Engaging parliamentarians to advance ICPD commitments

Over 50 parliamentarians and parliamentary officials from both the House of Representatives and the National Assembly participated in a high-level consultation organized by UNFPA.

NL Today

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: UNFPA in collaboration with the National Concern and Coordination Committee of the Federal Parliament, and the National Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development organized a high-level consultation on the role of parliamentarians in achieving Nepal’s commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development, commonly referred to as ICPD.

At the 1994 ICPD conference, countries including Nepal, made several commitments related to human rights, population development, sexual and reproductive health and gender equality, a remarkable global consensus that placed individual dignity and human rights at the heart of development.

Over the years, Nepal has made good progress, especially in developing progressive policy frameworks and in providing essential basic services like education and health care. Yet, the 2021 census shows that one in five women (22 percent) marry as children, with three percent married before turning 15; two women die every day due to pregnancy-related complications; and there is a growing trend of sex selection with a clear preference of boys. At the same time, multifaceted global crises continue to threaten to erode hard-won gains, and therefore action must be taken now to make the vision of ICPD a reality.

The year 2024 marks a crucial year as it is the 30th anniversary of the ICPD, which is a reminder of the importance of its agenda, which champions people-centered development, rights, and choices for all, and the pursuit of peace and prosperity. This dialogue with parliamentarians was part of a series of consultations with broad stakeholders at the federal and sub-national level aimed at collectively reviewing Nepal’s progress. UNFPA will continue to facilitate these consultations in 2023 across Nepal where the aim is to assess progress, discern emerging concerns, and forge a united path towards Nepal’s committed ICPD targets by 2030.
As such this consultation, which brought together over 50 parliamentarians and parliamentary officials from both the House of Representatives and the National Assembly, was crucial as it centered on the pivotal role that parliamentarians play in advancing the commitments outlined in the ICPD. 

Addressing the inaugural session, Dev Raj Ghimire, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, underscored the irreplaceable role of the Parliament and parliamentarians in realizing the constitutional vision of gender equality and social justice. He emphasized the pivotal position that parliamentarians occupy in confronting Nepal’s evolving challenges and in safeguarding the rights and dignity of every citizen. 

Also addressing the audience, Won Young Hong, Country Representative of UNFPA Nepal, highlighted the indispensable role of parliamentarians in creating an effective legal and policy environment and overseeing the performance of Nepal’s ICPD commitments. She stated “The essence of the ICPD transcends numbers and statistics – it is about ensuring the wellbeing of every young people, safeguarding the lives of women, providing access for girls to complete to education and access sexual and reproductive health and rights services, and upholding the dignity and human rights of each individual, including persons with disabilities.” She also reiterated UNFPA’s commitment to collaborate with the government and parliament in their collective journey to fulfill ICPD commitments.

The consultation also featured various thematic sessions led by Bandana Rana, a CEDAW Committee member, Dr. Yogendra Gurung, Head of the Department of Population and Development, Dr. Bhisma Nath Adhikari and Dina Upadhyaya.