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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The second AU Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control (STC-HPDC2) was held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa from 20-24 March, 2017 under  the theme  “Youth, Health and Development:  Overcoming the Challenges towards Harnessing the Demographic Dividend”.    Experts from various AU Member States met from 20-22 March whilst the Ministerial session was held from 23-24 March.

UNFPA had a strong delegation to the STC led by Mr. Kwabena Osei-Danquah, Director of the Division for Governance and Multilateral Affairs (DGM), with the support of colleagues based in New York (DGM, Technical Division and Office of the Executive Director), regional advisors from Arab States and East and Southern Africa Regional Offices together with representatives from the Liaison Office in Addis Ababa.

As part of UNFPA’s support the STC, five young people from the five sub-regions of Africawere supported to participate in the STC and to lead a plenary during the experts’ meeting on theme of the STC. They highlighted the high priority that must be placed on investing in health systems and services, including through access to comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health commodities, among others.

UNFPA also played a key role in supporting the population stream of the meeting through two key presentations. Dr. Nkeiruka Didigu from DGM’s  Global Agenda Branch presented on the  Operational Guide and Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the Addis Ababa  Declaration on Population and Development  (AADPD).  This presentation provided an overview of the operational guide which has been developed together with ECA and AUC in close collaboration with members of the African Population Experts Committee (APEC) for their consideration and recommendation to the ministers for endorsement. 

 Another important presentation was delivered by DGM Director, Mr. Kwabena Osei-Danquah on “Preparations for the 50th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD 50) under the theme ‘Changing Population Age, Structure and Sustainable Development”.  He underscored the importance of ensuring that Africa goes into the CPD with concrete messages and a common position. The Director also moderated a ministerial panel on the theme of the Summit that featured the interim chair of the STC Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, Minister of Health of Guinea and the newly elected AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E. Ms Amira Elfadil Mohammed.

The ministerial meeting endorsed the AADPD Operational Guide as well as key messages for CPD50. The ministers also endorsed two key documents to which UNFPA provided technical and financial support, the State of Africa Population Report 2017 and the 2017 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Status Report were presented and adopted by the STC.