Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor calls for more robust gender equality regime now than ever before in Liberia, urging both government and international partners to look at specific plans that would lead to taking a more critical look at the entire educational system of Liberia.
Vice President Taylor also stresses a need to inculcate a new educational regime by finding new sources of funding for higher levels investment in education to creating an enlightened population, which she notes, is a sine qua non to the growth and development the country so urgently needs.
Speaking at the joint celebration of the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) and the 50th celebration of the United Nations Population Fund, which coincides with the formal launch of State of the World Population Report 2019 here, Madam Taylor notes that being a gender advocate herself, she is concerned about the status of Liberia’s educational sector as projected in the Report, which indicates that in Liberia, between ages 10 and 24 years, 72 percent males and 64 percent females are literate.
She adds that the Report also states that the health sector here is still seriously challenged with infant and maternal mortality rates still high and that 31 percent of girls between ages 15 and 19 experience teenage pregnancies.
“These statistics are quite disturbing, leading one to believe that in spite of all that had been done over the years to reduce these numbers; that much, much more needs to be done; permit me to include that I am further disturbed that the UNFPA Liberian section of the report did not include statistics on sexual and gender based violence”, the Vice President notes.
The State of the World Population at 2019 is 7.71 billion. This year’s Report is on theme, “Unfinished Business” Vice President Taylor underscores that it’s time for reflection and resolutions and to take stock of successes and challenges as well as strengthen resolve to set goals for the future; as UNFPA marks a new beginning and roll out a new strategic plan.
She quotes Dr. Kanem as saying UNFPA has reached more than 33 million women and over 1.6 million adolescents and young people with sexual and reproductive health services, while tackling gender based violence worldwide.Contraceptives provided by UNFPA have potential to avert an estimated 30,800 maternal deaths, 11.6 million unintended pregnancies and 3.6 million unsafe abortions.
VP Taylor also adds that UNFPA has trained thousands of health workers, treated 22,000 women and girls living with fistula, reached more than 2 million marginalized girls with life skills programmes and 1 million more with prevention and protection services related to child marriage and female genitals mutilation, whujch she notes are just a snapshot of the life-saving and life-transforming services delivered to millions of women and adolescent girls around the world.
However, the Vice President says it is good to be reminded that the 2019 report shows that while much has been attained, much more remains to be done in fulfillment of UNFPA’s key role as the UN agency responsible to delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Speaking earlier, UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi says though he has just spent few months in Liberia, he congratulates his predecessor and the entire UNFPA team here for the job well done over the years.
Dr. Ndyanabangi recalls that after the funding of UNFPA, it than moved to Liberia in 1973 and since then it has been working with government, civic society organizations, and other developmental partners mainly in assisting and capacity strengthening.
The ICPD 25th anniversary and the UNFPA 50th celebration along with the launch of State of World Population Report 2019 were held Thursday, 30 May at the Monrovia City Hill on 1st Street, Monrovia.
The occasion brought together Diplomats from UN organizations, senior government officials, civic society organizations, students and officials from the health sector, amongst others. By Ben P. Wesee–Editing by Jonathan Browne