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Meeting UNFPA Uganda staff at the Sheraton Hotel, Dr. Babatunde shared insights on UNFPA’s new Strategic Plan, the Family Planning Summit – the Gold Moment and UNFPA branding.

On the strategic plan, Dr. Babatunde explained to staff that the new plan is not a departure from the original agenda of population and development, reproductive health and gender equality to only focus on reproductive health and maternal health but rather, to make UNFPA more focused and accountable. On branding, Dr. Babatunde said UNFPA needed to invest in internal communication to promote harmonized messaging within and outside UNFPA and present a common front for the fund’s visibility.

The ED also took the opportunity to introduce staff to “The Gold Moment”, a new initiative by DFID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA, and other partners to boost funding for family planning that has been on the decline. “The Gold Moment” ceremony was held on 11 July 2012 (World Population Day) in London.

Meeting with Implementing Partners

Later, Dr. Babatunde had a conversation with UNFPA’s implementing partners about their engagement in policy, programmes and advocacy. Partners in attendance included members of parliament from the Ugandan and East African legislative assemblies, officials from the ministry of health, Population Secretariat, faith based and cultural organisations as well as, women’s and youth organisations. Dr. Babatunde thanked the partners for their efforts in implementing the ICPD agenda. He stressed that empowerment of women and girls is key to enable them take control over their lives. “There is no reason for a woman to have a child when she is not ready for it. It’s a matter of choice and rights and these are non-negotiable,” he said.

UNFPA and IPU Seek to Strengthen Partnership on Maternal Health

From March 31 to April 5 Uganda hosted the 126th International Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly, under the theme Parliaments and People: Bridging the Gap. Dr. Babatunde participated in a number of activities, making it the first time a UNFPA executive director has participated in an IPU Assembly. During the plenary session, Dr. Babatunde emphasized the role of parliamentarians in promoting development by making it people centered. “As members of parliament, you are key in ensuring adequate budget lines for health, holding governments accountable for their commitments, building partnerships and tearing down legal and economic barriers to put women and men, and boys and girls, on an equal footing,” he said. UNFPA worked with the standing committee on human rights to draft the resolution on access to maternal health. Among other engagements during the IPU, the ED together with Dr. Stefan Germann, a board member of the Geneva-based Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health co-hosted a luncheon dialogue with key IPU delegates at the Kampala Serena Hotel. He met with the Secretary General of the IPU, Mr. Anders Johnson and he underlined the positive impact that parliamentarians can have on accelerating action on achievement of MDGs.