Windhoek Summit: An Interview with Sam Ntelamo on the Common African Position (CAP)

The Common African Position (CAP) meeting was held between 4-5th Sep 2019 in Windhoek, Namibia. The consultative meeting initiated by the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) brought together civil society organizations within five regions in Africa. 

One of our journalists from the IPPFAR Journalist Network caught up with Mr. Sam Ntelamo, Resident Representative, International Planned Parenthood Federation Liaison Office to the AU and ECA (IPPF AULO), on the sidelines of the meeting to unpack what CAP is all about. 

Here is the interview;

Lorna AndisiWhat is CAP, in simple terms?

Mr. Sam Ntelamo: The genesis of CAP is because over the last three consecutive Commission on Population and Development (CPD) meetings, there was no outcome. Africa has five regions, of the regions, some are progressive others are conservative; the statistics and indicators on maternal mortality, child marriage et cetera, speak for themselves. 

With the varying diversities, when our member states go into negotiations, they lack a common position, some people rely on what they think. They do not apply the agreed policies, such as the Maputo protocol.  

AU realized that there was one big gap. Africa was not speaking in one voice. CAP is meant to bridge that gap. Theon-going meeting is supposed to teeth out the contentious issues. The issues that are so sticking that member states cannot agree on. For example, why do countries have issues on abortion when young girls are dying of unsafe abortions, why do we have teenage pregnancies on the rise yet there is a policy on compressive sexuality education. Currently, migration is a big problem for Africa as well as climate change. All these things affect population and development for Africa.

CAP should address all these issues. Instead of relying on the currently existing policies that we have, we should think out of the box; what are the key population issues that we should include in CAP, and how can we resolve them?

Lorna Andisi: How does the AUC plan to use the CAP outcome document?

Mr. Sam Ntelamo: The process of CAP is into folds. First, and as a requirement of the AUC, civil society organizations are meeting to teeth out some of these issues, the island states; Sao Tome, Mauritius, Madagascar, Principe, Seychelles, Comoros will also meet, then mainland Africa will also have their separate meeting. In other words, we will have three reports emanating from the civil society organizations, the island states and mainland Africa. Our consultants will amalgamate the reports into one, the report will then go through the policy organs of the AU and become an official position of the Africa continent. In our view, the document will be binding.

Our African Ambassadors in New York and Geneva can use CAP as a negotiation tool in some of these global fora. These will ensure Africa’s key priorities, concerns and strategies are reflected in outcome documents. 

Lorna Andisi: That sounds quite comprehensiveany final remarks on the on-going process?

Mr. Sam Ntelamo: The goal of repositioning the debate around population and development should not be viewed in a bad light but it is for all of us to realise the real issues that need to be addressed in the Common Africa Position. Africa can effectively speak with one voice on Population and development when we agree to a common understanding of what the issues are. 

Lorna Andisi:  Thank you Sir for your time!

Mr. Sam Ntelamo: Thank you too!