Kenya: State Dismisses Critics, Says ICPD Forum 'Very Inclusive'

13 November 2019

The government has dismissed critics who argue that the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD), which ends Thursday, was not inclusive.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said the summit has been very inclusive, contrary to what some organisations and churches opposing the ICPD have made Kenyans believe.

He said Kenya hosted the forum because it promotes "substantive and transformative" commitments.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ICPD summit, Mr Macharia said: "Sometimes you look for summits which will have substantive and transformative commitments."

He said every Kenyan is treated equally when it comes to access to health services.

The Nairobi summit's objective is to accelerate efforts to achieve three zeros by 2030: zero unmet need for contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Kenya made several commitments that promise to better the lives of women and girls within a decade. Addressing delegates, President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated his commitment to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) within three years.

"Empowering women essentially empowers nations, societies and the world," Mr Kenyatta said.

Dr Natalia Kanem, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, said: "We came to Nairobi because we have to accept that good progress is good enough. Reproductive rights for women and girls are not up for negotiations."

The Kenya Catholic Church bishops and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya bishops had separately said the forum might be used to promote foreign ideologies -- including abortion, homosexuality, sex education and use of contraceptives by schoolchildren.

Security was beefed up over fears the summit would be disrupted by protesters.

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