MPs commence training on population, development strategies

MPs commence training on population, development strategies
Speaker of Parliament Nunu Kumba (photo credit: Mamer Abraham)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has started a two-day induction training for Members of Parliament on population and development strategies.

The training is conducted by the South Sudan Parliamentary Network on Population and Development (SSPNPD).

Speaking during the opening yesterday, the Speaker of the Revitalised Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) Jemma Nunu Kumba pledged government commitment to advocating for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) issues.

Nunu said this would help enact appropriate legislation and pass policies for the implementation of the sexual reproduction health and rights, gender and adolescent sexual reproductive health, international development, and budgeted framework.

Kumba said she had demonstrated the government’s commitment to the International Conference on Development and Population held in Nairobi Kenya in November 2019.

She promised that the parliamentary network would initiate a sensitization campaign through open parliamentary hearings and community outreach on population and development issues.

“Besides our oversight role as parliament, we will continue to support the parliamentary network to conduct sensitization campaigns through open parliamentary hearings and community outreach on population and development issues,” Kumba said.

“We will also advocate for the legislation of bills in the parliament on family planning, gender-based violence, and unmarried teenage pregnancies and youth issues,” she said.

The speaker said the government will lobby for the maternal mortality fund to fast-track the reversal of maternal mortality in the country and increment of budget on specific service delivery areas.

The UNFPA representative in South Sudan Dr. Mary Otieno said the workshop would arm the Members of Parliament with information that would strengthen debate and build their capacity in population oversight and development issues like sexual reproductive health and rights.

“It is gratifying to note that at the end of this meeting, members will be armed with vital information required for strengthening the quality of debates and also for their capacity in oversight of population and development issues including sexual reproductive health and rights,” Otieno said.

She said that UNFPA was committed to working in South Sudan to end preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet need for family planning, gender-based violence, and harmful practices which include child marriage.

Dr. Mary said the UNFPA will work with the SSPNPD in three key areas of appropriation of sufficient funds according to the Abuja Declaration.

The three areas include the passing of the Anti-GBV Bill, development of family law and review and revision of the 2008 Child Act and passage of the National Youth Policy, and creation of the Youth Development Fund.

She said it was a developed strategy to support the national achievement of ICPD commitments towards achieving overall goals.

On his part, the chairperson of the SSNPD, Majur Babur, stressed the importance of the workshop, saying it would empower the Members of Parliament to educate the people in their respective constituencies.

“People talk about population, what do they know about population? What is the relation of population to development? You cannot be productive unless your health is secure. So, we are going to talk about the healthy population. The issue of population is not about the numbers of people but the quality of people in terms of their education and in terms of their wellbeing,” he said.

Majur stressed that the issues of youth and health also need to be addressed during the workshop so that the citizens take up responsibility for their health.

He said that they were working on the youth bill and the midwifery bill so that South Sudan would not be termed as the worst.