The civil society organizations of Africa recognize African governments and development partners for the progress that has been made towards the realization of the commitments of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA). Since 1994 governments have formulated various policies to contextualize the ICPD PoA, and they have adopted various regional protocols to reinforce the ICPD and other development frameworks.In spite of the gains, there are marked deficiencies in implementation, and Africa has realized the least progress in most ICPD and related MDG indicators.We call upon African governments and development partners to urgently demonstrate political will and commitment to the ICPD agenda by mobilizing financial resources and enabling implementation of interventions to address the continent’s population and development challenges.Actions must be guided by: Human Rights principles, integrity, transparency and accountability, inclusiveness, and strong partnerships with the private sector, CSOs and communities.
1. Under Human Security, Environment and Population Mobility, CSOs recommend the following:
1.1 Intensify peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms within countries and across borders
1.2 Enhance provision of relief and related social services to people affected by conflict, particularly women and girls, refugees, internally displaced people, and persons with disabilities
1.3 Reinforce the development and enforcement of laws and programs to end the culture of violence and impunity that is perpetuated by militarization, fundamentalism, patriarchy, and human trafficking.
1.4 Strengthen local, national and regional justice systems to bring those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice.
1.5 Ensure food security and strengthen agricultural productivity and livelihoods
1.6 Enact national policies and bilateral agreements that protect the human rights of African migrant workers within and outside Africa especially women, in line with ILO conventions.
1.7 Urgently implement AU Heads of State Decision to remove visa and related restrictions to facilitate the freedom of movement within Africa.
1.8 Reinforce efforts to enhance the role of Africans in the diaspora in Africa’s development,
1.9 Promote rural development to reduce rural-urban migration and improve urban planning, governance and infrastructure
1.10 All governments and other stakeholders should reinforce integration of population dynamics and the environment at all levels of development planning and programme implementation.
2. Under Inclusive Economic Transformation we recommend the following:
2.1 Maximize Africa’s chances of harnessing the Demographic Dividend by investing in people and enhancing inclusive economic growth
2.2 Develop review and enact national policies and laws to ensure that trade and investment agreements with multinationals, foreign governments, and local companies are transparent, strategic, and prevent exploitative business practices and capital flight.
2.3 Strengthen governance, political and economic systems that are grounded in the Human Rights framework, integrity and accountability in use of public resources and service delivery, inclusiveness and investment in human development.
2.4 Enact laws that strengthen the capacity of communities to access, control and manage land, energy, technology and information, especially for women, youth, persons with disabilities, and indigenous people.
2.5 Institute and extend social protection mechanisms to safeguard the wellbeing of vulnerable groups by recognizing and rewarding women for their role in taking care of the children, the sick, the elderly, persons with disability, and other disadvantaged people, among other mechanisms.
3. Regarding Education and Employment, we recommend that Governments and Stakeholders should:
3.1 Reform and harmonise formal and non-formal education systems and curricula to ensure quality education that fosters innovation, development of productive skills, spirit of entrepreneurship, and visionary leadership that meets emerging needs of local and global economies.
3.2 Ensure universal enrolment, retention, and progression at primary, secondary and tertiary levels
3.3 Develop and fully implement policies and programs to prevent and address all forms of school-based violence
3.4 Ensure relevance of education that includes promoting technical, vocational education and training programs, making use of new information and communication technologies that are applicable to current labour market trends and demands.
3.5 Intensify efforts to create employment, alternative livelihoods and enhance the civil and political participation for young people and their role as agents of socioeconomic change and development.
4. On Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, we urge governments to:
4.1 Operationalize the right to health by adopting equity, rights-based planning and resource-allocation,
4.2 Prioritize and adequately finance universal access to comprehensive, quality and integrated SRH services including adequate counselling, information and education; access to full range of acceptable, affordable, safe, effective and high-quality contraceptives of choice, comprehensive maternity care, access to comprehensive abortion care, prevention and treatment of infertility, STIs, reproductive cancers and other diseases.
4.3 Repeal laws criminalizing access to safe abortion in line with the provisions of Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol.
4.4 Create awareness and ensure that the right to health, especially SRHR, for all people including marginalized groups is respected
4.5 Remove existing barriers, including requirements for spousal and parental consent, to women and young people gaining access to family planning, comprehensive abortion care, and other reproductive health services.
4.6 Implement the MPoA commitment to allocate 15% of the health budget to family planning and address all demand and supply oriented barriers of access to, and use of family planning.
4.7 Implement and fully fund, quality, evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education programmes for both in and out-of-school youth that is relevant to each age group.
4.8 Strengthen male involvement as advocates, clients and equal partners on SRHR, including in the promotion of gender equality and SRHR of women and girls.
4.9 Eliminate sexual and gender based violence in private and public spheres,
4.10 Strengthen and enforce laws that end child, early and forced marriage and set minimum legal age of marriage to 18.
4.11 Formulate and implement policies and programs that promote positive African cultures, and challenge harmful traditional practices.
We also recognise the role of Monitoring, Transparency and Accountability and we urge all stakeholders to –
Strengthen the capacities of local experts and institutions in generation, analysis, and use of data and research evidence to ensure evidence-based decision-making and transparent monitoring and accountability processes for all aspects of the ICPD and other development agendas.
In conclusion, if governments, development partners and other stakeholders implement the recommendations above, Africa will achieve the goals of the ICPD agenda and other development frameworks, harness the Demographic Dividend and achieve sustainable development. 5
Governments and all stakeholders must simultaneously invest in rights-based universal access to family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services, public health, quality education, adopt economic policies that will create employment, and ensure accountable use of public financial and natural resources.
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