They don’t want to talk about sex

The new head of the UN Population Fund, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, avoided sensitive topics in interviews and speeches during his London visit last week.

There was just one odd passage of his keynote talk at the UCL Population Footprints conference when the Nigerian walked away from the podium and said this:

what I’ve seen in the last 4 months tells me that the opposition is coming and they don’t want us to even talk about girls, about women, about sexuality – they want to us to talk about families. That for me is introspection, that is regression; where we are today is light years ahead of where they want us to be.

So who is “they”? The speech hinted at irritation with the UN General Assembly which is resisting Dr Osotimehin’s call for a major conference in 2014.

He wants to review 20 years of progress since the Cairo Consensus (a women’s rights-based approach to population issues). But there’s also a bonfire brewing in the US where a poll of Republican supporters has voted UNFPA as favourite for the budget chop. Take your pick.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK