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Partnerships for Population Programs 31 Oct 1994

THE EARTH TIMES

OCTOBER 31, 1994

South-South: A renewed force

POPULATION INITIATIVE SET TO TAP PROJECT EXPERIENCE

By Ashali Varma

A new initiative launched at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, promises to play a vital role in  providing existing regional expertise in reproductive health care to developing countries. Ten developing countries Indonesia, Kenya, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Colombia and Mexico-with  successful family planning programs started the South-South Partnership, which called for pooling their experience and resources and making it available to other countries. The Initiative which had its first meeting in Indonesia, in August this year, received a further impetus in Cairo when one of the recommendations in the Program of Action was devoted to the strengthening of the South-South Partnership.

Nebiha Gueddana who heads Tunisia’s National Office for Family and Population said in an interview with The Earth Times, “The South-South cooperation is now a reality.  We cannot lose more time by extending the phase of preparatory activities.” The group  intends to meet in Harare, in April, where Dr. Gueddana says they will discuss the final phase of action by reaching a consensus on policy and direction. Tunisia’s contribution to this effort is that “the government is ready to offer any facilities and take any measures to facilitate the operational phase of the South-South Partnership,” she added.

The next meeting of the Partnership will formalize the structure and decide on the location of the secretariat. It is scheduled to be convened by the Minister for Health and Child Welfare for Zimbabwe, Timothy Stamps, in Harare in April, 1995. The priorities of the South-South Partnership are to promote and find support for specific initiatives and to manage a global network of information to link need to capacity. Also to elaborate on the ways in which a successful long term collaboration between countries can be achieved in the field of technical assistance and training for population programs, specifically aimed at improving reproductive health and family planning services at the field level.

The Partnership has already had formal expressions of support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, the European Union and The World Bank. Other possible

donors, encouraging in their expressions of support, were Japan and the Netherlands.

Haryono Suyono, Indonesia’s Minister of State for Population and one of the prime

movers in setting up the Partnership said, “We are very optimistic. Already from the

successful Indonesian experience in family planning, we are sending experts to Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the Solomon Islands and Fiji to develop their family planning programs.” In addition, Indonesia has been asked by the Asian Development Bank, to prepare an assessment for training and facilities for family planning programs in the

Solomon Islands. The project will cost between 3-5 million dollars. “One week after

Cairo we started an internship program:’ said Haryono; “ten participants from Ethiopia and Kenya came to stay in Indonesia for three months and will live in the villages and learn about our family planning programs. We want to convince all the developing countries to join the Partnership and to pool our collective experiences, in order to effectively implement some of the recommendations made in Cairo.”