Magazine article UN Chronicle

Population Fund Launches Major Initiatives on Africa, Women

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Population Fund Launches Major Initiatives on Africa, Women

Article excerpt

The UN Population Fund has launched major initiatives to aid sub-Saharan Africa and women, its Executive Director, Dr. Nafis Sadik, told the Population Commission on 21 February.

In 1987, the Fund devised a Comprehensive aid strategy for subSaharan Africa, the region of the world with the fastest growing population, highest fertility and mortality. rates, and the greatest need for population assistance.

Awareness of the implications of population growth and movement has increased dramatically among leaders of African countries over the past five years, she said. The Fund has also strengthened its capacity to deal with issues concerning women, population and development.

Women and their offspring are the "main victims of unregulated fertility", she said, quoting the 1984 Mexico City Declaration on Population and Development. Women must be more than just the recipients of population programmes. They must become participants, managers and decision-makers. The evidence is overwhelming that improving their role, status and participation accelerates the pace of socioeconomic and demographic change.

Female literacy is among the criteria determining priority status for Population Fund assistance, she said, adding: "Our aim is simple even if our task is not: to educate girls, improve women's working conditions and extend employment opportunities to women, all three as quickly as possible". …

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