By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
The Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare, CAMNAFAW and their partner, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF Africa Region – advocates of sexual and reproductive health rights of adolescents, young girls and boys; are urging government to add integrated sexual education to the country’s formal education system.
CAMNAFAW-IPPF, JNMAP members working to promote sexual reproductive health rights
The appeal was re-echoed in Yaounde on July 7 during a working session with members of the Journalists Network for Maputo Action Plan, JNMAP at the headquarters of CAMNAFAW. The working session came on the heels of the launching of a campaign last June 29 by JNMAP to vulgarise the provisions of the 2016-2030 revised Maputo Action Plan ratified by Cameroon that borders on improving information, education and communication on the sexual and reproductive health rights of the adolescents, young girls and boys.
Presenting the common advocacy of IPPF that spans from 2016 to 2022, the Programme Director at CAMNAFAW, Armel Nyado said the expected result is to get at least 100 countries respect, protect and promote sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents as well as gender equality. Its interconnected influence could be felt at the infra-national, national, regional and international levels.
Such advocacy that aims at bringing about change in national policy, encourages decision makers to take responsibility in ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services; stemming sexual and sexist violence; incorporating integrated sexual education in the formal school system and making laws on abortion more flexible to enable those involved make informed choices. For the sexual and reproductive health rights as well as gender equality to proposer within national policy frameworks, Nyado said such advocacy must be direct; social mobilisation guaranteed; countering opposing movements to see reason in the advocacy; sharing experiences and research results; developing strategic partnerships and engaging internal institutional strengthening for more colleagues to be part of IPPF advocacy.
He told reporters that the working session with JNMAP members was to provide documentation that would enable them to effectively inform, educate and communicate in line with the Maputo Action Plan on sexual and reproductive health rights of the adolescents especially the girl child so as to narrow down the many gaps observed in its implementation in Cameroon. Nyado disclosed that the CAMNAFAW advocacy project aimed at improving services on sexual and reproductive health rights in Cameroon is being facilitated by the PACKARD Foundation.
Expounding to reporters on the concept of integrated sexual education, the Programme Officer in charge of Youths and Adolescents in CAMNAFAW, Christelle Ngo Sohe-Mvomo; said it is a health approach that provides quality information to young people on sex and reproductive education. Such sex education messages, she stated, must be adapted to the various age groups.
“It is the right of the young people to have the quality information on sexual violence, sexual responsibility – that is to abstain or have an intercourse. Those going in for intercourse should know that to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted illnesses, they need to protect themselves,” she stated.
When Ngo Sohe-Mvomo was reminded of a school textbook that was withdrawn from the market because of a picture purported to foster sex education but which rather outraged parents, she said the messages and picture were not adapted to the ages of the kids. She said the author failed to involve the community when working on the textbook reason why when it was published; it negatively affected members of the community.
On why they are advocating the liberalisation of abortion when the Cameroonian law is against, she said research results indicate that in many countries where the practice is not legalised, many young mothers die because they get themselves entangled in clandestine abortion. Stating that decision makers cannot continue to ignore that fact, she argued that if the law is adjusted, it would give room for informed choices and many lives of young mothers would be saved.
It should, however, be noted that the Cameroonian law gives room for medicalised abortion under specific circumstances. If the pregnancy came as a result of rape or if the life of the mother is in danger as a result of pregnancy, for example, autorisation for abortion could be sought from the courts.
Climate Change Red Alerte
By UN Secretary-General statement on the IPCC Working Group 1 Report Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.
The internationally agreed threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius is perilously close. We are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5 degrees in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and pursuing the most ambitious path. We must act decisively now to keep 1.5 alive. We are already at 1.2 degrees and rising. Warming has accelerated in recent decades. Every fraction of a degree counts. Greenhouse gas concentrations are at record levels. Extreme weather and climate disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. That is why this year’s United Nations climate conference in Glasgow is so important. The viability of our societies depends on leaders from government, business and civil society uniting behind policies, actions and investments that will limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We owe this to the entire human family, especially the poorest and most vulnerable communities and nations that are the hardest hit despite being least responsible for today’s climate emergency.
The solutions are clear. Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage. All nations, especially the G20 and other major emitters, need to join the net zero emissions coalition and reinforce their commitments with credible, concrete and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and policies before COP26 in Glasgow.
We need immediate action on energy. Without deep carbon pollution cuts now, the 1.5-degree goal will fall quickly out of reach. This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet. There must be no new coal plants built after 2021. OECD countries must phase out existing coal by 2030, with all others following suit by 2040. Countries should also end all new fossil fuel exploration and production, and shift fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy. By 2030, solar and wind capacity should quadruple and renewable energy investments should triple to maintain a net zero trajectory by mid-century.
Climate impacts will undoubtedly worsen. There is a clear moral and economic imperative to protect the lives and livelihoods of those on the front lines of the climate crisis. Adaptation and resilience finance must cease being the neglected half of the climate equation. Only 21 per cent of climate support is directed towards adaptation. I again call on donors and the multilateral development banks to allocate at least 50 per cent of all public climate finance to protecting people, especially women and vulnerable groups. COVID-19 recovery spending must be aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. And the decade-old promise to mobilize $100 billion annually to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries must be met.
The climate crisis poses enormous financial risk to investment managers, asset owners, and businesses. These risks should be measured, disclosed and mitigated. I am asking corporate leaders to support a minimum international carbon price and align their portfolios with the Paris Agreement. The public and private sector must work together to ensure a just and rapid transformation to a net zero global economy. If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.