Implementation of the ESA Commitment

Project description

Title: Regional programme for implementation of the ESA Commitment: Improving sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention among young people in Eastern and Southern Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Africa regional; 4 member states of the ESA Initiative: Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa
Overall term: 2015 to 2018


About one third of the population of southern and eastern Africa are young people aged between 10 and 24. According to current forecasts, their total number of 158 million will almost double by 2050. Development in this region depends to a great extent the use that is made of the considerable potential of this age-group and how favourably the population dynamics can be affected.

The region has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV infection, with some 625,000 new infections occurring each year. Similarly high are the incidences of early and unplanned pregnancies, child marriage and gender-based violence. In view of this alarming situation, at the end of 2013 the ministers of health and education in 21 countries across the region signed a collective declaration of commitment to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people in eastern and southern Africa. To this end they will promote comprehensive sex education and youth-friendly health services.

This Initiative has the political backing of the ESA (Eastern and Southern Africa) High Level Group. A technical coordination committee ensures coordination, while the activities are implemented by the national health ministries, public sector bodies and civil society organisations, as well as the national ESA commissions comprised of experts in various areas. On an annual basis, the commissions report to both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC).


The regional and national frameworks for achieving the targets of the ESA Commitment have improved.


At the regional level, the programme supports both the political leadership group and the technical coordination committee of the ESA Initiative. At national level, it assists with the implementation of relevant measures and it strengthens cross-border exchanges and cooperation between selected ESA member states, including Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa.

Implementing partners are the members of the regional ESA steering commission (the technical coordination committee and the EAC Secretariat), the SADC Secretariat, UNESCO, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the national ESA commissions.