June 7, 2016
Three members from the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, made a one- day visit to Sierra Leone to sensitize and sell the Demographic dividend initiative.
Hon. Andrew Tobaso-Member of the Kenyan Parliament, Mr. Sam Ntelamo- representative of the International Planned Parenthood Federation Liaison Office in Addis Ababa and Mrs. Mahda Afrat- Project Coordinator, African Parliamentary Forum and Development Project, Addis Ababa on Thursday 2nd June 2016 visited the head offices of Planned Parenthood Association, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as well as the Speaker and other Members of Parliament and informed them about their visit to the country.
At short meeting with officials of PPASL, Hon. Andrew Tobaso said Africa was not exempted from the emerging population and development challenges globally, stating that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have entered into a partnership to accelerate African Parliamentarians’ involvement in population and development across the sub-Saharan Africa.
He noted that in line with UNFPA framework for partnership with Parliamentarians, the overarching objective of the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development project was to create an enabling environment at continental level and to promote dialogue and cooperation among Parliamentarians, increase availability of countries and regional communities to elaborate information policies and plans of action based on evidence and in-depth analysis of population dynamics.
He further said that the objective also focused on the demographic dividend underlining that the efforts were in line with the quest to promote the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) beyond 2014 and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Representative of the International Planned Parenthood Federation Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Mr. Sam Ntelamo said the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development is a regional network of Parliamentarians supporting advocacy on population and development issues, adding that the Forum is headed by an Executive Committee of eight serving Members of Parliaments representing all regions of the African continent.
He stated that activities implemented under the project were aimed at providing institutional support to the membership of the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development to ensure that National Parliaments assist in the implementation of the ICPD Agenda and beyond by adopting initiatives in population policies and harmonization of African legislation on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, as well as contributing actively to ICPD beyond 2014 and the Post-2015 development agenda.
He continued that in its quest to advance youth socio-economic agenda, the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development was dedicating its work on mobilizing support on how to harness the Demographic Dividend in Africa underscoring that the initiative builds on strengthening the coordination and implementation of the Forum’s core activities.
He went on to highlight the expected outcomes- increased engagement related to ICPD beyond 2014 and Post-2015 Development Agenda in National Parliaments with the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development presence, setting up of a platform for Members of Parliaments, CSOs and the media to interact on issues relating to promoting the Demographic Dividend concept and strengthening efficiency of the Forum.
Mr. David Williams, Executive Director of PPASL, chaired the meeting with representatives of Health Alert, Health for All Coalition and the media.
The delegation was in the country to sensitize and sell the Demographic Dividend initiative expected to be implemented in five priority countries prior to being replicated in other states during subsequent phases.
The five pilot countries include Rwanda (East Africa); Chad (Central Africa); Cape Verde and Sierra Leone (West Africa) and Zambia (South Africa).
The Secretariat, with support from the Executive Committee, will undertake working visits to the Speakers of Parliaments of the targeted countries to introduce the project and identify other partners relevant to the implementation.