In her capacity as UNFPA National Goodwill Ambassador, Honourable Afsatu Olayinka E. Kabba, on Monday 12th October 2009, made a presentation on the Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development in the General Assembly of the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Speaking on “Item # 48 Integrated and Coordinated Implementation of and follow-up to Outcomes of the major United Nations Conference and Summits in the Economic, Social and related Fields, the Ambassador, also the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, appealed to benefactors that without their financial support, Sierra Leone would have found it difficult” to ensure “No woman dies giving life”.
She recalled in1994, when the first meeting of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held in Cairo. “As I recall,” she said, “Sierra Leone was fully represented at that meeting and was a signatory to the Programme of Action that emanated from it.” Goodwill Ambassador Kabba declared that the government was fully aware that the Programme of Action “recognizes the right to development, education, and health including sexual and reproductive health, the empowerment of women and gender equality, as decisive factors needed to facilitate development and reduce poverty.”
She stated that government was aware that providing the wherewithal for the creation, maintenance and development of such structures that promote the health of women and children, in pursuant to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), brought an added advantage that reduced poverty and increased not only development, but the quality of the lives of women and children.
She highlighted all the structures put in place by the government from legislation, facilities and services to trained and qualified health personnel. She also spoke on the involvement of Traditional, Religious and Political leaders in the action for health delivery for women and how income-generation farming and gardening are helping women contribute to their health care. On the right to decide the spacing and number of children a family should have, was entirely in the hands of couples themselves..
Sierra Leone’s National Goodwill Ambassador said that the ICPD was “remarkable” in that it “gathered consensus amongst nations of the world on many complex development issues facing the world today.” She also said that the ICPD provided “a clear understanding” on the relationship between population and development and, the dynamics for a brighter future.
Against the background of a post-conflict situation, poverty and a high rate of Infant and Maternal Mortality, Goodwill Ambassador Kabba was of the view that the ideas inherent in the concept are as “relevant” today as it were in 1994, when it was formed. She mentioned the third, fifth and sixth MDGs as example. She was accompanied by a strong opposition Member of Parliament, Mrs. Elizabeth Lavalie and Mr. Sullay Manah Kpukumu
In the afternoon, the duo dignitaries held a meeting with the Executive Director Dr. Thorao Ahmed Obeid at the UN Headquarters to discuss issues on reproductive health and Female Genital Mutulation, the UNFPA contributions to enhance the work on Population in Sierra Leone and the idea of sustaining partnership, among others.
Elizabeth M. S. Foray
Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone
To The United Nations
245 E 49th Street, New York
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