NEW YORK, Monday, 16th March, 2015 – Her Honour Mrs Inonge Wina, Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, says reproductive rights are central to achieving global sustainable development.
The Vice-President said this during her recent trip to New York when she delivered a keynote address at a High-Level event focusing on ‘the pivotal role of reproductive health and rights in sustainable development’ organised by Permanent Missions of Zambia and Sweden to the UN and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on the sidelines of the on-going 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) at UN Headquarters.
Vice-President Wina said the realisation of reproductive rights of women and girls and achievement of sustainable development were inter-dependent and mutually-reinforcing. “Achieving universal access to reproductive health and reproductive rights, including family planning, is not only critical for maintaining and achieving good health outcomes and reducing maternal and child mortality, but also positively influence population dynamics including the demographic dividend,” Mrs Wina said.
“Reproductive rights are inextricably central to achieving our aspirations for global sustainable development, as they can catalyze and advance realization of other sustainable development priorities, including the goals on elimination of poverty, health, education, gender equality, inequalities, sustainable production and consumption, water and sanitation, energy, and environmental protection.”
She expressed concern that large numbers of Women continue to lose their lives while giving birth. She said under-five mortality remained unacceptably high.
“It is therefore, important that we collectively recognize the centrality of reproductive health and rights to achieving our very ambitious program of the Post 2015 Development Agenda,” the Vice-President said.
Mrs Wina said Zambia has endeavored to ensure an enabling environment for the women and girls to exercise their rights, determine the number, spacing and timing of children they would like to have.
She informed the gathering that in 2013, the Zambian Government developed an eight-year national family scale up plan as part of the country’s commitment to provide universal access to family planning services.
“The Government of Zambia has since 2013 integrated comprehensive sexuality education into the national curriculum in order to promote young people’s right to access age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and to empower them to protect their health, well-being and dignity,” said Vice-President Wina.
She said Zambia was spearheading national and international efforts to end child marriage, with a Marriage Bill currently before parliament.
Vice-President Wina commended UNFPA for its strong leadership on reproductive health and rights.
CHIBAULA D. SILWAMBA (Mr.)
First Secretary for Press and Public Relations
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations