the conference to accelerate the promise of Cairo in order to build sustainable, vibrant and inclusive societies.

He said in failing to keep the promise, countries risk cosigning their children to a less secure future than they inherited.

One of the 200 recommendations in the Cairo commitment stated reproductive health care should enhance individual rights.

This included the “right to decide freely and responsibly” the number and spacing of one’s children, and the right to a “satisfying and safe sex life.”
It said the definition was to go beyond traditional notions of health care as preventing illness and death, and to promote a more holistic vision of a healthy individual.

Uhuru’s remarks come amid fears that the conference seeks to advocate for abortion, lesbianism and gayism in the name of promoting reproductive health.

Uhuru said the Cairo conference held in 1994 highlighted the linkages between population, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The head of state said ICPD emphasised the values of investing in women and girls, both as end in itself and as a key to improving the quality of life for everyone.

“Targets were set to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, increase access to education, achieve sexual and reproductive health, reduce infant and child mortality rates, reduce the maternal mortality rate and also eliminate harmful gender practices,” he said.

Uhuru said the deliberations of the three-day conference should be guided by the needs, aspirations and unrealised potential of those who will not be part of the conference.

“I am referring to the 1-in-5 women from all corners of the world that this year alone, will experience gender-based violence, most likely from someone who is close to them.

The 800 women and girls who die every day during pregnancy or childbirth; and the four million girls who, every year, have to endure the painful and traumatic effects of female genital mutilation,” he said.

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He added, “The more than 33,000 girls who are married off every day before the age of 18; and the millions of unemployed youth with limited hope for their future.”

Uhuru said there is no doubt that, since the landmark agreement made in Cairo in 1994, there has been significant, though uneven, progress in many key areas.

He said 25 years down, the world has changed in the field of population and development.

This he said has increased inequalities within and across countries resulting into a greater demographic diversity.

“The world faces increased health threats including threats from reproductive cancers such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer. And there are also growing environmental pressures including the urgent threat of climate change,” Uhuru said.

“This has made the Cairo commitments more urgent and more complex.

To complete the unfinished agenda therefore requires us to develop new partnerships, mobilise political support, increase the level of international and domestic financing; and accelerate implementation of innovative and supportive interventions,” he added.

He said the conference should seek to increase access to secondary and tertiary education for boys and girls, accelerate the reduction in maternal deaths and eliminate FGM which remains one of the most serious violations of human rights of women and girls.

“I would like to restate my personal commitment and that of the government of Kenya to providing the leadership necessary to ensure that this practice ends within this generation. In April this year, we signed a landmark declaration between the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia to address cross border FGM practice.

And last week, we signed an agreement with religious and cultural elders to eliminate FGM by 2022,” he said.President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday challenged delegates at the International Conference of Population and Development to rededicate themselves to the Cairo commitments.

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Uhuru said there is need for the conference to accelerate the promise of Cairo in order to build sustainable, vibrant and inclusive societies.

He said in failing to keep the promise, countries risk cosigning their children to a less secure future than they inherited.
One of the 200 recommendations in the Cairo commitment stated reproductive health care should enhance individual rights.
This included the “right to decide freely and responsibly” the number and spacing of one’s children, and the right to a “satisfying and safe sex life.”
It said the definition was to go beyond traditional notions of health care as preventing illness and death, and to promote a more holistic vision of a healthy individual.
Uhuru’s remarks come amid fears that the conference seeks to advocate for abortion, lesbianism and gayism in the name of promoting reproductive health.

Uhuru said the Cairo conference held in 1994 highlighted the linkages between population, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The head of state said ICPD emphasised the values of investing in women and girls, both as end in itself and as a key to improving the quality of life for everyone.

“Targets were set to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, increase access to education, achieve sexual and reproductive health, reduce infant and child mortality rates, reduce the maternal mortality rate and also eliminate harmful gender practices,” he said.

Uhuru said the deliberations of the three-day conference should be guided by the needs, aspirations and unrealised potential of those who will not be part of the conference.

“I am referring to the 1-in-5 women from all corners of the world that this year alone, will experience gender-based violence, most likely from someone who is close to them.

The 800 women and girls who die every day during pregnancy or childbirth; and the four million girls who, every year, have to endure the painful and traumatic effects of female genital mutilation,” he said.
He added, “The more than 33,000 girls who are married off every day before the age of 18; and the millions of unemployed youth with limited hope for their future.”

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Uhuru said there is no doubt that, since the landmark agreement made in Cairo in 1994, there has been significant, though uneven, progress in many key areas.

He said 25 years down, the world has changed in the field of population and development.

This he said has increased inequalities within and across countries resulting into a greater demographic diversity.

“The world faces increased health threats including threats from reproductive cancers such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer. And there are also growing environmental pressures including the urgent threat of climate change,” Uhuru said.

“This has made the Cairo commitments more urgent and more complex. To complete the unfinished agenda therefore requires us to develop new partnerships, mobilise political support, increase the level of international and domestic financing; and accelerate implementation of innovative and supportive interventions,” he added.
He said the conference should seek to increase access to secondary and tertiary education for boys and girls, accelerate the reduction in maternal deaths and eliminate FGM which remains one of the most serious violations of human rights of women and girls.

“I would like to restate my personal commitment and that of the government of Kenya to providing the leadership necessary to ensure that this practice ends within this generation.

In April this year, we signed a landmark declaration between the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia to address cross border FGM practice. And last week, we signed an agreement with religious and cultural elders to eliminate FGM by 2022,” he said.

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