Accelerate efforts to meet 2030 goals: UNFPA chief

Kathmandu, October 21

Education should be given, policies should be implemented and women’s rights should be ensured if we are to meet the strategic vision of getting to three zeros by 2030: zero unmet need for contraception and family planning; zero preventable maternal deaths and zero gender-based violence and practices such as child marriage, said Natalia Kanem, Executive Director at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Efforts should be accelerated to meet 2030 goals. Governments, civil society, and individuals must all take part, she said.

Speaking at a press conference today in the Capital, Kanem said that geography in Nepal has been a major hindrance for women getting reproductive health services.

In order to meet the 2030 goals women’s rights should be ensured, maternal deaths should be prevented, unmet needs for family planning services should be addressed, girls’ right to education and health should be ensured and child marriage should be eliminated, she added.

According to Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016 maternal mortality remained high at 239 per 100,000 live births in Nepal.

Maternal mortality ratio in Nepal is high. “To decrease the rate, child marriage should be stopped. Everyone should understand the consequences of child marriage.

If we can track the reasons for maternal mortality rates, make midwives and nurses available in the rural villages then there will be reduction in the maternal mortality rate. We need to protect the reproductive rights of women and girls,” she said.

“Though there are hindrances we must reach the women living in rural areas as they are the ones who are in need of the reproductive health services, she said.

Commenting about women’s participation in the three-tier government system in Nepal, Kanem said that more women’s participation in the three-tier government system in Nepal is a signal of implementation of women’s rights, but it is not a complete story. Education should be provided to girls to make them aware and bring changes, she added.

Kanem is on a two-day visit to recognise the achievements of Nepal in relation to the Cairo vision and commitment of the government to its full implementation by 2030; and to invite the government at the highest level to participate in the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 to be held from November 12 to 14.

Kanem met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today and commended him for the country’s achievements on sexual and reproductive health and encouraged further progress on the ICPD mandate.

She also met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health Upendra Yadav, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa, government officials and youngsters during her two-day visit.

The ICPD Programme of Action was unanimously adopted in Cairo in 1994 by 179 member states including Nepal, and it transformed the discourse on sustainable development with a vision and values that anticipated the vision and values of the SDGs.

This year, UNFPA marks 50 years since its founding as well as the 25th anniversary of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994.