Dr. Natalia Kanem, Acting Executive Director of the UNFPA was invited to the 29th AU Assembly in Ethiopia by the President of the African Union, Prof Alpha Conde, and President of the Republic of Guinea. This came as an opportunity to recognize the important contribution of the organization within the African Union Member States. “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth” is the theme of this year. UNFPA as a lead partner played a key role with the leadership of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin who passed away suddenly in the night of the 5th June 2017.
As part of the AU Summit activities, UNFPA acting Executive Director had bilateral meetings with many decision makers and partners. On the 4th July 2017, she met H.E. Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and President of the African Union.
With the President Alpha Conde, it was discussed the proposed areas of collaboration and support of UNFPA to the presidency of Pr. Alpha Conde. They also had an opportunity to talk about upcoming events to be organized during the General Assembly of the UN (UNGA72) in New York with the support of the African Union. The UNGA72 will be another opportunity to invite High Level representatives to discuss issues about youth. Putting young people first is the main objective of AU in 2017 and beyond. As chair of the continental organization, Prof Conde is interested on taking into consideration, the important role that the diaspora can play in addressing all the issues of the continent. Their participation and contribution will be expected during all the side events to be organized jointly, at the margins of that UN Summit.
Dr. Natalia Kanem, acting Executive Director of the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) might strategically engage and position the organization on that approach giving the link with the AU Theme of the Year on the demographic dividend. UNFPA is the UN organization dealing with population and development issues. The late Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin gave his life to address issues related to young people, women and adolescent girl in Africa since he started as medical Doctor in Nigeria.
The Family Planning Summit in London is continuously highlighting the important role played by the organization. To also recall that, while the Trump's Government decided recently to defund UNFPA, the UK government announced it was increasing its funding for family planning by £45m a year until 2022. In 2012, DfID pledged £185m per year until 2020, but the extra funding will result in an average £225m a year until 2022.