UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office

Governments to play a leadership role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

Date: 25/09/2015

Port Moresby, 25 September 2015: The Sustainable Development Summit will mark an important milestone for the United Nations (UN) and the world as a whole when it launches the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which will expire at the end of 2015.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), leading up to the Summit, calls on the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to take a leadership role in investing in human resources for health so that skilled health workers are able to deliver services; invest in social protection to enable people to access basic services; and invest in strengthening the supply chain management system so that medicines reach people in need.

At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994, it was globally recognized that fulfilling the rights of women and girls is central to development. The consensus reached placed individual dignity and human rights, including the right to plan one's family, at the very heart of development progress.

UNFPA established an office in PNG in 1994 and has since been working as a development partner in providing funding, health commodities and technical assistance to the Government of PNG. UNFPA's program focus areas include: Population and Development, Gender, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS, Maternal Health and Family Planning. All these activities are implemented in close partnership with the National Department of Health, the National Department of Planning and Monitoring, the National Statistical Office, and other key Government institutions.

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, UNFPA's work will focus primarily on:

• Goal 3 Health: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Reproductive health care - which includes maternal health services and family planning - enables women to protect their health and choose the number, timing and spacing of their children. This empowers women to study, work, and raise their families, giving them more choices in life.
• Goal 4 Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Educated, empowered and employed young people offer nations demographic dividends that can drive inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
• Goal 5 Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Enabling women and young people to fulfill their potential is vital to transforming our world.

The SDGs will be of particular importance to the 7.3 million Papua New Guineans, as over half the population are young people under the age of 25. As the majority of the population lives in rural areas and due to challenging geographical locations and other contributing factors, government services are either inaccessible or unavailable in many parts of the country. This calls for a more collaborative approach to ensure equitable development in all locations and ensuring that no one is left behind.

"To achieve genuine development, we must transform our approach with and for young people, and in particular young women and girls. Young people are drivers of change. They must have the choices and tools to fully participate in development, realize their potential, and contribute to their societies," said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

For more information on the PNG Country Office, please direct your inquiries to: Ms. Ruth Pisi, Programme Associate and Communications Focal Point, UNFPA Papua New Guinea. E-mail: pisi@unfpa.org Ph. +675-321-2877 ext. 238