*UNFPA Calls for Development Goal on Youth *
/As international conference on family planning concludes, UNFPA calls
for a focus on youth in the post-2015 agenda/
*ADDIS ABABA, 15 November 2013*— Young people are a vital force that
must be front and centre in global development efforts, said Dr.
Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations
Population Fund, announcing UNFPA’s call for a youth centered goal in
the Post-2015 development agenda.
“To achieve genuine development, we must transform our approach with and
for young people, and in particular young women and girls. Young people
are drivers of change. They must have the choices and tools to fully
participate in development, realize their potential, and contribute to
their societies,” said Dr. Osotimehin, adding that universal access to
rights-based sexual and reproductive health, including contraception, is
a key step to empowering young people.
Speaking at the International Conference on Family Planning, in Addis
Ababa, the UNFPA Executive Director highlighted barriers to the full
realization of young people’s rights. “Adolescents are subjected to our
double standards, and for girls in particular, the consequences are
grave: They are not old enough to drive, yet old enough to be a parent?
They are not old enough to vote, yet old enough to be married? Old
enough to be pregnant, yet not old enough to have full access to
sexuality education or contraceptives? Let us be clear: There can be no
room for motherhood in childhood and we cannot continue to deprive young
people of their rights to sexual and reproductive health,” he said.
Dr. Osotimehin paid tribute to civil society, technical experts and
government representatives who are working to achieve significant
progress in family planning. Today, countries with the highest unmet
need for family planning are at the forefront of global efforts to
expand access to contraceptive information, services and supplies,
according to a new report
released in Addis Ababa this week. Also at the conference, five
governments—Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea,
Mauritania and Myanmar—announced major new pledges for family planning.
“The momentum behind this acceleration towards universal access to
sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health, is rightly
putting family planning at the heart of our combined efforts,” said Dr.
Osotimehin. “We congratulate governments and communities that have
stepped up to the challenge, here in Africa and elsewhere—especially
to the extent that this is protecting and enforcing human rights—and
UNFPA is proud of our partnerships that are affirming and accelerating
UNFPA has helped countries develop policies and programmes to ensure
availability of sexual and reproductive health information and services,
realize gender equality, and expand capabilities that young people
require for employment, health, resilience, participation and citizenship.
UNFPA is also assisting countries in harnessing the benefits of the
“demographic dividend”— the economic prosperity that can emerge when
there is reduction in fertility rates coupled with strategic investments
in health, education and job creation for young people.
“Together we are creating the conditions for the realization of the
demographic dividend by investing in equitable and high-quality access
to rights-based reproductive health and reproductive rights. This will
then allow girls to stay in school, to decide if and when they want to
marry or have children, and will allow them to develop the skills and
capabilities to be active as leaders,” said Dr. Osotimehin.
“By empowering this generation,” he added, “we will be able to bridge
the world into a better future.”
UNFPA works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every
childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
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