UN launches World Population Report
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has launch this year’s edition of the State of the World’s Population Report to guide policy makers and researchers to institute measures to prevent conflicts and enhance development.
The report under the theme: “From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generation of Change,” draws attention to how protracted conflicts are experienced globally and their devastating effects particularly on women and children.
It also talks about how women and young people had overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and begun rebuilding their lives and laying the foundation for peace and the renewal of their societies.
Alhaki Issaku Salia, the Upper West Regional Minister, who launched the report in Tamale last Thursday, said the document would help to broaden the knowledge base of leaders on the extent of damage conflicts could cause and how the phenomenon could be managed.
He said the report was the first of its kind to illustrate how women and girls were affected by disasters and conflicts as well as providing models of rebuilding.
Alhaji Salia noted that in conflict situations and large-scale disasters, women and children were vulnerable to attacks, including sexual violence in which the physical, psychological and social harm caused to rape victims could not be overstated.
The Regional Minister said empowering women was an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty, adding: “The achievement of gender equality will require transformation of all aspects of our cultures and institutions.
“We must work towards this if we recognise that the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women are critical to the reduction of conflicts and crises, hunger and disease and the achievement of development that is truly sustainable”, he said.
Dr Robert K. Mensah, a reproductive health specialist at the UNFPA, who read a speech on behalf of Ms Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of the Fund said on 31 October 2000, the United Nations Security Council recognising the low level of women’s representation in efforts to prevent war and build peace, passed resolution 1325, to ensure the active participation of women in promoting peace.
Ms Obaid said the 2010 Report was different from previous editions because it took an academic approach to topics related to the mandate and work of UNFPA.
She said this year’s report adopted a strategy called the three ‘Rs’ which meant: resilience, renewal and redefining roles between boys and girls and men and women.
“The current report takes a more journalistic approach, drawing on the experiences of women and girls, men and boys, living in the wake of conflict and other catastrophic disruptions.”
“They speak for themselves about the challenges they face, the ways their communities were coping and becoming more resilient and about how many of them have become involved in reconstruction and renewal,” she said.
Ms Obaid said the individuals featured in the report were rural people living off the land and urbanites trying to survive in broken cities.
Many survivors of conflict and natural disasters, she said, were now working in their communities to help fellow citizens to recover and to readjust.
Ms Obaid said the report was undertaken in a number of countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, Jordan, Liberia and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (West Bank),Timor-Leste and Uganda.