Tuesday, June 23, 2009

PPD ARO Newsletter 2009, Number 1

1- Editorial, by Dr Jotham Musinguzi, Regional Director

There is an increasingly broad consensus among African leaders that the region must address its family planning, population and reproductive health problems if it is to build a just and sustainable future. Indeed, the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Cairo Programme of Action (ICPD PoA) called on developing countries and donor nations alike to meet these challenges. Achieving the ICPD PoA is a prerequisite to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

PPD ARO works from within the African continent to push the reproductive health, population and development agenda. This is a critical mission. Africa still lacks adequate political will and commitment among policymakers on the benefits of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). There is still a lack of adequate understanding and appreciation among policymakers of the impact of poor sexual and reproductive health and rights on poverty alleviation and their linkages to population and development. The price of policymaker inaction is also not well-known. Thus, there is urgent need for increased political will among African leaders to be accountable for the commitments they made through the ICPD, MDGs and other regional and international frameworks for addressing SRHR. This is the impetus of the work of PPD ARO.

Over the past two years, PPD ARO has continued to carry out its programme interventions that revolve around its major strategic thrusts of advocacy and policy dialogue; networking and building strategic partnerships in the region as well sharing of experiences and good practices. This newsletter brings you news of the PPD ARO’s advocacy for reproductive health. It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to read it.

2- Working with Parliamentarians
Aware of the role they play as key stockholders, PPD ARO works in close collaboration with Parliamentarians as well as other partners to address specific objectives focusing on putting SRHR high in the development agenda.

In order for reproductive health services, including family planning, to reach men, women and young people, more resources must be made available. Parliamentarians must play their legislative, representative, budget appropriation, and oversight roles to ensure that SRHR is included in development planning and funding mechanisms and engage with government in shaping, implementing and monitoring appropriate national development policies.

PPD ARO hosted a High Level regional meeting of Parliamentary Committees on Health in East Southern Africa, 16-18 September 2008, in Kampala, Uganda. The meeting was attended by members from Parliamentary committees responsible for health from twelve (12) countries in East and Southern Africa, as well as officers from government, development partner agencies and civil society organizations.

The major objective of the meeting was to increase leadership for RH, population and development within the continent. During the meeting, policymakers were informed about the existing regional enabling policy frameworks in the field of Reproductive Health (RH), Population and Development. These include Africa Union Health Strategy; Maputo Plan of Action; and Abuja Declaration. The policymakers were also exposed to and internalized international consensuses like International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action; Paris Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as enabling financing mechanisms like the Global Fund; PEPFAR; and SWAps. The outcome of the meeting was the Kampala Resolutions in which commitments were made to support and promote RH, population and development agenda in the region.

In the Kampala Resolutions, representatives made commitments that they will pursue for the next year. They agreed that “Parliaments must work towards national, regional and international commitments made to protect and advance the right to health and the commitment to equity in health, primary health care and sexual and reproductive heath rights (SRHR) at all levels in East and Southern Africa” including the 2000 African Union Heads of state Abuja declaration and Plan of Action and the Maputo Plan of Action (2006), which work within the framework of the commitments and plans made in relation to the Millennium Development Goals and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

In particular, the group noted, “the importance of implementing the Maputo Plan of Action to enhance SRHR to enable governments to achieve population goals to provide the necessary conditions for economic and social empowerment and development” and resolved to “ensure that such comprehensive SRHR services include Reproductive Health supplies (for commodity security), government funding for antiretrovirals (ARV) for adults and children, community mobilization on SRHR that involves men, especially in vulnerable communities and for adolescents and youth and education of girl children.”

And within the coming year, the group pledged to “prepare and make budget submissions that . . . Include necessary resource allocations for SRHR and for RH supplies (for commodity security)” and “obtain national population and reproductive health policies and national action plans and request report on progress in their funding and implementation.”

Mr. Joyti Singh, PPD Permanent Observer to the UN, spoke about the ICPD and the MDGs. Mr. Singh said that there are strong linkages between the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and universal access to reproductive health services in the ICPD Programme of Action (1994).

Hon. Dr. Mallinga also called upon African Heads of State to uphold their commitments to allocate 15% of national budgets to health made in the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases.

Ms. Jackson also called for Parliaments to popularize the Maputo Plan of Action, as “it is Africa’s own designed framework for attaining universal access to SRH and reproductive rights in Africa.”

Read more about the meeting in an earlier blog post: http://ppdafrica.blogspot.com/2008/10/resolutions-for-regional-meeting-of.html

The full resolution document is posted on the PPD ARO website at: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/ParliamentResolutionsSEP08.pdf

The full meeting report is online at: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/parliamentreportsep08.pdf

3- Meetings with Partner Country Coordinators (PCCs)
PPD Africa Regional Office has hosted two Annual Partners Country Coordinators’ (PCC) meetings for the Africa Region. The first one was held 26-29 September 2007 in Kampala, Uganda. The second meeting was held a year later, from 23-27 September 2008, also in Kampala, Uganda.

Participation by Partner Country Coordinators (PCCs) in both meetings has been over 90 percent. In addition non-member collaborating country representatives (Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania) and other guests representing donors, collaborating organizations and outside partners attended these meetings. The main objectives of the meetings were to review the implementation of South-South programmes by member countries, to share experiences, strengths, lessons and good practices and to plan future efforts for South-South collaboration for reproductive health and population and development.

During the 2008 meeting, capacity-building sessions focusing on advocacy, resource mobilization and leadership for reproductive health both at country level as well as within the African region were held. PCCs found the sessions useful and acknowledged that these were crucial in enhancing their work. Recommendations made from the 2008 meeting were that a country South-South taskforce/Deputy PCC should be put in place, capacity for resource mobilization both at country, network and regional level needs to be built, a communication strategy for PCCs needs to be developed and the Southern Africa Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (SARHN) and Western Africa Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (WARHN) should be re-invigorated.

4- International Forum: ICPD @15: Progress and Prospects
PPD in collaboration with the Government of Uganda organized the International Forum on ICPD @ 15: Progress and Prospects. This forum was the first of such events to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the ICPD. The forum was held in Kampala, Uganda, 24-25 September 2008 and was attended by over 200 participants. The purpose of the International Forum was to critically analyze the progress made in the implementation of ICPD Program of Action.

The Forum was formally inaugurated by H.E. Mrs. Janet Museveni, Honourable First Lady of the Republic of Uganda in the presence of H.E. Dr. Stephen Malinga, the Ugandan Minister of Health, PPD Chairperson and Minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China H.E. Dr. Lin Bin, UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Mrs. Purnima Mane, PPD Executive Director Mr. Harry Jooseery and Regional Director PPD ARO, Dr, Jotham Musinguzi.

Other participants included Ministers, PPD Board Members, and senior officials including PCCs, Members of Parliament, high level Representatives from donor agencies including Packard Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Venture Strategies and representatives of international and national non–governmental organizations, resource persons and members of the academic community.

The participants at the International Forum reviewed, discussed and made recommendation on the salient issues such as reproductive health and population; HIV/AIDs; reproductive health commodity security; new and challenging issues such as climate change. After two days of intense deliberations, the forum adopted the Kampala Declaration. The declaration included recommendations to further population and reproductive health programmes and reposition family planning in the development agenda through active advocacy. In addition, the declaration called upon PPD and its members to strengthen national level support structures for planning and implementing South-South cooperation programmes and to improve networking among member countries and partner institutions.

More information is available at: http://www.partners-popdev.org/np_publications.asp

5- Additional Information:
5.1 About the Accra Agenda for Action
From September 2-4, 2008, donor countries, recipient countries, and civil society organizations met for a High Level Forum (HLF3) in Accra, Ghana to assess progress on the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and to agree to an agenda for action. The Accra High Level Forum ended with the adoption of the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) through which the international community reaffirmed its commitment to achieve progress in the implementation of the Paris Declaration and intensify efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

At the end of the meeting the endorsed statement to accelerate and deepen implementation of the Paris declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2 March 2005) focused on the following:
  • Commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting peace and prosperity by building stronger, more effective partnerships that enable developing countries to realize their development goals;
  • Strengthening Country Ownership over Development by supporting developing countries to determine and implement their development policies to achieve their own economic, social and environmental goals as agreed as a priority in the Paris Declaration;
  • Building More Effective and Inclusive Partnerships for Development including all actors. Such partnerships are most effective when they fully harness the energy, skills and experience of all development actors—bilateral and multilateral donors, global funds, CSOs, and the private sector. To reduce costly fragmentation of aid, donors and developing countries will work together with the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness to complete good practice principles under a country‐led division of labor.
  • Delivering and Accounting for Development Results. The focus on delivering results should focus on strengthening the quality of policy design, improving information systems to assess the impact of development policy and making necessary adjustments.
  • Transparency and accountability are essential for development results. Developing countries have to facilitate parliamentary oversight by implementing greater transparency in public financial management, including public disclosure of revenues, budgets, expenditures, procurement and audits.
5.2 The Five Principles of Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
Ownership: Development will be successful and sustained, and aid fully effective only when the recipient country takes the lead in determining its own development goals and priorities and sets the agenda for how they are to be achieved. Developing countries will set their own strategies for development, improve institutions and tackle corruption.

Alignment: For aid to be effective, partners must develop credible national development strategies, and donors must support and use strengthened local systems.

Harmonization: Donor aid will be more effective if all donors would adopt common procedures to harmonize aid delivery, including coordinating their actions, simplifying procedures, using common approaches and rationalizing the division of labour to reduce fragmentation and duplication.

Managing for Development Results: Donors and partner countries must manage and implement aid in a way that focuses on achieving results; this entails a shift in focus from inputs to the achievement of measurable outcomes. Both developing countries and donors need to focus on producing and measuring results.

Mutual Accountability: Donors and partners must be equally responsible for development results and work together to establish mutually agreed frameworks that provide reliable assessments of performance, transparency and accountability of country systems.

For more information, please refer to:
English: http://www.ppdafrica.org/docs/accra.pdf
French: http://www.ppdafrica.org/docs/accraf.pdf

6-About PPD ARO
Partners in Population and Development, Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO) was established in 2006 by the Board of Partners in Population and Development to intensify its activities in Africa by establishing a regional presence. The Africa Regional Office opened in February 2007 in Kampala, Uganda with the mandate to coordinate a renewed and concerted effort to realize the Vision of ―a continent that meets its reproductive health needs promotes the population and development agenda and thereby addresses poverty, through South-South cooperation.

PPD ARO, as part of the global South-South inter-governmental alliance, provides a platform for the promotion of and resource mobilization for Reproductive Health, Population and Development in Africa through three mission elements: 1) Policy dialogue; 2) Networking and building strategic partnerships in the region; and 3) Sharing of experiences and good practices.

An illustrated version of this newsletter is available in pdf format at: http://www.ppdafrica.org/docs/newsletter-june09.pdf Please read the version most suitable to your bandwidth.

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