Press Release

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem concludes visit to Cairo

29 October 2018

Cairo, October 29 - UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem recognized Egypt’s efforts in scaling up a rights-based family planning program during her visit to Cairo on October 28.

During her visit, Dr. Kanem met with Egypt’s Prime Minister, H.E Mustafa Madbouly, Minister of Social Solidarity H.E Ghada Waly, H.E, Minister of Health and Population Dr. Hala Zayed, and Minister of Youth and Sports H.E Ashraf Sobhi. 

Dr. Kanem was on a visit to Cairo to build on the potential for increased cooperation between the Government of Egypt and UNFPA in the areas of reproductive health, youth, gender and humanitarian assistance.

In her meetings, Dr. Kanem lauded the fact that for the first time in its history, Egypt’s new government listed scaling up family planning as one of the priorities in its programme. She also reiterated the excellent relations between UNFPA and the government and expressed UNFPA’s commitment to continuing its cooperation for the benefit of women, children and youth of Egypt.
She also emphasized the importance of making family planning a universally available choice which entails bringing communities the information, means and methods to make informed decisions.

Dr. Kanem’s visit comes at a very opportune moment as she considers it a chance to recommit to the agenda of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994 as its 25th anniversary approaches. 

She called for Egypt’s support in leading the region in the support for ICPD given its political and demographical weight in the region. The ICPD Programme of Action, adopted by 179 Member States, lays out a plan for advancing human well-being that places the human rights of individuals at the centre of the global development agenda.

During her visit, Dr. Kanem addressed the opening ceremony of the Narrative PR Summit, where she stressed on building the narrative around Egypt as a leader in the area of reproductive health and rights 25 years after it hosted the landmark ICPD conference. 

She also inaugurated the Youth Population Advocacy and Leadership Festival organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and UNFPA at the Youth Civic Education Centre. Dr. Kanem attended a theatre play sketch by the Nawah 10th of Ramadan theatre group, touching on issues such as sexual harassment and early marriage, after which she hailed the creativity and talents of the participants and called for encouraging the young people of Egypt. 

She also toured an exhibit showcasing a collection of handicrafts produced by beneficiaries of the UNFPA Safe Spaces, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, CARE International and the Youth and Development Consultancy Institute (Etijah). 

Dr. Kanem concluded her visit before heading to Beirut on October 29 for the Arab Regional Conference on Population and Development, where Egypt and other Arab states are set to review the progress made five years after the 2013 Declaration, a statement that renewed the commitment of member States to the ICPD Programme of Action.