Ministers from the Asia-Pacific region affirmed the importance of gender equality and reproductive health in achieving sustainable development, at the close of the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
20 September 2013: Ministers from the Asia-Pacific region affirmed the importance of gender equality and reproductive health in achieving sustainable development, at the close of the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Around 500 representatives of governments and civil society from 47 countries attended the conference, hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), from 16-20 September 2013. The conference reviewed progress and gaps in achieving the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action agreed in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994.
The APPC Declaration affirms ICPD principles and emphasizes the need for young people to have employment opportunities, access to contraception, and education about sexuality. It calls for rights-based policies that address population dynamics, including aging, urbanization, and migration, in particular strengthening of health and social protection systems.
ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer said the conference had addressed the “unfinished business” of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and affirmed the importance of non-discrimination, ending violence against women and girls, and universal sexual and reproductive health, services and rights. She noted the importance of national laws and policies.
Civil society representatives issued a joint statement urging Member States to ensure transparent and inclusive monitoring of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, drawing on information from the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.
In 2014, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) will hold a special session marking 20 years of the ICPD Programme of Action. The Ministerial Declaration serves as the Asia-Pacific region’s input to the session, and contributes to discussions shaping the post-2015 development agenda. [UN Press Release] [UNFPA Press Release] [ICPD Beyond 2014 website] [Civil Society Statement]