PPD countries pledge collective efforts to improve lives of women, children & adolescents
They made the pledge at the inter-ministerial conference in Dhaka on Saturday, ahead of the beginning of the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) in January.
Indian Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda, who is vice-chair of the PPD board, said as the countries were transitioning from the MDGs to SDGs, “it is imperative that women, children and adolescent remain at the heart of the SDGs”. He said climate change, water, education, sanitation and nutrition “all affect women and children”.
Chinese vice-minister for health and family planning Wang Pei’an said women, children and adolescent would be the “key route” to achieving the new development goals. “China stands ready to work with the PPD and international partners for the cause of women, children and adolescents.” China and India are the strongest members of the PPD, headquartered in Dhaka.
Benin, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe are the other members of PPD.
The group was formed in 1994 to promote ‘South-South cooperation’ through the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. Collectively the member-states represent over half the world’s population. They have the largest youth population, but at the same time are grappling with aging people. They share best practices, and experiences to deal with their development challenges.
Saturday’s ‘Dhaka Resolve’ called member states to keep three thrust areas of ‘survive, thrive and transform’ in focus in alignment with the SDG goals and indicators for the success of the ‘every woman, every child, and every adolescent’ movement. The countries are now working on setting indicators for the SDGs after the adoption of the 17 goals and 169 targets in September.
On the theme of ‘survive’, the Dhaka declaration laid stress on ending preventable deaths as hundreds of thousands of women die while giving birth and new-borns die of infections among the member countries, home to the world’s poorest population. All forms of malnutrition need to be brought to an end to help them thrive, the declaration noted. It also calls for creating and expanding an “enabling environment” for women, children, and adolescents to benefit from the efforts of ‘survive’ and ‘thrive’.
Saima Wazed Hossain, daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and chairperson of Bangladesh’s National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neuro-developmental Disorders, noted that collective efforts could “make a difference”. “When we talk about women, we need to involve more women, we need to hear more from women,” she said. She said women were caregivers as mothers, daughters and sisters no matter what they do and wherever they do in the world. “We struggle every single day within ourselves dealing with the question of what we have done today. Our number one priority is our family”. She said, despite her family background, “I end the day with a sense that perhaps there is something that I could have done for my family”.
Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Choudhury,who inaugurated the conference, said the PPD partnership signified “the commitment that we want to do it (changing women and children’s lives) together”.
Health Minister Mohammed Nasim said Bangladesh as a host would ensure all support to the PPD. He said Bangladesh had become “a model” through the MDGs by showing what could be done. “Now we must focus on the challenges before us,” he said.
The Unites States is the development partner of most of the PPD member countries. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat said maternal, child and adolescent health remained a “cornerstone” of the health, population and nutrition sector development programme. “There are millions of women and girls who are counting on you, who are counting on us,” she said at the conference.
Executive Officer of the UN Secretary-General Dr Nana Taona Kuo, Unicef Regional Director Dr Karin Hulshof, and UNFPA Regional Director Yoriko Yasukawa spoke among others at the inauguration, which was moderated by PPD Executive Director Joe Thomas.