Focus on women and youth, UN urges Zim

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The United Nations has implored Zimbabwe to implement international statutes it committed to to ensure that women’s reproductive health and rights take centre stage in national and global development.

The call was made during a validation workshop held in Harare on Friday for the country’s specific commitments that will be read out at the International Conference of Population Development (ICPD) to be held in Kenya next month.

The country specific commitments will be read out at the ICPD Summit by Health minister Obadiah Moyo.United Nations Population Fund representative for Zimbabwe, Esther Muia, urged Zimbabwe to focus on adolescents and youths who were directly affected by issues of gender-based violence and sexual reproductive health.

“For Zimbabwe, I believe we need to have a lean towards youths in our commitments, not because other people are not important, but because when we look around the issue of sexual reproductive health, the youth are more active in that space. Therefore, investing in our youths becomes value for money,” she said.

“The ICPD agenda is really wide, which is not just about sexual reproductive health, gender, but it is about Zimbabwe’s development using a lens where we can all congregate around. Whatever comes out of this place is not supposed to be just another paper because the minister will be presenting it at the summit in Nairobi.”

Muia said it was crucial for draft commitments to be practical, arguing that the most important basis of the workshop was supposed to centre on how they were going to be fulfilled.

Population Services Zimbabwe country director Abebe Shibru said the discussion underscored the need for enforcement of policies that allowed adolescents’ access to sexual reproductive health care services and education.

ICPD was introduced in 1994 in Cairo, where 179 governments, including Zimbabwe, adopted a programme of action and called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take centre stage in national and global development efforts.