Rev. Dr. Fidon Mwombeki, General Secretary, All Africa Conference of Churches, was speaking at the Religious Leaders Pre-Summit on ICPD 25 organized by the AACC and other Faith Actors ahead of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) on 12th -14th November.
Matters of reproduction are informed by religious convictions. Religious actors, therefore, have pivotal roles to play in influencing convictions and subsequent decisions of believers, as well as shaping policy formulation through education and advocacy in respective contexts.
Rev. Dr. Mwombeki stated that the controversies raised by some religious leaders on issues of population and development; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Education are unfortunate and unnecessary. Religious actors should join the global voices that demand governments accountability on matters of good governance and universal health coverage that guarantees provision of quality, affordable and accessible healthcare services as required by SDG 3 and Agenda 2063 Aspiration 1, Goal 3.
“We may have to shift from discussing ‘sustainable population’ as a political question to ‘sustainable family’ as a matter of personal responsibility,” said Rev. Dr. Mwombeki. If the family gets it right, the wider society will be well and healthy in population management for transformative development. Religious actors from all religions around the world and Africa in particular, should intentionally build strong networks that will amplify their voices on a sustainable population for sustainable development based on sustainable families. “We must not be ashamed to also acknowledge that without sustainable population, sustainable development is not possible,” said Rev. Dr. Mwombeki.
Rev. Dr. Mwombeki states that the Nairobi Summit ICPD +25 offers people of goodwill and good conscience to be genuinely introspective in their engagement with the process. It behooves people of faith to intensify their efforts in calling their governments, multilateral and international development institutions to accelerate attaining the targets of:
zero preventable maternal and infant deaths,
zero unmet need for family planning information and services and
zero incidence of gender-based violence including female genital mutilation.
The Nairobi Summit therefore presents an opportunity to reiterate and deepen the AACC shared vision which calls on Africans to be ‘together for life, peace, justice and dignity’ of humanity and the entire ecosystem. The AACC has taken “Population and Development” as one of the thematic areas of intervention as captured in the 2019-2023 5-year strategy because of the legitimate concerns around the nexus of sustainable population and sustainable development.