Youth Model International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) concludes in Cairo
By Winston Mwale
The conference included combining and sharing unique insights of young people to advance the ICPD agenda
Under the auspices of H.E Present Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, UNFPA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports organized the Youth Model International Conference on Population and Development, on 16 and 17 October 2019.
The conference brought together over 200 young people from 53 countries, giving them a chance to simulate the ICPD that took place in Cairo in 1994, which saw the adoption of the Program of Action.
The conference included combining and sharing unique insights of young people to advance the ICPD agenda, highlighting their role in working on several levels to ensure the full and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Program of Action within the overall context of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.
Ultimately, the conference gave young participants the opportunity to voice their opinions and exchange ideas.
After two days of discussions, the youth renewed their commitment to the ICPD Program of Action and to pushing for the inclusion of youth in the implementation of government, civil society and other stakeholders' initiatives, programs and projects.
This could happen through the establishment of mechanisms to ensure youth participation, push for legislation to criminalise child marriage by 2020 and advocate for curriculum allocation in schools and universities to prepare young people for the labor market through multiple skills training that promotes employability, and self-training.
The opening saw the attendance of Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Health and Population Dr. Hala Zayed, UN Resident Coordinator Richard Dictus, UNFPA Regional Director Dr. Luay Shabaneh and UNFPA Representative in Egypt Dr. Aleksandar Bodiroza.
In his remarks, UNFPA Representative Dr. Aleksandar Bodiroza welcomed young people to this remarkable conference, highlighting their role in advancing the ICPD agenda.
“We gathered today to look at the global progress in the implementation of the ICPD Program of Action and what the youth have to add to accelerate the implementation of the Program of Action,” Dr. Bodiroza said.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Ashraf Sobhy also addressed young people. “As a young person, you should live in safety, women should be equally represented in decision-making positions at all levels, your voice deserves to be heard. You need access to knowledge as you transition into adulthood to make informed choices about bodies and your lives,” he said.
Minister of Health and Population, Dr. Hala Zayed, also highlighted the importance of ICPD that took place in 1994 in shedding light on women’s reproductive health and rights.
UNFPA Regional Director Dr. Luay Shabaneh said that the commitments made at the Youth Model ICPD will make their way to Nairobi taking place on 12 – 14 November. “We need to speak the language of the youth and present our ideas from a youth perspective,” he said.