Unfpalogo2 July 2013: The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) high-level regional review conference for Europe and Central Asia opened with a call to introduce “smart policies” on population dynamics that will promote sustainable development, and ended with a list of recommended policy actions.

The conference was organized around the theme ‘Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century’ and was organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) from 1-2 July 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants discussed the recently completed global survey on achievements and outcomes of the ICPD Programme of Action launched in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. The conference aimed to build consensus around key areas that will need commitment and action by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) beyond 2014, when the ICPD 20-year Programme of Action concludes.

Andrey Vasilyev, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary, said population is a key element of sustainable development. A survey of implementation among UNECE Member States identified some policy gaps, including the need to: reconcile paid work and unpaid family responsibilities; adapt legal frameworks to non-traditional family formations; support single-parent families, including fathers’ rights; improve access to sexual and reproductive health services for persons with disabilities, the poor, migrants and older persons; and improve integration of sexual and reproductive health services with primary health care systems.

The conference issued a Chair’s Summary, which called on all concerned to respect individuals’ rights and place these at the center of development processes. The summary highlighted the need to, inter alia: advance gender equality, especially among vulnerable individuals and families; promote youth participation in policy making; support active and healthy aging; address challenges of work-life balance, including through quality early childhood education; protect and fulfill migrants’ rights, including the rights of victims of trafficking and humanitarian crises; ensure zero tolerance for gender-based violence; and improve data collection on sexual and reproductive health, including among vulnerable and marginalized groups. [UNFPA Press Release] [Chair’s Summary] [Publication: ICPD Beyond 2014: The UNECE Region’s Perspective]