The Vanuatu Government has joined other global community to reaffirm its commitment to the International Convention on Population Development, (ICPD) in the recent ICPD25 summit held in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

In 1994, the Government committed itself to honour the ICPD goals and its Programme of action on Human Rights with focus on gender issues.

The re-commitment statement was delivered by Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Francois Chani on behalf of the Government on Thursday, 14th November, 2019.

In his statement Chani, reaffirmed the commitment to the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the key actions for its further implementation through Vanuatu’s National Sustainable Development Plan and the National Population Policy. He also reasserted the promise to integrate universal access to sexual and reproductive health in the essential package of universal health care.

‘’The Government of the Republic of Vanuatu recommits itself to achieving zero unmet need for family planning information and services, and universal availability of quality, affordable and safe modern contraceptives through the implementation of Vanuatu’s Health Sector Strategy and the Vanuatu Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Policy and Implementation Strategy,’’ Minister Chani stated.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development confirmed the government had recommit itself to achieving zero preventable maternal deaths, and maternal morbidities integrating a comprehensive approach of essential sexual and reproductive health package for preventing and avoiding unsafe abortions, and post-abortion care, into its national UHC policies and strategies as previously stated.

‘We reaffirm our commitment in ensuring access for adolescents and youth to comprehensive and age-appropriate information, education and adolescent-friendly comprehensive, quality and timely services to be able to make informed choices about their sexuality and reproductive lives, to adequately protect themselves from unintended pregnancies, gender-based violence, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, and to be able to transition safely and happily into adulthood.

“The government is especially committed to address the rising fertility and unintended pregnancy rates among adolescents and youth is a key focus,’’ said Chani.

Gender based violence is a serious, widespread and persistent problem in Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu government reiterated its commitment and has prioritized gender equality and zero sexual and gender based violence, including zero child, early and forced marriage, in order to realize all individuals’ potential as agents of change in their society – both socially and economically as an integral part of its social development through its National Gender Equality Policy to leave no one behind.

On inclusiveness, Minister Chani reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to building peaceful, just and inclusive societies, where all people, including the old and the young, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, build and live in societies where they feel valued and are able to shape their own destiny and contribute to the prosperity of their societies.

The Vanuatu Government has built a solid framework to build a society that is inclusive, barrier-free and rights based for all people of Vanuatu.

Mr Chani said the Government is committed to the notion that nothing about young people’s health and well-being can be discussed and decided upon without their meaningful involvement and participation (“nothing about us, without us”) which is captured in the Vanuatu National Youth Policy and the Vanuatu National Youth Authority Act, with a primary focus on the capacity building and participation of youth in all sectors of national development.

He mentioned the progress towards achieving the goals and objectives of the Programme of Action on ICPD and the Sustainable Development Goals, which has translated in to the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan and stress that challenges and obstacles remain in the implementation of the Programme of Action and, in this regard, pledge to undertake further action to ensure its full and accelerated implementation; Using national budget processes, increasing domestic financing and exploring new and innovative financing instruments and structures to ensure full, effective and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

‘’The government further commits to further doing what is in our power to increase the percentage of official development aid specifically earmarked to ensure universal access to SRHR to complement domestic financing of sexual and reproductive health programmes,’’ the minister stressed.

In regards to Innovation and Data the minister reaffirmed the need to ensure availability of and access to quality, timely and disaggregated data, investing in digital health innovations and improvement of data systems to achieve sustainable development through our own National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, the National Strategy of Development of Statistics, and the Rights to Information Policy.