THE HAGUE – UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin made a series of visits to European capitals in October and November to meet with development ministers, government officials, members of parliament and civil society representatives.
During his first official visit to the Netherlands, Dr. Osotimehin met with Ben Knapen, Secretary of State for European Affairs and International Cooperation, as well as members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Dutch parliament.
"The strong support for UNFPA from many European countries is critical in our work to improve the lives and health of women and men, girls and boys, in the developing world,” said Dr. Osotimehin.
He made a presentation for officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives from development and sexual and reproductive health NGOs and institutions with whom he discussed the importance of UNFPA’s work as well as opportunities and challenges in a world of 7 billion.
In Denmark the UNFPA Executive Director met with the recently-appointed Minister for Development Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach, to discuss mobilizing support to ICPD beyond 2014 and ensuring that population issues, women’s rights and reproductive health rights are well represented in the UN conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
In Germany, Dr Osotimehin delivered the keynote address at the 9th International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development in which he stressed the importance of women and youth to development.
“Investing in women and young people’s education, including age-appropriate sexuality education, health, and gender equality can speed up economic growth and improve countries’ prospects for sustainable development.”
In Berlin he also met with the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel and with the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, where he stressed the need for continued investment in population and sexual and reproductive health.
In Luxembourg, Dr. Osotimehin met with the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Marie-Josée Jacobs. In a joint press conference, the Minister and Dr. Osotimehin discussed health of women and girls and joint efforts to end obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation/cutting. He also met with the Parliamentary Committees on Foreign Affairs and Health.
The Executive Director rounded off his European visits at the end of October with Geneva, where he launched a 7 billion actions SMS campaign at Telecom World 2011 and London, where he launched the State of World Population 2011.