UNFPA demands concrete commitments from govt

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By Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT has to come up with some concrete policy commitments focusing on youth engagement, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Director Esther Muia has said.

Speaking during a draft programme meeting to validate the upcoming International Conference Population Development (IPCD25) on Friday, Muia emphasised the need for government to “use a lens where all can congregate around youth engagement to drive its developmental agenda.”

“As UNFPA, we have faith in Zimbabwe moving forward. You know what you want. Whatever comes out here needs to be real and not be another paper on the shelf.

“Youth engagement should be driving the agenda. We should have to lean on youth development. If government can confirm and yes commit itself, saying ‘we are interested in moving our country forward’. Then this can be an opportunity to cement gains made before,” Muia said.

She added: “If we invest in youth, it is more valuable. Let us remain focused and harness all those commitments. We need to sign for commitments that are real and not be carried away by figures. Let us be concerned by budget figures.”

The Zimbabwean government has not been able to meet some of the Global Developmental Goals expectations as spelt out in the Abuja Declaration failing to allocate 15% in the budget to health and managing only 8,3% which is far too low to meet the health sector needs.

The country has grappled with making drugs available in hospitals as well as equipment let alone pay doctors descent wages leading to strikes.

Zimbabwe has been implementing the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (POA) by 179 countries since 1994 in Cairo, Egypt.

This year, countries are expected to come-up with specific-commitments that are aimed at complementing and responding to the global commitments and which would be read out at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 to take place this November with the theme “Accelerating the Promise.”