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Population

Lawmakers Deliberate on ICPD30, Water Security at Tajikistan Conference

Mavsuma M. Muini, deputy chairperson of the Majlisi Namoyandagon Majlisi Oli (Parliament) of the Republic of Tajikistan.

Mavsuma M. Muini, deputy chairperson of the Majlisi Namoyandagon Majlisi Oli (Parliament) of the Republic of Tajikistan.

Jun 10 2024 (IPS) - It’s been 30 years since the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD30) was adopted in Cairo, transforming policy and thinking on population and development issues.

During this crucial year, parliamentarians are participating in the 30-year review, recognizing that while there has been significant progress, this is threatened by multifaceted crises, including the backsliding on the rights and choices of women and girls and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional parliamentarians are gathering this week on the sidelines of the Third Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference in the Republic of Tajikistan.

On the agenda are topics related to demographic shifts, gender equality, young people’s empowerment, water scarcity and climate change, which will form a milestone on the way to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP29) in Baku in November 2024.

Ahead of the meeting, IPS interviewed Mavsuma M. Muini, deputy chairperson of the Majlisi Namoyandagon Majlisi Oli (Parliament) of the Republic of Tajikistan.

IPS: What role do people see for addressing climate change and ensuring that water scarcity is not exacerbated?

Mavsuma M. Muini: The Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) provides a good basis for multilateral cooperation across the entire spectrum of population issues. Adopted in Cairo in 1994, the document remains relevant and appropriate in the context of contemporary demographic processes.

With the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action, governments set an ambitious agenda for achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable global development and contributed to significant improvements in gender equality and women’s empowerment, poverty reduction, increased access to health and education, and environmental sustainability. The ICPD Program of Action was a landmark in the history of human rights, women’s empowerment and sustainable development.

Based on the ICPD agenda, we must now mobilize our supporters and our governments to implement the strategies, principles, goals, and targets identified in the Programme of Action related to demographics, climate change, water and food security, and increased access to renewable energy. More concrete and inclusive climate solutions must be accelerated and scaled up to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Environmental challenges, such as global climate change, which is largely driven by unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, are exacerbating threats to the well-being of future generations.  This situation is exacerbated by increasing and recurrent extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, which are straining our ecosystems and having catastrophic consequences for global food security.

In view of the above, the water initiatives of the Republic of Tajikistan, supported by the UN General Assembly, including the declaration of 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater, 2005–2015 as the International Decade of Action “Water for Life,”  2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, and 2018–2028 as the International Decade of Action “Water for Sustainable Development,”  have strengthened the understanding of the world community of the need to move from the discussions on the expression of water for sustainable development. The International Decade of Action “Water for Life,” the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation and the International Decade of Action “Water for Sustainable Development,”  2018-2028, strengthened the understanding of the world community’s need to move from discussions, expression of intentions and declaration of commitments to the implementation of practical measures. This is a new strategic goal of the international community for the sake of life and humanity.

Speaking at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rakhmon, proposed adapting fundamental international legal documents in the field of water resources management, taking into account modern requirements and challenges. He also took the initiative to declare 2012 the International Year of Water Diplomacy to strengthen cooperation in the settlement of water relations.

The solution to water problems on a global scale is becoming more complicated due to climate change, which is becoming increasingly evident in all regions of the globe. Recognizing climate change as the main challenge to water resources, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan proposed to declare 2025 the International Year of Glacier Conservation, as well as to define World Glacier Conservation Day and establish a special Trust Fund under the UN to promote glacier conservation.

On December 14, 2022, the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on declaring 2025 the International Year of Glacier Conservation, proposed by the Republic of Tajikistan. It is unique in its essence, as it simultaneously declares both the International Day and the International Year of Glacier Conservation. All these efforts of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, respected Emomali Rahmon, are characterized by the desire to attract more attention from the world community to solving water issues and improving water cooperation.

IPS: As parliamentarians responsible for the legislative framework and financial resources for the ICPD POA, what key messages would you like to take to the Summit of the Future regarding reproductive health rights and women’s empowerment for the region?

Muini: The commitment of parliamentarians is vital as a bridge between the people and the government in creating support and an enabling environment to accelerate and implement the SDGs to increase gender equality and violence development.

Tajikistan, having endorsed the ICPD Programme of Action, adopted it as a framework for achieving national development priorities and implemented several policies and strategic and practical measures to ensure human rights and equality, which are fundamental to the country’s development. The Government of Tajikistan has identified reproductive health as a key priority of health reform and reproductive health-oriented measures as priorities of the National Development Strategy 2030 and SDGs.

It is significant that in order to implement the ICPD Program of Action in Tajikistan, a National Council on Population and Development was established, which brought together the efforts of the Parliament, the Government and civil society to develop and implement legislative acts, set and solve joint tasks and jointly monitor the implementation of legislation on population and development. It is clear that the development challenges facing the global community require the systematic involvement of all stakeholders in developing responses.

A world where everyone can live their lives with greater dignity is within reach. We must ensure that people’s rights and choices remain central to ensuring a sustainable future in a demographically diverse world. Parliamentarians must therefore focus their efforts in tandem with UNFPA, AFPPD and other regional or international partners to protect people’s rights and needs, reproductive health rights and women’s empowerment by improving or introducing more effective laws.

The legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan guarantees young people’s access to health care, reproductive health and family planning services, and training in healthy lifestyles.

We are fully committed to the continued implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and call for the inclusion of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General and the results of the regional reviews in the 2030 Development Agenda.

IPS: While there is a perception that the world is far behind the projected outcomes of the ICPD, there are successes to celebrate. The conference has planned a session about how parliamentarians have contributed to adopting laws and policies addressing inequalities, positioning population dynamics in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and empowering women and young people. Could you please share some of these?

Muini: In April 2019, UN Member States at the UN Commission on Population and Development adopted a Political Declaration calling for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This provided the political impetus for governments and all other relevant partners to come together, celebrate the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action and celebrate its success in advancing rights and choices for all.

Our countries have made some progress towards achieving the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development, but concrete measures still need to be taken to fully implement the program. This requires, inter alia, systematically integrating population dynamics into national and international strategies and policies, reflecting such factors as population ageing and declining fertility, climate change, natural disasters, conflict and displacement, the reversal of the HIV pandemic, and comprehensively addressing international migration in the context of the ICPD.

In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action, recognizing that its implementation is essential for countries to eliminate social and economic inequalities, improve the lives of all their peoples, ensure the health and rights of women, men, girls and boys, including sexual and reproductive rights and health, promote gender equality and women’s health, create an environment in which all people can live in dignity, protect the environment, and protect the rights of women, men, girls and boys. We also reaffirm the commitments made at earlier ICPDs and emphasize our willingness to act with a sense of urgency.

We believe that progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the next steps in accelerating action to achieve the three transformative results by 2030 can only be achieved with an increased focus on protecting and promoting the rights and inclusive participation of women, adolescents and youth.

Note: The UNFPA, the Japan Trust Fund, the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) and the Asian Population and Development Association (APDA) supported this workshop.

IPS UN Bureau Report

 


  
 
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