SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION AT UN 57TH SESSION: KEY POINTS

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By Cuma Pantshwa 

  • The South African delegation, led by government officials and civil society representatives, is actively engaged in dialogues reinforcing the state’s dedication to implementing the ICPD and its Programme of Action.
  • Celebrating 30 years of freedom and democracy, recent reviews of the South African Population Policy revealed a 1.8 percent increase in population growth rate between 2011 and 2022.
  • Key focus areas include education, COVID-19 response, unemployment, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), and gender-based violence (GBV), all aligned with South Africa’s commitment to a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable future for all.

The South African delegation, which includes government officials from the Departments of Social Development, Health, and International Relations, as well as representatives from civil society organisations led by Mr Thabani Buthelezi, the Acting Deputy Director General of Strategy and Organisational Transformation, is currently participating in dialogues reaffirming the state’s commitment to implementing the ICPD and its Programme of Action.

As the country celebrates 30 years of freedom and democracy, 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.

Since the dawn of democracy, South Africa has been invested in improving people’s lives. Some of the matters acknowledged and highlighted as milestones in the history of Population and Development include:

Education:

  • Inclusive and quality education and equal learning opportunities for all. 
  • Measures are in place to improve access to quality education and skills development ensuring the availability and affordability of education from early childhood through to adult education, with the emphasis on gender –sensitive and vocational education. 
  • The Gender Parity Index for enrolment indicates higher numbers for females in all three Post-School Education and Training institutional types.

COVID-19:

  • The pandemic has had a devastating impact on many South Africans, leading to job losses.South Africa introduced the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress to save lives and protect the poor and vulnerable from the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and supporting a resilient and sustainable economic recovery. This grant provides income support to more than 8 million unemployed adults. 

Unemployment:

  • While employment levels have surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels, unemployment, especially among youth and women, remains a significant challenge.
  • Public employment programmes, such as youth cooperatives and entrepreneurs skills training, and the Youth Employment Service programme, target young people and women to stimulate job creation and provide quality work experiences.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR):

  • Sexual and Reproductive health is a human right. In an effort to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes for young people, South Africa has completed the development of our National Sexual and Reproductive Justice Framework Strategy for approval by Cabinet.
  • The newly introduced Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the school curriculum aims to equip adolescents and teenagers with the relevant skills, knowledge, and proper understanding of their own sexuality.

GBV:

  • South Africa has developed a comprehensive NATIONAL STRATEGIC PLAN ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE & FEMICIDE (NSP-GBVF) to address all forms of violence and abuse against women and children.
  • The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) operates 24/7, providing psycho-social support services for victims and survivors of violence and abuse.

South Africa reaffirms its commitment to realising the vision of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, striving for a more peaceful, equitable, just, and sustainable future for all.

 

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