Population and development: Stefanile, “unlock potential of youth population in Africa”

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NEW YORK, APRIL 3 – A country like Italy, which is experiencing mega trends such as an aging population and youth unemployment, firmly believes in the need to unlock the potential of young people in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa, Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, said at the 52nd Session of UN Commission on Population and Development in New York.

“This year’s CPD provides a unique opportunity to revamp our ambitions and re-launch the spirit of the Cairo Consensus, which recognized the people-centered approach of development policies and the key interlinkages between human rights, social and economic drivers, health, demography and populations. In this framework, Italy remains fully committed to protect and empower women and girls. We continue to witness persistent unacceptable practices such as child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and violence against children and women”, said the Italian Ambassador stressing that Italy has constantly and consistently acted, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to promote the elimination of all practices that harm women and girls and prevent them from fulfilling their potential. To this end, we are continuing to be among the major funders of the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Program on the fight against Female Genital Mutilation.

We also wish to acknowledge the key role played by UNFPA for the full implementation of the Program of Action, starting from those left further behind.Protecting them, ensuring their dignity and unleashing their full potential are our common priorities and, also for this reason, Italy has decided to increase its core contribution to the Fund for this year.

Stefanile remarked that mega-trends, such as a world’s population becoming larger, older, more mobile and more urbanized than ever before, have a major impact on the implementation of the Program of Action and the 2030 Agenda:  “Our priority must be to address bottlenecks and emerging inequalities and to transform the existing challenges into opportunities. Italy is fully committed to the implementation of the ICPD Program of Action, both domestically and in the context of our international development cooperation action”.

Italy is actually experiencing some of the mega-trends described in the SG’s Report: ageing population, social and economic pressure on vulnerable groups, youth unemployment, among the others. “To respond to these challenges, we are implementing new policies to incentive parenthood, also through economic benefits and social measures, to create new economic opportunities for young people, to set new norms against discrimination and gender-based violence, and to further empower women, girls and young people”. On the other hand, while a part of the world is ageing, another part – particularly in Africa – is expressing its youngest population of all times. “We need to unlock the potential of the youngest cohort that we have ever seen in history and transform the youth bulge into a youth dividend, by providing young people with quality primary services, health and education, and place them at the core of the sustainable development processes of their Countries”. (@OnuItalia)