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Members of Parliament review the ICPD implementation in Ghana 25 years on

The parliamentary caucus on Population and Development with a few others from the gender and health caucus, gathered at Takoradi where they reviewed the ICPD implementation in Ghana for the past 25 years. They pledged at the end of the meeting to advocate for the full implementation of the ICPD promise of universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, as affirmed in the SDGs. They also declared their support for the implementation of policies that will enable young people live healthy and productive lives.

Welcoming the Caucus, UNFPA Representative Niyi Ojuolape said, it is easily seen from history that most of the countries that have made progress within the last 40 or 50 years have done so by relying on greater investments in their people. “I therefore expect parliament, the representatives of the people, and the most important institution and powerhouse of the democratic process to lead the way. And this my expectation should start with the Ghanaian parliament so I can showcase this to Africa”, he concluded.

Presenting on the unfinished agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) programme of Action (PoA), Prof Stephen Kwankye of University of Ghana, highlighted the pillars of the ICPD PoA and threw some light on the gains that have been made in the area of population and development over the years, especially in maternal health and reproductive health and rights. He also spoke about gains made in the area of Gender Parity and some inequalities that still exist and, the improvement in the median age at first marriage. He touched on other issues such as abortion, HIV/AIDS as well as stigmatization persons with disability.

Prof. Kofi Awusabo Asare of University of Cape Coast on his part, focused his presentation on harnessing the demographic dividend which is one of the unfinished businesses of the ICPD agenda. He said going forward, countries need to focus on the existing three recommendations of ICPD PoA on gender, namely: empowerment and status of women, the girl child and male participation and responsibility.

This means, with the empowerment and status of women, there is the need to ensure availability of adequate information and services on family planning; with regards to the girl child, equipping them with Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and with the male participation and responsibility, equipping them with CSE as well.

Prof Awusabo-Asare urged the Parliamentarians to support this gender agenda and make it part of their campaign agenda as it is the foundation of harnessing the demographic dividend. He concluded by saying, ‘young people constitute the potential human capital for socio-economic development and should be provided with the means to lead healthy and economically productive lives.’

The MPs used the opportunity to monitor the Adolescent Girls’ Programme being implemented by UNFPA in the Ahanta West and Nzema East Districts and with funding from Canada. They also joined the #IMarchFor campaign.