18 June 2012

Gambia: Population Commission Sensitises Journalists On Revised Policy

The National Population Commission (NPC) secretariat Thursday organised a day's sensitization and dissemination workshop for journalists drawn from both print and electronic media on the revised National Population Policy 2007-2015 at the Tango head office in Fajara.

The platform was meant to enable journalists better disseminate to the general public the important information therein the policy, with a view to galvanizing support from all stakeholders for its successful implementation in the country. The forum was in line with the reaffirmation of the Commission's commitments to the Kilimanjaro and Ouagadougou Plan of Action of 1984 and 1997, the Dakar and Niger Declarations on Population and Sustainable Development 1992, as well as the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action 1994 and Vision 2020.

It would be recalled that The Gambia government through a consultative process revised the National Population Policy in 2007 in order to address current population trend and dynamics in relation to sustainable socio-economic and environmental development. Addressing the journalists at the forum, the director, Population Affairs, Saikou J.K Trawally, reiterated that the workshop was meant to disseminate some vital information on the revised National Population Policy 2007-2015. He added that it was also meant to acquaint journalists with the content of the revised National Population Policy given their critical role in informing the general public.

Trawally then urged the media practitioners to be proactive on this issue by using their means to adequately inform Gambians about the content of the Policy.

Also speaking at the occasion, the assistant representative of the United Nations Fund for Population Affairs based in Sierra Leone, Madam M.A reminded the journalists that the Fund is an international development agency that promotes the rights of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. She said they support countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

She informed that their three core areas of focus are sexual and reproductive health; gender equality and women's empowerment, and population and development strategies. Diarra said the International Conference on Population and Development's 20-year Programme of Action recognized that every person counts and that population is not about numbers but about people and their quality of life. She revealed that governments agreed that all human beings are entitled to a healthy and productive life without discrimination, and that promoting individual rights and dignity are paramount to economic growth and sustainable development.

This compilation of universal ideals, according to her, was a milestone in outlining a shared commitment to improve the lives of all people around the world through promoting human rights and dignity, supporting family planning, sexual and reproductive health and rights, advancing gender equality, as well as focus on issues related to population amongst others. The UNFPA representative in The Gambia, Bintou Suso, described the workshop as timely, stating that sharing the revised policy with the journalists is important, given their status as partners in development.

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