Tuesday, September 16

Five reasons why Cameroon should take the post2015 development framework important

Listed below are 5 reasons why I believe Cameroon should prioritize the inclusion of gender equality and youth SRHR in the post2015 development framework
Next week, September 22, 2014, over 193 Member States of the United Nations, members of CSOs, academia, researchers and private sectors will gather at the U.N head office, United Nations, New York for the 69th General Assembly and a special session on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and recommendations on Sustainable development goals.
As world leaders head to this event, it is important that Cameroonians understand the linkage between post2015 and Cameroon’s Vision 2035 and why it is imperative Cameroon government support among others; young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, including comprehensive sexuality education; gender equality and investment in youth capacities and leadership.

It is important to note:
1.       Post2015 and Vision 2015 agenda are all development-oriented and human rights focused
Both post2015 and vision 2035 are development agendas that addresses key human issues particularly those that seeks to advance gender equality, poverty alleviation, social justice, freedom of choice, youth leadership, women’s economic empowerment and sustainable development.
The statistics tells us that women and young people’s make up around 60% of the country’s population. And without adequate measure to ensure that their human rights is fully protected, respected and promoted, the states will be losing out to reap their contributions to development.
Positioning and prioritising youth issues, which include SRHR into the post2015 implies advancing vision 2035 agenda and in turn achieving international human rights and enabling the youth full participation and contributions to national growth, peace and security. Therefore, it is prudent for the government to take advantage of the post2015 development framework.  For its realisation directly affects the enjoyment of everyone.
2.          Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Information is a Vision 2035 Goal
SRHR is an intrinsic component of human right. And both are an essential element in fostering sustainable development. Millions of people, especially young people and adolescent girls are vulnerable to domestic and gender-based violence, they continue to lack adequate and reliable access to comprehensive sexuality information and education and most at time exposed to various untreated sexual and reproductive tract infections, which could have been treated and / or prevent at early stage.
Placing prevention and inclusive health care services and reliable information about people’s sexuality at core of the post2015 deliberation is imperative. It also creates a multiple effect: prioritising health, and also ensuring healthy contributions towards advancing the realisation of vision 2035.
3.        Investing in the capacities of adolescent and youth as drivers of Cameroon’s Vision2035
Two-third of the country’s population are persons between the ages 14-24 [1]. We have all been told time and again that the key drivers of change in any country are its young people. Sadly in Cameroon, many raw and inert skills has not been fully developed and exploited. Cameroon still depend largely on foreign expertise for development whereas it has reservoirs of untapped knowledge, if exploited would meaningfully contribute to the development of this country. 
Cameroon can’t think of becoming an emerging economy without significant contributions of those who constitute over half of its population. Investing in youth is a wise thing to do as a nation. It has a disproportionate impact to the growth and development of that society.

4.        Gender equality and women’s rights matters for development
Gender equality must matter at all levels and stages of the post2015 deliberations. There is no doubt however that a society with greater gender equality achieves better health and development for its people.
Improving gender equality means ensuring quality education for all, especially girls, eliminating systemic forms of violence against women and girls, promoting women’s economic empowerment, access to comprehensive sexuality education, youth participation, leadership and contributions to environmental sustainability.
Becoming an emerging nation come 2035 is laying strong gender equality foundations now! And these, Cameroon must support and prioritize in the post2015 development framework. 

5.            Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance
The Cameroon’s Vision 2035 seeks for an emerging, democratic and united country in diversity by 2035. And one thing is for sure - Democracy comes with government accountability and transparency. The post2015 development framework clearly articulates the need for states’ accountability to the people. As a state, the people must be involved and informed of everything because state’s issues are definitely the people’s concern and it matters.

It might interest you to note that both frameworks (post2015 & Vision2035)  will be expiring almost within the same period. This therefore provides Cameroon a better ground to create impacts, since both programs will be run simultaneously, it’s easier to identify lapses and re-ameliorate for positive change.