Nigeria’s position at the 47th United Nations’ CPD session
The concluding part of the Nigeria’s presentation made at the plenary session of the 47th Session of the United Nations’ Commission on Population and Development (CPD) on Thursday 10th April 2014 was instructive and underpins the harmony between government and civil society organisations delegates at the conference in New York. The presentation was made by the Chairman of the Nigeria’s National Population Commission Chief Eze Duruiheoma, SAN. He ended by observing that “May I conclude by intimating this distinguished gathering that the Nigeria delegation at this session and for the ICPD Beyond 2014 process is a unique and united group of government and civil society groups, united with one voice and an agenda “to transform the lives of all its citizens to a healthy and productive population for rapid and sustainable development of the nation”.
It was refreshing to note that many meetings were held prior to the conference in Abuja to review and assess collectively the progress of the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD +20) with many of us from the civil society organisations, government officials and international development partners. Even when we arrived New York, 2 meeting were held at the Nigeria Permanent Mission to the UN to harmonise and ensure one voice.
This was aimed to ensure that as Nigerians we don’t present a ‘2 fronts’ which could embarrass the entire country before the international community. This however will not stop the civil society organisations from further engaging government to ensure the right policies are in place and properly implemented. Many issues were raised in the Nigerian paper but I will talk about few and add some comments and questions.
Regarding health he observed that we have launched the ‘ Campaign on Accelerated Reduction on Maternal Mortality (CARMMA) in 2009’. It is important that we assess the success of the launch as well as what has happened since 2009 in terms of implementation.
The chairman has also noted that “Nigeria has made meaningful progress at some of the ICPD PoA in the last two decades. Infant mortality has reduced from 97.2/1000 to 69/1000 live births, child mortality rate reduced from 115.2/1000 to 64/1000 live births and Under 5 mortality reduced from 192.4/1000 to 128/1000 live births between 1990 – 2013 (NDHS reports). Equally maternal death has reduced from 800/100,000 live births in 2003 to 545/100,000 live births in 2008”. Yes these are laudable achievements as a national average for each of the indicator mentioned above. It is important we disaggregate these achievements and assess which part of the country are reporting worse indicators and coordinate an accelerated interventions that will positively change them.
The presentation also noted that “In order to create universal access to RH/ FP commodities (free) and services, government has committed $ 11.5 million annually for the next 4 years”. I want to add that at this critical part of our life, it is expected that we move from talking “commitment and allocation” to actual and timely release of financial resources and to purchase, distribute all over the country and make them available to the women in need. I want to re-echo that Nigeria government had spoken so eloquently at the London Summit in 2012 and reiterated that “in addition to our current annual commitment of US$3 million for the procurement of reproductive health commodities, we are now committing to provide an additional US$8,350,000 annually over the next four years, making a total of US$33,400,000 over the next four years. This is an increase of 300 percent.” We are committed to achieving the goal of a contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 36 percent by 2018. Regrettably having said all these, in 2013 not a single kobo was release to purchase the drugs. This requires our collective effort to meaningfully engage in targeted and focused advocacy to ensure resources are available this year.
Another achievement mentioned in the paper was “only 50 cases of polio was reported in 2013, which represent 57 percent reduction from 2012 122 cases in 13 states”. We should not relent in our effort until we join the league of India by declaring Nigeria free of Polio.
I was impressed when the chairman mentioned “What We Want for the Nigerian People” in the ICPD Beyond 2014 agenda. Some of them worth mentioning here; “Advancing Gender Equality, Equity & Empowerment of Women including the eradication of poverty, improve Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents,……Nigeria achieve the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) target of 36 percent by 2018; address the sexual health of adolescent/teenage girls particularly, reduce maternal mortality and morbidity by 2/3 of current level and accelerate the prevention and scale-up treatment of STIs and HIV/ AIDS. Also, promote initiatives that will eliminate all violence against women & girls and children including those in conflict situations------- and “ensure “Unrestricted” universal access to all range of RH commodities and consumables/services “at no fee” to meet the need of women and adolescents.”
The paper also observed that we want to “foster global partnership and collaboration to support the implementation of ICPD Beyond 2014 agenda, evolve appropriate data collection and management strategy for effective Monitoring and Evaluation of ICPD Beyond 2014 Programme of Action targets and promote good governance, transparency and accountability.
These are excellent but “HOW” do we ensure implementation so that by next year during the 48th session, we will be talking about progress and sharing case studies of success. Now that we are back home it is imperative that awareness is raised at the highest places and engagement begin to actualise sustained development and reversal of the worst indicators.
All comments to Dr Aminu Magashi at email@example.com