African Ministers agreed on a Common Position at the AADPD5 Review Process in Accra, Ghana: Translating women’s voice and stories as Data and indicators for change

“We must meaningfully invest in developing and owning our data…produce data that transforms lives, informs and shape policies as well as developmental programs across the continent” — a view expressed by most African ministers at the AADPD5 Review process.

As a feminist civil society participant, I could not agree less with the African ministers. For our lives and realities as young people, women and girls are our own data, our own evidence which if explored by policymakers would not only help to inform them on our demands for sexual and reproductive health services and care, the demand for empowerment programs, education and complete eradication and zero tolerance of any forms of violence against women and girls, but would definitely serves as a major drive for Africa towards the future it wants.

Throughout the first week of October, I attended the ADDPD5 Review meetings in Ghana. A gathering which began with the CSOs pre-consultations (September 30 – 1st, October 2018), and was immediately followed by the experts meeting (APEC) and finally the Ministerial (STC-HPDC2). The meeting had as main objectives to; review and evaluate the five year continental implementation of the Addis Abeba Declaration on Population and Development (AADPD); Identify challenges and gaps impeding its implementation; as well as sharing of best practices. It also aimed at identifying areas of collaboration in terms of addressing the current Africa’s population issues; and most importantly to agree on an African Common Position on the Population and Development issues for the continent, which will fit into the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) as well as the 52nd session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in 2019.

The Journey for Change: What it means attending Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development five years after

There is nothing so delightful compared to be present when history is made. Five years ago during the adoption of the AADPD in October 2013, I recalled vividly the process and the strategic contributions of Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac) in the formulation and finalization of the AADPD (also referred to as the African common position to the ICPD). The AADPD comprises of 88 articles, grouped under six pillars: Dignity and Equality; Health; Place and Mobility; Governance; Data and Statistics; Partnership and International Cooperation.

This year, exactly five years after, I am once again privileged to mark present together with over 100 civil society participants, women’s rights organisations, youth leaders including representatives from government agencies, International Organisations such as IPPF, UN Systems, Ipas – from across 50 African countries, for an interactive and intensive two day consultation and the AADPD+5 review process meeting in Accra, Ghana.  An experience, I find great delights in doing.

Translating women’s voice and stories as Data and indicators for change

Like African ministers, civil society participants at the AADPD5 called for evidence based policy,  investments and the importance for peoples, especially women’s and adolescents well-being, education, health as well as mitigating measures of climate change and shrinking civic spaces.

Perosnally, I believe that fact of the several recommendations made, data and statistical evidence were among the core issues expressed, finally shows the interest of African leaders in evidence-based research to inspire actions and achieve meaningful impacts in the people it serves, in an era where the people, as well as leaders, are moving towards the vision of the Addis Abeba Declaration on Population and Development (AADPD) and the realization of the demographic dividend and ultimately sustainable development in line with Maputo Plan of Action (2016-2030), Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda.

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