UNGA Marks 25th Anniversary of International Conference on Population and Development
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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At the UNGA event marking the 25th anniversary of the ICPD, UN Secretary-General António Guterres cited a “a global pushback” on women’s rights, including reproductive rights and health services.

Two hundred million women still lack access to reproductive health services, and more than 800 women die every day from preventable causes during pregnancy and childbirth.

ICPD25 will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, from 12-14 November 2019.

17 July 2019: Twenty-five years have passed since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) convened in Cairo, Egypt, resulting in the adoption of the Cairo Programme of Action, which called for promoting women’s empowerment by reducing inequalities and improving access to education, decent work and reproductive health care, among other actions.

The Cairo Programme of Action recognizes that women’s rights and access to sexual and reproductive health are critical responses to demographic trends and their absence could undermine sustainable, equitable and inclusive development. Two hundred million women still lack access to reproductive health services and more than 800 women die every day from preventable causes during pregnancy and childbirth. Globally, around 650 million women were married as children.

On 16 July 2019, a high-level UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York commemorated the 25-year anniversary. Speakers: called for donors and international organizations to address funding gaps to help countries implement the Programme of Action; stressed that since Cairo, maternal mortality has dropped by 44% and under-five mortality by 50%; said meeting the need for family planning by 2030 will cost USD 40 billion; and underscored that teenage pregnancies threaten achievement of SDGs 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (reduced inequalities).

UN Secretary-General António Guterres lamented that violence against women and girls still affects one in three women worldwide, with the number even higher during conflict and emergencies. He stated that many of the policies set out in the Cairo Programme of Action, including tackling inequality and environmental degradation, and promoting gender equality and access to sexual and reproductive health, are critical to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He recalled that the Conference, for the first time, linked population, human rights, economic growth and sustainable development, addressing them in a holistic and coherent manner. While acknowledging that progress in women’s rights over the past 25 years has helped reduce poverty and hunger and improve education and health, Guterres also cited a “a global pushback” on women’s rights, including reproductive rights and health services.

2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which has helped implement the Cairo Programme of Action and has been instrumental in: empowering youth and enabling women and couples to access sexual and reproductive health care; preventing gender-based violence; and tackling the issues of female genital mutilation and early marriage.

From 12-14 November 2019, Kenya and Denmark, with the UNFPA, will convene The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise to mark the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Conference and to mobilize political and financial commitments. [UNGA President’s Letter Announcing Meeting] [DESA Press Release] [Statement of the UNFPA Executive Director] [UN Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub News Story on CPD at 25 Years] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Asia-Pacific Governments Review of ICPD Programme of Action]

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