Statement

Remarks on behalf of Babatunde Ahonsi, UNFPA Representative at the YAWA National Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Summit

8 June 2016

Observe Protocol:

•      Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports

•      Representatives of government and government agencies present

•      Fellow Development Partners 

•      Representatives from Tertiary Institutions

•      Media personnel present

•      Young people

•      Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the United Nations and UNFPA and on my own behalf, I wish to congratulate Marie Stopes and all its partners for organizing the 1st ‘No YAWA’ national youth sexual and reproductive health and rights summit aimed at providing a platform for young people to actively promote change in adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in the country.

UNFPA recognizes the need to provide young people with a platform that enables them to build their capacity and offers them the opportunity to take part in discourse that concerns issues of their reproductive health. This will ensure that young people’s reproductive health concerns are addressed in a way that will be relevant and efficient in delivering results.  When empowered and given the right opportunities, young people are effective drivers of change and are able to advance human rights and development issues such as health, education and employment. 

As we seek to increase the discourse on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, it is evident that sexuality education within our school curriculum needs to be enhanced to mitigate the increasing effects of young people’s inability to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. This will reduce the relatively high incidence of teenage pregnancy and other sexual health concerns of young people in the country.

We know that this summit will augment the existing discourse and provide an opportunity for young people to add their voice to finding the appropriate solutions. 

A wealth of evidence indicates that providing resources for addressing young people’s sexual and reproductive health needs is a highly cost-effective investment that any nation can make to secure its own future. Ghana is on the verge of reaping a once-in-a-life time demographic dividend and this may be impossible to achieve if young people’s sexual and reproductive health are neglected. 

Much has been done, but much more is needed, to ensure that Ghana successfully harnesses the demographic dividend to ensure a future generation of fulfilled young people.

Once again, congratulations to Marie Stopes and all supporting partners for this summit. I wish you all great success.  

Thank you