The year 2004 marked the 10th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. That landmark conference produced a visionary and comprehensive action plan that linked poverty alleviation to women's empowerment, gender equality and universal access to reproductive health. It connected population issues with sustained economic growth and sustainable development. Its ambitious goals, including universal access to reproductive health by 2015, are crucial to our ability to reach the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by the world's governments as a blueprint for improving the lives of people everywhere in the 21st century.
In 2004, countries from all regions took the opportunity to renew their commitment to the ICPD consensus and reafirm their partnership with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. It is clear that in these 10 years, countries have made real progress in carrying out the promises made in Cairo. But it is equally clear that they need to accelerate action and scale up interventions. Much remains to be done to reduce unintended pregnancies, prevent maternal deaths, combat HIV/AIDS and meet the needs of young people and the poor, especially among the poorest women and girls.
Each year, this annual report sums up key issues affecting women, young people and their families worldwide, and the results achieved, with support from UNFPA, in improving their lives. For 2004, the report marks a halfway point in a 20-year plan that will continue to provide powerful guidance to governments, UNFPA and their partners.
Secretary-General of the United Nations