Pretoria: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has urged officials and experts from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), attending the Inaugural BRICS seminar on population matters, to give special attention to exchanging ideas on advancing both gender and reproductive health rights.
“South Africa has made many advances in promoting gender and reproductive health rights in the past twenty years, but more still needs to be done.
“As experts on population matters, I urge you to engage on this matter, drawing lessons from all our different experiences, in order to further promote gender and reproductive health rights in our countries and the world,” said Minister Dlamini on Sunday in Mpumalanga.
A presentation by the South African delegation showed that in South Africa, women are still vulnerable due to exposure to gender-based violence, and the reproductive health rights for black women remain limited.
In order to contribute towards addressing these problems, the Department of Social Development is currently piloting a 24-hour helpline which victims of gender-based violence can call for support and guidance by trained social workers.
In 1998, South Africa promulgated a Population Policy. The policy advocates a holistic multi-sectoral approach so that efforts to influence fertility, mortality and migration, as well as the size, structure and growth rates of the population are both a means to and outcomes of sustainable development.
The seminar has been called to exchange knowledge and experiences on each country’s population trends, dynamics and policy responses thereto, and on the basis of this exchange to identify areas of cooperation on population related issues.
It is expected that the outcome of the seminar would be a broad framework document for BRICS cooperation on population related issues. The framework would in turn be presented to a meeting of BRICS Ministers responsible for population matters at a later stage.
Minister Dlamini said the seminar is another step towards strengthening cooperation amongst the major emerging economies of the South.
“As the South African Government we see this seminar as another opportunity to strengthen south-south co-operation on matters of common interest.
“Our government is proud to host this inaugural seminar and we hope its outcomes will go a long to shape new thinking in our countries and the world on population matters,” said Minister Dlamini.
The seminar ends on March 3.
SOURCE: South African Official News