UNFPA chief arriving on first visit to Nepal tomorrow

KATHMANDU: Dr Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, is making her first official visit to Nepal on Sunday.

This year the agency 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, according to Nepal-based office of the United Nations Population Fund.

The ICPD Programme of Action, adopted by 179 Member States including Nepal, lays out a plan for advancing sustainable development and commits to universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all, reinforced by women’s empowerment and gender equality within the broader framework of human rights.

The two-day visit of Dr Kanem, who is also UN Under-Secretary-General, is aimed at recognizing the significant achievements by Nepal in advancing the ICPD commitment and to strengthening cooperation between the Government of Nepal and UNFPA to accelerate the unfinished agenda of ICPD by 2030.

Dr Kanem will also invite the Government of Nepal at the highest level to participate in the Nairobi ICPD25 Summit, which will be held from 12-14 November 2019, according to UNFPA.

While in Nepal, Dr Kanem will meet with senior government officials, members of the international community, UN agencies, local partners as well as young people. She will hold an exclusive dialogue with young people to discuss their role and meaningful engagement in population and development issues, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and their views in shaping the future of the ICPD agenda.

She will be accompanied by Bjorn Andersson, UNFPA Regional Director of Asia and the Pacific, and Pio Smith, UNFPA Chief of Staff.

UNFPA has long had a significant presence in Nepal, supporting the government and civil society to reach zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices including child marriage — the transformative goals the agency aspires to achieve the world over. As well, UNFPA is a key humanitarian partner of Nepal, providing support in responding to humanitarian crises such as the 2015 earthquake.