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Countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia commit to end violence against women, expand reproductive health at Nairobi Summit

20 November 2019
Elizabeta Gjorgievska First Lady of North Macedonia, speaks at the Nairobi Summit
Elizabeta Gjorgievska, First Lady of North Macedonia, speaks at the Nairobi Summit. Photo: UNFPA EECARO

NAIROBI, Kenya — All 17 countries of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region attended last week’s Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, making strong commitments to transform the region by focusing on issues such as ending violence against women, expanding access to sexual and reproductive health to all people, and harnessing the opportunities inherent in demographic change.

“The Nairobi Summit was a huge success from a regional perspective,” said Alanna Armitage, Director of UNFPA’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“It generated bold new commitments from governments, underlined the transformative nature of realizing the rights of women and young people, and showcased the broad support the ICPD agenda enjoys across countries and across all segments of societies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.”

The Summit, co-convened by the governments of Kenya and Denmark and UNFPA, mobilized more than 1,200 commitments from around the world, including some 150 from governments, civil society and the private sector in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

It also raised the voices of marginalized communities, youth and grassroots advocates, who were able to directly engage heads of state and policymakers about how to realize the rights and health of all people.

Nesime Salioska, a Roma advocate from North Macedonia, pointed out that there were no participants from the Roma community at the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. “Today in Nairobi we have Roma participants but most importantly we have a Roma woman as a member of the international steering committee [for the Summit],” Salioska said.

The Nairobi Summit was the culmination of a series of events organized in 2019 to mark the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo. These events aimed to celebrate the achievements made since then and push for full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action adopted by world governments in 1994.

Click through the slideshow to meet some of the representatives from

Eastern Europe and Central Asia who participated in the Nairobi Summit.

Participants from Eastern Europe and Central Asia had a high profile in Nairobi, starting with Kazakh singer Kaliya’s powerful performance at the opening ceremony. Speakers from the region included the First Lady of North Macedonia, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, Vice-Speaker of Tajikistan’s Parliament Khayriniso Yusufi, UNFPA Honorary Ambassador in Ukraine Maria Efrosinina, youth leader Fatma Bulic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Anna Targonskaya representing the period tracker app and reproductive health platform, Flo.

Many other high-level government officials, activists, youth leaders and representatives of marginalized communities, including people living with disabilities, also spoke at sessions and events during the Summit.

UNFPA partner Natalia Vodianova, the Russian supermodel and philanthropist, led a session on what the fashion world and other creative industries can do to end stigma and harmful taboos around women’s bodies and health. The session, organized as part of the joint “Let’s Talk!” campaign, featured prominent representatives of the fashion industry and the media, and generated several new pledges for action.

Another session, co-organized by Special Olympics, on the power of sports in creating a more inclusive world, featured a number of UNFPA partners from the region, including FC Locomotive Tbilisi technical director George Kipiani, Yevhen Akhunov of FC Shakhtar, Special Olympics’ David Evangelista and Belarusian Paralympian Liudmila Vauchok.

Over 9,500 delegates from more than 170 countries took part in the conference, uniting behind the Nairobi Statement, which establishes a shared agenda to complete the ICPD Programme of Action.

“The Nairobi Summit energized the region and the commitments made, together with the Nairobi Statement, represent a clear vision and path for the future for our region, with a focus on the rights and choices of women and young people,” said Armitage.