Somaliland Ministers Attend the International Population Conference


A team of Somaliland ministers arrived in Nairobi to attend the forthcoming International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) after 25 years otherwise named ICPD+25.

Somaliland is seeking to learn from the forum as it works towards improving services to its growing youth populace seeking quality education and jobs in the country that is still fighting for international recognition.

The team from Somaliland included finance minister Dr Saad Ali Shire and Eng. Hussein Ibrahim who is the vice Minister for Planning.

The duo alongside Somaliland deputy envoy to Kenya Hussein Ibrahim, Sharmake Gelle attended the pre-conference on Tuesday.

“We are here to learn from how other countries are managing their affairs especially with regards to the education of the youth and especially girls and job creation,” Minister Saad said.

“We {Somaliland} have a large population of the youth who are ready to enter the job market and we need to create these opportunities.

“We also have young children in schools and we need to improve their capacity at that level so that they can compete in the job market not only in Somaliland but also abroad,” he added.

The pre-conference was attended by ministers, parliamentarians, thought-leaders, technical experts, civil society organizations, grassroots organizations, young people, business and community leaders, faith-based organizations, indigenous peoples, international financial institutions, people with disabilities, academics and many others interested in the upcoming conference to be held in Nairobi in November 13-15.

Planning vice-minister Hussein Ibrahim said the pre-conference gave them a chance to discuss and exchange different practices that are being applied in their countries.

The ICPD was initially held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 and from it a Program of Action was developed that changed the whole perspective of development by placing population issues at the centre of development and shifting the main goal of national population policies to that of improving the well-being of citizens.

It also identified enhanced access to reproductive health as critical to the development and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

Kenya is one of the 179 member countries that committed to the ICPD 1994 PoA and has consistently worked towards achieving the PoA objectives and has been conducting ICPD reviews every five years.

Kenya is also a very active member of the FP2020 {Family Planning 2020} movement and has achieved remarkable progress by surpassing family planning targets and continuously seeking ways of improving the family planning program as a pathway towards the management of population growth and consequently attaining a quality life for its population.

During the conference, there will be the main event and several side events at the conference and campaigns/calls have already started for most of them.

One side attraction for the youth is the She Decides (25×25) Campaign where 25 young leaders who are 25 years old (born in 1994) from 25 different countries and are actively promoting reproductive health issues and rights will showcase their achievements.

The conference will also bring together renowned population and development scholars, scientists and researchers who will be presenting cutting edge findings from recent research studies to provide evidence of the achievements of the past 25 years and for decision making towards accelerated progress on the ICPD PoA and SDGs.

There have been calls to ensure that the goals are achieved.

Danish Development Cooperation minister Rasmus Prehn said: “We have talked long enough. Now we need to act. We must ensure sexual and reproductive choices for all before the deadline to meet the SDGs.”

UNFPA Executive director Dr Natalia Kanem said: “We cannot achieve the SDGs without first finishing and completing the Cairo agenda.”

The ICPD 1994 PoA is still very relevant and will remain so for some time. This is because progress has not been as fast as envisaged, inequalities persist between countries with more than 1 billion people still living in poverty and maternal mortality is still very high in several countries.

Also, gender violence still persists while reproductive health and human rights of women, adolescents and youth continue being compounded by economic crises, rapid urbanization and migration and ageing populations.

The Nairobi event, therefore, will be a platform for member states to advance implementation of the ICPD PoA by taking stock of the positive outcomes of 25 years, the existing gaps and addressing the challenges that are hindering faster progress.

It will be a chance to re-confirm commitment to the agenda and hence accelerate success in SDGs so that no one is left behind by the train of development.


East African Business Week


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