SA AT THE 57TH SESSION ON ICDP

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By Vusimuzi Maduna 

  • The ongoing 57th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York focuses on assessing the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) since its adoption in 1994 in Cairo.
  • Running from April 29th to May 3rd, the session includes roundtable discussions commemorating the 30th anniversary of the ICPD and its Programme of Action. South Africa’s delegation comprises government officials and civil society representatives, led by Mr Thabani Buthelezi, the Acting Deputy Director General of Strategy and Organisational Transformation.
  • South Africa’s involvement in the CPD session highlights its commitment to achieving inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development, addressing challenges such as population growth, youthfulness, and gender-based violence through proactive policies and interventions.

The 57th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) which is currently underway in New York Held under the theme: “Assessing the status of implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and its contribution to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development,” seeks to reflect and take stock of the progress made and to identify the challenges and opportunities since the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action in 1994 in Cairo.  

From the 29th of April until the 3rd of May, the 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its Programme of Action (PoA) will be running a series of roundtable discussions. The South African delegation includes government officials from the Departments of Social Development, Health, and International Relations, and representatives from civil society organisations led by Mr Thabani Buthelezi, the Acting Deputy Director General of strategy and Organisational Transformation.

This 57th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) will provide an opportunity for the international community to recommit to the aspirations of the Programme of Action, and to act urgently to achieve an inclusive, equitable and sustainable world for more than 8 billion people in the world. 

The session coincides with celebrating 30 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa and the 25th anniversary of the South African population policy, which are significant milestones in our nation’s history. The current review of the South African Population Policy and the ICPD-PoA revealed a 1.8 percent increase in the country’s population growth rate between 2011 and 2022.

Like other developing countries, South Africa has a relatively youthful population, however, the country is undergoing an age transition from a young to an ageing population. 

“These population trends are influenced largely by the pro-poor policies that the South African government adopted since the dawn of our democracy in South Africa. To improve the well-being of our people, we invested a significant part of our country’s GDP in education, skills development, health care, and employment. Our education policies have ensured inclusive and equitable quality education as well as promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. We achieved this by taking measures to improve access to quality education and skills development, ensuring the availability and affordability of education from early childhood through to adult education, with an emphasis on gender-sensitive and vocational education. Our efforts to improve women’s opportunities at the tertiary level paid off handsomely with the Gender Parity Index for enrolment being higher for females in all three Post-School Education and Training institutional types,” stated Mr Thabani Buthelezi, the Acting Deputy Director General of Strategy and Organisational Transformation. 

Other important issues reported on were the impact of COVID-19, unemployment, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and its importance in addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment. They are therefore approaching SRHR from a reproductive justice and human rights perspective. South Africa also reported on the National Strategic Plan On Gender-Based Violence & Femicide (Nsp-Gbvf) and its interventions on tackling all forms of violence and abuse against women and children including femicide in the country. 

“We have introduced the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) which operates a 24hrs, 7-day-a-week call centre facility. The facility employs social workers who are responsible for call-taking and call referrals, and also provides psycho-social support services for victims and survivors of violence and abuse,” explained Mr Buthelezi. 

In closing, he reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to the ICPD Programme by citing: “It is important to note that the progress has been unequal. There is a need to leverage North-South and South-South partnerships through initiatives like Partners in Population and Development South-South and Triangular Cooperation. This will undoubtedly help us accelerate the achievement of the PoA. South Africa once again reaffirms our commitment to the ICPD PoA as well as the Addis Ababa Declaration and its principles. We continue to strive to be a constructive partner in realising the vision put forward in Cairo in 1994, ensuring that no one is left behind on our journey towards a more peaceful, equitable, just, and sustainable future for all.”

 

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