The goals championed by UNFPA - reproductive health, women's empowerment, equality - can help break the cycle of poverty that traps millions of women and families and blocks the progress of human development. At Cairo, countries agreed that meeting reproductive health needs, particularly of poor families and communities, and stabilizing world population would contribute significantly to development. Slower population growth could also allow communities more time and resources to combat poverty while greatly improving women's health.
The issues of poverty, population and development are so closely linked that progress is mutually reinforcing. Poor women who are unable to access family planning services are unable to time or space their children, and this in turn limits their ability to participate fully in income generating activities. Enabling people to choose their family size will slow the rapid population growth that undermines poverty-reduction efforts in the world's poorest countries. UNFPA endeavours to raise awareness of these links, in particular between poverty and reproductive health, and to support their articulation in national development plans, policies and reports.
For UNFPA and all partners in global development, the challenge is to reduce the severe poverty that afflicts 1.2 billion people today, and at the same time create the conditions that will enable the 1 billion people who will be added to world population by 2015, mostly in the poorest countries, to live decent lives. The Cairo agenda helps us to effectively address these issues. As the international community strives to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, UNFPA believes that the ICPD's rights-based agenda for addressing the interdependence of population and poverty deserves the highest priority.
MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
UNFPA, guided by the ICPD Programme of Action, continued to provide strategic guidance to help meet internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. UNFPA raised awareness of the fundamental importance of universal access to reproductive health services to achieving the MDGs, and the overarching objective of eliminating poverty. The Fund also assisted countries with MDG reporting. In 2004, a large number of countries incorporated discussion of reproductive health in their Millennium Development Goal Reports.
DATA AND POPULATION STRATEGIES
Data collection and analysis is an important area of UNFPA work. Activities include conducting censuses and strengthening data generation, analysis and utilization systems. Accurate data reflects the current situation and also enables planners to project future trends. In the next 50 years, the population of the 50 least developed countries is expected to triple. Not only is the world's population ageing, but it is also experiencing the largest youth generation in human history, with the youngest populations in the poorest countries.
UNFPA worked with countries to track and analyse the distribution, structure, size and dynamics of their populations - and to apply this information to strategies, policies and programme planning to meet the needs of their people. UNFPA continued to promote a gender-sensitive approach, and a common set of indicators for use in monitoring, evaluation and national reporting.
In June 2004, UNFPA released the results of a Global Survey that summarizes responses from 169 countries on the steps taken to implement the ICPD Programme of Action. The survey returned a 92 per cent response rate among developing nations and countries with economies in transition, and an 82 per cent response rate among donor countries.
- UNFPA and the International Migration Policy Programme assessed the challenges and opportunities presented by population movements in the joint publication, Meeting the Challenges of Migration: Progress since the ICPD. The report, launched in October, focused on migration trends, policy development, refugee protection, human trafficking, data, development and human rights.
- Cambodia's first national population policy, prepared with financial and technical assistance from UNFPA, was announced in February 2004. The policy is linked to the implementation of the MDGs and to the country's poverty-reduction strategy.
- Demographic and health surveys and reproductive health surveys were carried out in 14 countries with support from UNFPA in 2004. The Fund helped to mobilize nearly $1 million to support a survey in Ethiopia, and effectively attracted political support and donor funding in Ecuador.
- The African Union endorsed a new statistical publication, State of African Population Report, when it was launched by UNFPA during the Summit of African Heads of State and Governments in July in Maputu, Mozambique.
- UNFPA collaborated with a public research association in Brazil to produce studies on migration, human reproduction and gender, as well as studies on the linkages between population, environment, health and employment. The results were presented at the Latin American Congress on Population Studies.
The winning poster in UNFPA's 2004 International Poster Contest. The contest's theme was: "Keeping the Promise: ICPD at Ten". Young artists were invited to participate through posters depicting women and girls enjoying good health, education and economic opportunity.
CENSUS DATA FOR PLANNING
UNFPA provides financial and technical assistance to implement census-taking activities and to analyse demographic data - essential for development planning and to meet basic needs for education, health and housing.
- In Timor-Leste, a country without an address system, the first official population census was conducted with UNFPA support using satellite imaging and state of- the-art technology, including aerial photography and Global Positioning System coding. In addition, nearly 4,000 census-takers visited households in July to obtain demographic, social and economic data for use in planning by this new country.
- Cambodia's National Institute of Statistics received UNFPA assistance in conducting a population survey to update the last general census of 1998. In March, more than 900 field staff enumerated households across the country's 24 provinces.
- A major collaboration between UNFPA and the League of Arab States concluded in 2004 with the creation of a unit in the League to integrate the resources of the Pan Arab Project for Family Health (PAPFAM), which was also funded by the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND). The unit is to host a dynamic database, serve as a clearing house for social indicators, and provide South-South technical assistance.
- The analysis of census data was the focus of UNFPA assistance in Gambia, Tanzania and Uganda, where the Fund helped governments analyse census results for more effective use of data in population and development planning.
UNFPA intensified efforts in 2004 to raise awareness of the links between poverty and population issues, emphasizing the positive effects that reproductive health and family planning can have on economic and social development.
- UNFPA worked with governments to make the link between population and poverty in their policies and strategies. In Gambia, the national population policy was revised to incorporate HIV/AIDS, ageing and poverty together with the population and MDG indicators. The Five-Year Development Plans of Oman, Turkey and Yemen reflected the ICPD and MDG goals. The poverty reduction strategy paper in Nicaragua included a population-based strategy for delivering services to rural communities with the highest poverty rates. In Eritrea, UNFPA supported the formulation of national policies for poverty reduction, food security, education, gender and STIs, including HIV/AIDS.
- UNFPA supported the design of a training programme on population, gender and development that was included in the curriculum of Mongolia's Management Academy in 2004.
- At the halfway point of the ICPD plan, population concerns are integral to most governments' development strategies. This is one of the signs of progress noted in the UNFPA report State of World Population 2004. The report found that since Cairo, many governments have adopted laws to protect the rights of girls and women, made reproductive health services an integral part of their primary health care, and redoubled efforts to prevent HIV. This year's report, The Cairo Consensus at Ten: Population, Reproductive Health and the Global Effort to End Poverty, also called on donor countries to honor the financial pledges they made at the ICPD, which are critical to providing family planning services, reducing maternal deaths, preventing HIV infection and meeting the needs of young people and the poor.
WORLD POPULATION DAY
Each 11th of July for the past 15 years, UNFPA offices in all parts of the world have raised awareness about population and development issues on World Population Day. In 2004, the day's events emphasized safe motherhood and the better prospects promised girls and women through implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. The poster produced for the day proclaimed, "Every minute a mother goes missing," drawing attention to the impact of maternal mortality on families.
- Events in Bangladesh ranged from a parade of 10,000 people to the release of a new postage stamp. A discussion session in Dhaka was attended by 2,500 representatives of government, NGOs and civil society and 1,500 field-level family planning officials.
- In Brazil, the day's events included a round table on ICPD goals, the launch of a CD-ROM on reproductive rights and the law, and publication of a compendium of articles and speeches on population issues in the decade since Cairo.
- Speakers at a high-level observance of the day in Iran underlined the need to maintain equilibrium between population numbers and national resources and discussed the important linkages between population and sustainable development. The event, held at Tehran University, was attended by a large number of students, government officials and representatives of NGOs and the diplomatic community.
- Government ministers, parliamentarians and officials from NGOs and UN agencies in Zimbabwe met on the day to evaluate progress in achieving ICPD goals. Population issues were raised through television interviews, national newspapers, and a televised call-in quiz for young people.
Young people at home in an Ethiopian slum. Young people make up one fourth of the 1.2 billion people who live below the extreme poverty line of $1 a day. UNFPA-supported programmes link job training to reproductive health information and services.