African experts at UN meeting review continent’s progress on population issues

7 June 2004

Africans have learnt how to address many of the development challenges posed by population issues, but still face constraints related to poverty reduction, sustainable development and the spread of HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said today.

As 400 experts gathered in Dakar, Senegal, to review the Programme of Action of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Fama Hane Ba, Director of the Africa Division of co-sponsor UNFPA, said: “We have definitely come a long way since 1994. We now know how to address the many challenges facing the continent; we know what needs to be done.

“In many areas we know what works. There is a wealth of practices that only need to be scaled up. Governments are showing more commitment and the civil society is getting more involved. New partnerships are emerging, including with the private sector.”

The four-day meeting will prepare for a ministerial conference Friday.

“For the few days the conference will last, we shall look into the problems and constraints inhibiting the implementation of the DND and the ICPD Programme of Action and identify the decisive factors facilitating the implementation of activities,” said Josue Dione, the Director of Sustainable Development Division of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), another co-sponsor.

An ECA survey of 43 African countries, prepared for the meeting, also lists among the continent’s constraints gender inequality, family and youth needs, HIV/AIDS and lack of resources for population programmes and reproductive health care.

The Dakar meeting, which ends with the ministerial session, is one of the regional conferences marking the 10th anniversary of ICPD. Similar reviews have already been carried out in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

 

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