Media Advisory

“Realizing Demographic Dividend in Africa: the Critical Importance of Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”

8 February 2016
Young people especially girls must be protected and educated ©UNFPA
Young people especially girls must be protected and educated

 “As a group, adolescent girls can be a formidable force to create a better world with the right investments, support and interventions; adolescent girls have the power and potential to transform families, communities, nations and the world” UN Under-Secretary General and UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

WHAT: 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights

Under the distinguished patronage of the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana and President of the African First Ladies Against HIV & AIDS (OAFLA), Her Excellency Dr. Lordina Mahama,  and the  UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin,  Ghana will host the 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR) from  8th – 12th February.

With the support of UNFPA and other partners, Curious Minds, a youth led organization is coordinating this crucial conference under the theme ‘Realizing Demographic Dividend in Africa: the Critical Importance of Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’. 

In West and Central Africa, 64% of the total population is under 24 years old. If they were healthy, educated, empowered and given access to productive employment and decent work, these young people could transform not just theirs, but everyone’s lives. Without these basic rights, they are unable to contribute to economic progress and are vulnerable to violent extremism and forced migration.

In line with the human development aspirations contained in the ICPD Beyond 2014, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union’s Agenda 2063, this conference aims at exploring and agreeing the amplification of best practices for adolescents and youth Sexual Health and Rights with a focus on:

  • effective responses to youth vulnerabilities;
  • facilitating knowledge sharing and programming to enhance adolescents and youth agency;
  • enhancing adolescent and youth policies and programmes in regional and global development agendas;
  • proposing actions to promote adolescents and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights

ACSHR 2016 is open to all including policy makers, researchers, young people, community leaders and activists working of young people’s SRH issues. About a 1000 participants from across Africa and other parts of the world are projected to attend the Conference High profile officials from various governments, the United Nations, academia, International organisations are expected to be in attendance.

Whilst in Ghana, the UNFPA Executive Director will also meet with the President, the participating First Ladies, the Speaker and Honorable Members of Parliament, several ministers and others stakeholders. The visit will also help commemorate the appointment of H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana, by the UN Secretary-General as Co-Chair of Eminent Advocates Group for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Included in the UNFPA Executive Director delegation are Mr. Mabingue Ngom, Regional Director, UNFPA West and Central Africa and Mr. Kwabena Osei-Danquah the Director, Division for Governance & Multilateral Affairs of the UNFPA.

WHY: Of the 1.8 billion young people living today, the majority of them are from developing countries like those in Africa. This unprecedented high number of youth calls for urgent attention, planning and action to ensure the emergence of a new generation of empowered, knowledgeable, healthy and motivated individuals.

There is an important link therefore between discourse around the demographic dividend and the rights, particularly the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

WHO/Invited Speakers:

  • First Lady of Ghana and President of OAFLA, H.E. Dr. Lordina Mahama
  • UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

WHEN: 8 – 12 February 2016

WHERE: Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana

About UNFPA

UNFPA works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

UNFPA works all over the world to end child marriage and to eliminate female genital mutilation as well as to ensure that all girls can realize their dreams, be safe, and live happy and healthy lives. Our aim is to let them be girls, not young brides or young mothers.

Working in close partnerships with WHO, UNICEF and UN Women, with funding from the French Muskoka Fund, we are supporting efforts to fulfil the potentials of young people. One of such key interventions is  the ‘C’est la vie!’ educational TV soap-opera and the accompanying national and local social and behaviour change campaign on radio, social media and the web to tackle attitudes to child, adolescent and maternal health, reproductive health, quality of care and gender-based violence.

 

For more information contact:

Doris Mawuse Aglobitse: UNFPA Ghana

United Nations Population Fund|+233 204545666| aglobitse@unfpa.org

Nelson Muffuh:UNFPA West and Central Africa Region

United Nations Population Fund|+ 221786370395|muffuh@unfpa.org

Adebayo Fayoyin: UNFPA East and Southern Africa

United Nations Population Fund |+27 79 517 0320|fayoyin@unfpa.org