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ICPD 25. What has changed in the world?

This year, the World Population Day is dedicated to the jubilee of the Cairo conference.


Each year, the UN calendar, July 11, is celebrated as World Population Day. This year’s theme is related to the achievement of goals that were proclaimed in 1994 at Cairo, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Twenty-five years have passed since this popular forum, when 179 governments approved that reproductive health and gender equality are essential for development.


The day is of special importance to the UNFPA, which is supporting the worldwide population and development programs. It should be reminded that the United Nations Population Fund was established in 1969 and it operates in about 150 countries where 80% of the world’s population lives. The Foundation is the leading UN agency in building a world where every pregnancy is desirable, every birth is safe, and the potential of every young person is realized.


Thus, this fall will mark two important jubilees in the UN, the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Population Fund, and the 25th anniversary of the Action Plan for the Cairo Conference, united under the motto “Ensure rights and choices for all”. This is an opportunity to summarize what has happened and to point out new goals and targets. Experts state that much has been done during this period, but there are so many things to do that women and girls can achieve full realization of their rights.


Too many people are still ignored. Almost one billion people in the world are still in extreme poverty. In the developing world, reproductive health problems continue to be the primary cause of women’s death and disability. Young people are more likely to be infected with HIV and are at risk of undesirable pregnancy. More than a hundred million girls face the threat of infant marriage and other malicious practices such as feminine genital mutilation. About 225 million women are forced to interrupt pregnancy because they do not use contraceptives. This is due to a lack of information, inaccessibility and lack, as well as a lack of public and family support.


In 1994, in the framework of the United Nations Population and Development Conference (ICPD) in Cairo, the “Action Plan Principles” adopted by governments of 179 countries refer to the solution of the above mentioned issues. The program includes women’s empowerment, development, sexual and reproductive health, rights protection, sustainable development, gender equality, family empowerment, education right, sex-based pregnancy abnormalities, demographic and migration developments. Twenty years later, in 2014, the goals of the program were revised and clarified, including the new states’ agreements on the Sustainable Development Agenda.


In March, ahead of the 25th anniversary of the ICPD, leaders in New York gathered to discuss the steps taken. According to the UN Population Fund experts, women have made significant progress in implementing their reproductive rights over the past 25 years since the Cairo conference. Many activists, attorneys, public health professionals and many others have struggled for changes that we now see in our environment.




In the fall, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will hold a high-level conference in Nairobi to activate efforts to reach the goals declared at Cairo’s conference.

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