Fifteen years since Cairo...five remaining

September 3, 2009


September 2009 sees the 15 year progress review of implementation of the Programme of Action, produced at the 1994 landmark UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).


Credit: Tom Weller/UNFPA

Third review of progress held in Berlin

This year, the third progress review of implementating of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) takes place. To commemorate this landmark, theGlobal Partners in Action: NGO Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development Invest in Health, Rights and the Future is being held in Berlin 2-4 September, co-hosted bythe  UNFPA and the Government of Germany.

Other NGO events are also taking place in 2009, including the 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproducitve and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) to be held in Beijing, China from 17-20 October 2009.

The ICPD conference was critical in so far as it demonstrated an unprecedented commitment on behalf of governments to human rights including in regard to sexuality.

The PoA clearly defines the concepts of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRH), including universal access to related services and commodities. It also addresses concerns such as universal access to education, with special attention to closing the gender gap in primary and secondary education, universal access to primary health care, reduction in infant, child and maternal morbidity and mortality, and increased life expectancy. It includes recommendations on gender equality and the empowerment of women, the family, sustainable development, the environment, including climate change and migration.

The PoA established a historic global paradigm shift from a"population control" development approach to one that is people-centered and rights based.

Five years left for ICPD and the MDGs

There are five years to go for both the ICPD and the Millennium Development Goals, 2015 will mark the end of the period for these two action frameworks. While progress has been made in some important areas, now is the time to renew efforts to achieve their targets and goals in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights.