“This is the decade of delivery,” said Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Dr Kanem was speaking with EURACTIV reporter, Brian Maguire, during her visit to Brussels to advance the UN-EU ‘Spotlight Initiative’ – a global, multi-year programme to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
As head of the United Nations sexual and reproductive Health agency, Dr Kanem says she’s determined to maintain a strong focus on last year’s Nairobi Summit resolution, which committed 179 governments to a landmark Programme of Action to empower women and girls for the benefit of their families, communities and nations.
Kanem said UNFPA is committed to achieving three transformative goals underpinned by the Nairobi Summit and the Spotlight Initiative, what she calls ‘The Three Zeros’: zero preventable maternal deaths; zero unmet need for contraception; and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices – all by 2030, the same year the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved.
Despite Kanem’s optimism that much progress is being made, she is clear that men need to play an increasingly committed role if the three zeros are to be achieved, she cites UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres as an example of a committed feminist. Dr Kanem points to education as the fundamental element needed for female empowerment, with knowledge of women’s rights critical from an early age.