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Address by UNFPA Representative, Mr. Massimo Diana, at joint press conference marking World Population Day 2020 - 26 July 2020 - Khartoum - Sudan

Sallam Alaikum,
it is an honor to be here today with HE Ms Lena El Sheikh, Minister and Ms. Wissal Hussein, Secretary General NPCThe Sudanese people are bound by the values of faith, family and kindness.
Over the past year and a half, power transferred from the palace to the streets.Sudan is in a period of incredible change — one that will have monumental highs and somber lows. 
Each day is an inflection point — a choice between a nation decided by the few, or a nation where the few represent the people.And from the very beginning, women have been authors of this future history. 
As we celebrate World Population Day we recognize their leadership.And we take this day to remind ourselves that democracy doesn’t happen without gender equality.
Peace in our world begins with peace at home.That means ending gender-based violence, ensuring men and women enjoy equal opportunities and that women, men and boys are protected.
The supply of modern contraceptives and enjoying reproductive health and rights directly contribute to a world where women have control over their bodies and are able to make choices that affect them.
The challenges created by the pandemic caused negative effects on disruption of essential care, especially reproductive health and maternal care. 
The discontinuity of such essential services will undoubtedly lead to unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions as well as a spike of gender based violence.
The availability of population data remains among the serious gaps.
To this end, we remain committed to supporting the implementation of the census to provide government and policy makers with the information they need to make informed decisions to effectively reduce poverty and hunger, advance education, health and gender equality and to ensure women, girls and boys receive the protection they need.
At UNFPA we remain steadfast in supporting the transitional government also through the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on data generation and the National Population Council (NPC) to develop sound population analysis to inform development policies and strategies.
There is nothing to fear by saying that men and women should have equal opportunities.
There is nothing to fear by promoting the use of modern contraceptives. There is nothing to fear about believing in democracy. For too long Sudan has been excluded from the international community.
But democratic elections -- where women and youth can freely participate -- is the only pathway to normalization.If we look back at the previous year and a half it is easy to see how far Sudan has come. Sudan has created a pathway to democracy, is seriously addressing its economic crisis and it has given women countless new freedoms -- all in the midst of a global pandemic.We all know by heart the words that define Sudan’s future: Peace – Freedom - Justice. And I may add: rights and choices
Thank you,