Speech

Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Closing Ceremony

14 November 2019

Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem at the closing ceremony of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25.

Excellencies, distinguished participants, dear friends:

What an incredible three days this has been. Thank you. Nashukuru sana.

Energy, excitement, passion! We have all seen and felt that and more this week.

We have come together – over 9500 participants from more than 170 countries – with a profound sense of shared purpose. We have learned together and celebrated together; we have engaged one another and shared the common bonds that unite us through music, art and dance.

We have explored how we can do better, where we can do better and why we must do better.

And, most importantly, we have made commitments. We have held ourselves accountable. We are taking action.

Thanks to all of you, we are closer than ever to realizing the clear vision of the ICPD Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

We have focused all our conversations, all our efforts, and all our energy around a single number and a simple vision: zero.

Zero barriers to contraception and reproductive health care.

Zero preventable deaths in pregnancy and childbirth.

Zero gender-based violence, assault, and abuse.

Zero child marriages. Zero cases of female genital mutilation. Zero. Zero. Zero.

Zero is closer than ever before—thanks to the Nairobi Summit; thanks to your commitment; thanks to your passion, your resolve and your insistence on fighting for a better future for girls, for women, for everyone, everywhere in the world.

And thanks to the leadership of the Governments of Kenya and Denmark in supporting this Summit and championing rights and choices for all – and to the Governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden, and our many private sector partners, for their additional financial support to making these three days possible.  Bravo to the dream team from Kenya, Denmark and UNFPA who burned the midnight oil for months on end to get us to this moment.

Above all, thanks to everyone who pledged this week.  

The Summit mobilized more than 1250 commitments from around the world, including billions of dollars in pledges from public and private sector partners.

More than 160 Member States have made their voluntary commitments so far. This attests to the extraordinary relevance and resonance of this agenda in countries around the globe. The ICPD is alive and well!

Countries committed to increasing national health budgets – to expand access to modern contraceptives and to train midwives and other health workers.

They committed to greater inclusion, of people with disabilities, of those who identify as LGBTQI, of anyone who has been excluded, so that everyone can access services and enjoy full and equal rights.

They committed to pass laws to prevent gender-based violence and to eliminate female genital mutilation. We heard President Uhuru Kenyatta’s historic pledge to end FGM here in Kenya within this generation.

Countries set in motion actions to harness the demographic dividend to grow their economies.

Governments promised to include young people in decision-making, truly heeding the call: “Nothing about us, without us!”

To the young leaders and activists here, thank you for challenging us, for inspiring us, for pushing us and for leading us to do more.

Ours is an inclusive agenda and this was a unique and inclusive Summit. This strong, broad coalition across countries, continents and cultures is what it will take to get to the job done.

Let us move forward now together, to protect and promote the rights of all people, and especially women and girls. This is the great hope for humanity. This is why we march. And why we continue marching.

UNFPA will be marching with you every step of the way. We will never lose sight of who we are fighting for.

For the past 12 months, all roads have led to Nairobi. But our journey has never been about just these three days. Our march continues.

The Nairobi Statement, a transformative, agenda-setting framework, captures the commitments made this week.

I am pleased to announce that UNFPA will create a new high-level commission to drive this agenda and our commitments forward. We will draw from the full spectrum of stakeholders—government and the private sector, young people and activists, civil society and philanthropy, among many others.

The commission will propose ways to monitor progress on the commitments made here this week, while accounting for all already existing global, regional, and national follow-up mechanisms.

Based on the commission’s recommendations, UNFPA will regularly report on the 12 global commitments embodied in the Nairobi Statement.

Together, we will work to make the next ten years, years of action and results for women and girls, in keeping with the decade of delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Together, we will make sure that promises made are promises kept.

We know what we have to do, we know what it will cost, and we know why we do it. We do it because women and girls matter. We do it because sexual and reproductive health and rights matter. This is what unites us.

And I know we will succeed. The reason I know this is because of what we’ve done here. It’s because of all the young leaders around the world who are counting on us, but not waiting on us any longer, to advance their visions of a better tomorrow.

Thank you for calling on us to work harder. To aim higher. To move faster. Because that is what we need to do to realize the world we all want.

So now, as we leave Nairobi and return to our countries, we shall answer that call. Because if we succeed, when we succeed, when we keep the promises of Cairo, when we keep the promises we have made here in Nairobi, there is no doubt in my mind that years from now, a new generation of women and girls will look back on what we did here and say:

Nairobi is where we made opportunity a reality.

Nairobi is where we stopped just talking about rights, and took action to uphold them.

Nairobi is where we, at long last, did the work to put a brighter future within reach for generations to come.

Let’s keep moving forward.  Tusonge mbele! No retreat on women rights and choices. We will not back down. We will never give up. ¡Adelante!  Forward!

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