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World Population Foundation: Africa needs more contraceptives

The managing director of the German Foundation for World Population (DSW), Renate Bähr, has called for stronger measures to limit population growth in Africa on the occasion of the World Population Conference in Kenya.

Published: November 15, 2019, 7:44 am

    “Better health care with a wide range of contraceptives, sex education, which already starts at school,” demanded Bähr, according to the German regional daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

    In addition, rights must be strengthened that enable women to “really decide on pregnancy and childbirth”. Financial support in the area of sexual and reproductive health is far from sufficient she said.

    The three-day World Population Conference was held in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. The gathering was organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UN) and the governments of Denmark and Kenya.

    It is based on the decisions of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Egypt’s capital Cairo 25 years ago and is therefore called ICPD25. The goal is to find ways to limit the global increase in population, but above all the African ones. About 160 countries are participating in the initiative.

    At the same time Bähr criticized opponents of the meeting. These include Catholic bishops in Africa who reject contraceptives. But also US President Donald Trump, who had “canceled all foreign organisations, funding” that in their work even mention abortions.

    In addition, “new Christian conservative organisations, individuals and members of right-wing populist parties” were formed in Europe, and networked to try “to influence politics in Brussels or in the EU member states,” said Bähr.

    She does not yet see a global overpopulation. The number of people that could populate Earth, depends on how resources are handled. “Here, too, the low-birth-rate industrialized countries have to work on themselves,” Bähr concluded.

    She sees “health, education and empowerment of women’s rights” as the key to limiting population growth. The focus must be on “young people in their teens and teens” because “the future demographic development is in their hands,” warned Bähr.

    The AfD member of parliament Dietmar Friedhoff criticised the measures of the Federal Government against the population growth as insufficient. “Even after 60 years of development policy and the use of about two trillion dollars, one has made essentially no progress,” Friedhoff told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

    “The doubling of the African population by 2050” would at best be noted in the “western industrial nations”. If only ten percent of internally displaced people in Africa made their way to Europe, “our systems would collapse here”.

    Moreover, the current development aid is ill-distributed. Friedhoff demanded that development aid be scaled back “to put an end to the artificial systems created in Africa”. The African states must take responsibility for themselves and their citizens. That would be in “our interest” and should be “sanctioned” if necessary.

    Friedhoff also called the Catholic Church unhelpful on development issues. It prevents “advances in self-determined reproduction and sexuality” and rejects “any form of modern family planning vehemently”.

    In “less developed countries”, however, the opinion of the Vatican is still important, Friedhoff added regretfully. Nevertheless, he spoke out “strictly against any form of abortion”.

    The Vatican had already announced to the Kenyan government in October that it would not attend the conference. “The ICPD and its comprehensive action programme under the expanded development agenda of the international community should not be reduced to so-called ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ as well as ‘comprehensive sex education’,” the Vatican said, according to Catholic news agency CNA.

    The Kenyan Episcopal Conference also criticised the theme of the ICPD25. Archbishop Philip Anyolo said: “We do not believe that these are the issues that really affect the development of women and humanity.”

    The Christian campaign group CitizenGo has put a petition against the pro-abortion agenda of the UN World Population Fund online. The conference is committed to “recognising abortion as a human right, promoting the sexualization of children in schools, and abortion and prevention for young girls, too”.

    CitizenGo’s Luis Losada told Reuters: “The agenda does not represent the spirit of African culture, which is overwhelmingly life-affirming, and the Kenyan constitution, which states that unborn babies deserve the right to live.” Africans are being blackmailed and help only exists if they accept abortion in return he said.

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