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As we begin 2018, we are delighted to have ended 2017 on a high note, confident that we helped make investment in young people the rallying call of the year. Our response to the call of the African Union to develop a roadmap on the demographic dividend has led to actions in the 55 member states, as well as by United Nations agencies, partners, civil society organizations, parliamentarians, and youth groups around the 2017 theme: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth.” We believe that this message is now beginning to sink in.
 
UNFPA WCARO is delighted to have championed advocacy efforts that led to African leaders making young people their top priority in all their development, peace and security initiatives. Stakeholders and partners are increasingly keen to invest in family planning, health systems, education and job creation. National leaders of our region are vocal in their commitment to ensuring that their populations can enjoy the values of a democratic society; pillars that constitute the demographic dividend agenda.
 
Key actors across the continent got involved and engaged in discussions, activities, projects and programmes around the demographic dividend agenda. This helped us to further raise awareness and explore ways of enhancing our understanding of the concept of demographic dividend and what it means in operational terms.
 
Now, at the end of the year, it is important to reflect on the progress made and the challenges ahead. We must also decide how to consolidate discussions around the demographic dividend and its operationalization, in order to continue our work in transforming the lives of young people.
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In 2017, UNFPA WCARO had one clear objective - to put our agenda of harnessing the demographic dividend in our region to work.
 
We teamed up with the African Union and its 55 member states as well as with other United Nations agencies, partners, civil society organizations and youth groups to ensure
that we all focussed on the year’s theme: investment in our youth.
 
Our work included advocacy from government leaders to grassroot levels, reaching out to leaders from different faiths and traditions as well as the private sector, organizing workshops and meetings across the region.
We made particular efforts to reach young people and engage them in this agenda.
 
We worked to strengthen youth organizations such as AfriYAN and promote the #PutYoungPeopleFirst campaign and we also worked on our own internal communications to ensure we reach our hardest-to-reach beneficiaries
across the region.
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Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been internationally recognized as a violation of the rights, health and integrity of women and girls. FGM constitutes both a result and a perpetuation of gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls, harming their lives in many ways. The global consensus on the need to eliminate all forms of FGM worldwide is clearly reflected in Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 and in several United Nations Resolutions.
 
Although FGM prevalence in almost all countries is slowly but steadily declining, the absolute number of girls subjected to FGM is likely to grow, since most affected communities are also experiencing high population growth.
 
We know that a legal framework that clearly outlaws FGM can support its abandonment. When a government criminalizes FGM, it sends a clear signal that the practice will no longer be tolerated. Where FGM is already socially contested, legislation can encourage those who wish to abandon it and deter those who fear prosecution. Having a national law is an important step towards ending FGM but for it to be effective, the law must be implemented and enforced.

 

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Right now, the combined wealth of the world’s 2,473 billionaires, as calculated by Wealth-X, exceeds $7.7 trillion. That’s equivalent to the combined gross domestic product of an astonishing four fifths of the world’s countries
in 2015. It means that while some privileged households budget for billions, many hundreds of millions of families barely scrape by on less than $1.25 a day.
 
This is a path that we pursue at our peril. The yawning gap between the richest and the poorest is not only unfair, but a risk to economies, communities and nations. In 2015, in recognition of this risk, the world’s governments agreed that the path to sustainable development for the next 15 years must be built on a foundation of equality, inclusiveness and universal enjoyment of rights.
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An international symposium on “Islam,Demographic Dividend and FamilyWellbeing” took place in Ndjamena, Chad, from 25 to 27 July 2017, at the initiative of the Government of the Republic of Chad and the Chadian
Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (CSAI), and with the financial and technical support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank. The event brought together “more than 1,200 Muslim leaders”1.
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“Today is the beginning of a new milestone… Let us not forget that Africa is the continent with the most constraints and uncertainties. Globally, it appears as a disaster area, therefore you see why our action and our place in the agenda beyond 2015 are critical. For this reason, I would like to suggest a roadmap that could help us maximize our contribution, the construction of a better future for us and for all… Today there is a need to agree on how to make the Demographic Dividend the foundation of all of our interventions...” said Mabingue NGOM, Regional Director of UNFPA West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) on June 30, 2015 in Libreville in Gabon.
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Adolescent health and development are key foundations for a country’s economic development and political stability. The outcomes of adolescent health are closely linked with future adult development, infant and child mortality, maternal morbidity and mortality, and even long-term economic development. 

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DR. BABATUNDE OSOTIMEHIN (OON) (1949 - 2017) 

A Leadership of Empathy and Commitment
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This report presents the highlights of the spotlight session organized during the London Family Planing Summit that took place in London in July 2017.

 

 

 

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UNFPA WVARO Regional Islam, Demographic Dividend and Family Wellbeing

Islam, Demographic Dividend and Family Wellbeing was addressed during the N’Djamena regional symposium. It highlighted the fundamental role Muslim leaders play in accelerating the demographic transition, to develop their skills on such issues as family planning, maternal and infant mortality, and to promote women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health services. 

 

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