Dakar, Senegal – 9 August 2019: The official visit of UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem was marked by her participation in the “25 Hours of Dakar”, organized by AfriYAN, the African network of youth and adolescents in population and development with the presence of delegates from the 23 countries of West and Central Africa.
This event was an opportunity for young people in Africa to speak with one voice, in the run-up to the Nairobi Summit scheduled for 12-14 November 2019, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
The young people delivered the Dakar Declaration, inviting the Executive Director to convey their message to the Heads of State and world leaders at the upcoming Nairobi Summit, from 12 to 14 November 2019, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ICPD. The Executive Director promised that their messages would be delivered.
UNFPA’s Executive Director, together with the Ministers of Youth of Senegal and Guinea, joined by international music icon Youssou Ndour, launched the 97-day countdown to the Nairobi Summit.
At the event dubbed “25 Hours of Dakar,” Youssou Ndour electrified the atmosphere with a battery of famous tracks, including “7 Seconds,” “Birima,” “New Africa,” amongst others. Before they knew it, the Executive Director, Ministers and the young people were all on the dance floor getting out their best dance moves. The Senegalese music legend joined the Pan-African youths to send a message that they were all set on the road to Nairobi. He acknowledged UNFPA for creating the platform and supporting young people in Africa.
On her first official visit, Dr. Natalia Kanem met with President Macky Sall of Senegal. She congratulated Senegal for its exceptional efforts in reducing maternal and infant mortality. The Government of President Macky Sall is determined to do more on population and development issues, especially in the field of health. Senegal may be joining the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend initiative.
The Executive Director also met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Finance, Planning, Women, and Youth. She equally as granted audience by the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Ms. Aminata Touré, who hosted a dinner in honour of the Executive Director.
The Executive Director secured the commitment of the Senegalese authorities and other stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of the promises made at the ICPD in Cairo. In 1994, world leaders had pledged to reduce the number of preventable maternal deaths, respect sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights, and end gender-based violence and harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.
The field visit to Fass was an opportunity for Dr. Natalia Kanem to meet with the communities as part of the project to implement the concept of capturing the demographic dividend in urban areas, particularly in the commune of Gueule Tapée, Fass, Colobane (Fass Emergent).
It also held working sessions with United Nations agencies, technical and financial partners, as well as UNFPA staff.
She expressed her gratitude to the Regional Director, Mabingue Ngom, and Country Representative, Cecile Compaore Zoungrana, and the staff of both regional and country offices for their dedicated services. Dr. Natalia Kanem joined the team to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UNFPA.