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Correct Nigerian negotiators at the UN, youths urge Buhari

Correct Nigerian negotiators at the UN, youths urge Buhari
September 16
12:06 2015

Nigerian groups for sustaining social change by and for children and young people have disagreed with some the policies of Nigerian negotiators at the United Nations (UN).

The groups appreciated the negotiators for their work, but hinged its disagreement on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the exclusion of Nigerian youths from sexual and reproductive health issues in the policy document.

The groups commended the negotiators for championing issues that are consistent with Nigeria’s national interest. They said the negotiators made giant strides by calling for the elimination of poverty, emphasizing need to respect the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), and efficient use of public resources, among others.

However, they expressed their dismay at a position taken by the Nigerian negotiators during the UN agenda setting process.

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“During their closing statement at the July 2015 intergovernmental negotiations, the negotiators filed a reservation on ‘all sections in the adopted SDG outcome document referring to: (1) access to sexual reproductive health services and (2) provision of sexual and reproductive health information, education and counselling,’ saying these references should exclude young people,” the groups said.

“This stance contradicts Nigeria’s very progressive national policies, plans and guidelines on the health and development of young people in this country.”

They therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari, in an open letter, to intervene regarding the issues raised.

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“We call on you to uphold and affirm these national policies by mandating the Nigerian negotiators at the United Nations to withdraw the verbal statement of reservation they made on July 22, 2015.

“And to ensure that they do not register a written reservation with references to young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights at the plenary session of the 69th General Assembly.”

The groups warned that a failure to act on these issues would amount to “a negative international perception of Nigeria due to inconsistencies between our national policies and our negotiation position”.

The groups calling for an adjustment in the position of the UN negotiators are The ACT2015 Youth Alliance, Education As a Vaccine, Management Strategies for Africa, Nigeria (MSA), Population Council Nigeria, National Youth Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NYNETHA), Kids and Teens, ONE Campaign, Civil Society for Family Planning in Nigeria (CiSFP) and Adolescent Health and Information Projracts (AHIP) Nigeria.

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Others are Women Friendly Initiative, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), Society for Family Health (SFH), Pathfinder Nigeria, Cishan Nigeria, OROLFoundation, IPAS Nigeria, Canny Heart Foundation, Centre for Health works, Development and Research Initiative (CHEDRES), Gender and Development Action (GADA), New Hope Agency Girls Power Initiative, Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC), Planned Parenthood Global- Nigerian Office, Care for Life Mission (CFL), and Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH).

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