Nairobi summit: Women’s empowerment a ‘game changer’ for sustainable development

@ UNFPA UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, addresses the 25th Anniversary of the ICPD in Nairobi, Kenya.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The global goal of a sustainable future for all cannot be achieved until women, girls and young people gain control over their own bodies and lives, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told world leaders meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The Kenyan capital is hosting a three-day summit to mark 25 years since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

The conference, held in Cairo, produced a Programme of Action which recognized that reproductive health, women’s empowerment and gender equality are critical to sustainable development.

Ms. Mohammed said it must be carried forward: “Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and upholding women’s rights is a game changer – for poverty-reduction, inclusive growth, democratic governance, peace and justice,” she said.

“The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved until women, girls and young people are able to control their bodies and their lives, and live free of violence. The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children is a human right that can bolster economic and social development.”

SDGs deadline approaching

For Ms. Mohammed, the Nairobi Summit is also an opportunity to mobilize political and financial momentum towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015.

Next year will see the start of a Decade of Action ahead of the 2030 deadline.

“We must continue to work  even harder towards preventable maternal and child mortality, achieving the unmet need for family planning, and eliminating violence and harmful practices against women and girls everywhere, not least in humanitarian and fragile settings,” the UN deputy chief told the gathering.

As too many are still being left behind, Ms. Mohammed called for action.

“Hundreds of millions of women and girls are still waiting for the promise to be kept. They have been waiting long enough,” she said.

“It’s time for urgent and transformative change as we enter the decade of action to 2030.

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