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Peace agreement lays foundation for ICPD agenda in South Sudan – Vice President

JUBA, South Sudan—South Sudanese Vice President James Wani Igga expressed optimism that the revitalized peace agreement between the parties to the conflict lays the foundation for the implementation of policies and programmes related to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

At the launch of UNFPA’s State of World Population 2019 report in Juba on April 15, the Vice President acknowledged that due to the various crises faced by the country, there has not been a conducive environment to promote the welfare and well-being of women and girls.

“I am optimistic that with the full implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, we have laid the supportive foundation for the implementation of the ICPD agenda within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, as we aim at achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health by 2030,” he said.

Vice President Igga vowed to mobilize support within the government for the upcoming population census and has directed the Ministry of Planning and Finance and the National Bureau of Statistics to set up a body to oversee and coordinate the government’s population programmes.

“We will also look within our revenue, as it improves, at possible ways of increasing domestic budget allocation towards financing sexual and reproductive health programmes,” he said.

Unfinished business: The pursuit of rights and choices for all

A panel discussion on addressing barriers to accessing sexual and
reproductive health services in South Sudan, moderated by social
activist Aluel Atem with (from left) UNFPA Deputy Representative
Dr. Wilfred Ochan, MOH Director-General for Reproductive Health
Dr. Alex Dimiti, Swedish Head of Mission Fredrik Schiller, Canadian
Head of Cooperation Catherine Palmier, Presidential Adviser on
Islamic Affairs Sheikh Juma Said, and FP2020 Youth Focal Point
Charles Aya Rose. © UNFPA South Sudan/Arlene Alano

Presenting highlights of the State of World Population 2019 report, entitled Unfinished business: The pursuit of rights and choices for all, UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Mary Otieno said reproductive rights remain out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services.

But Dr. Otieno emphasized that strong multi-sectoral efforts are required to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. “Today, the global consensus is as strong as it ever has been that everyone, everywhere, should have access to high-quality information and services for the full range of their sexual and reproductive health needs over the course of their lives,” she said.

During a panel discussion, Ms. Catherine Palmier, Head of Cooperation of the Embassy of Canada, and Mr. Fredrik Schiller, Head of Mission of the Embassy of Sweden, underscored their governments’ feminist policy for international development assistance, emphasizing the importance of ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls.

During the event, UNFPA and partners also launched South Sudan’s participation to the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 in November. The Summit will offer an inclusive platform for UN Member States and a broad range of other public and private sector stakeholders to recommit to the Cairo Agenda through concrete investments and actions that will advance the health and rights of women, girls and young people.

- Arlene Alano