Lawmakers to Meet in Ottawa to Promote Reproductive Health and Rights

19 November 2002
Author: UNFPA

21-22 November 2002, Ottawa, Canada

OTTAWA - Over 130 parliamentarians from all over the world will gather in Ottawa, Canada, this week to identify actions they can take to promote reproductive rights and expand access to reproductive health care (including family planning information and services, maternal health care and HIV/AIDS prevention).

At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, 179 countries adopted a Programme of Action calling for universal access to reproductive health care by 2015, along with goals for reducing maternal mortality and extending primary education to all girls and boys.

The Cairo consensus shifted the focus in the population field from numbers to people. Governments agreed that advancing women's rights and enabling couples and individuals to choose freely the number and spacing of their children would contribute to early stabilization of world population.

Progress towards meeting the Cairo goals has stalled. Today, at least 350 million couples still lack access to a full range of modern family planning methods, almost half of all childbirths are without qualified medical attendance, and the AIDS pandemic shows no sign of slowing.

The lawmakers will discuss how to create conditions for advancement: in developing countries, increased laws, policies and services for all; and in industrial countries, adequate funding. Donor countries now contribute less than half the amount the Cairo conference agreed would be required by the year 2000.

The meeting, hosted by the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, will feature panels of ministers from around the world, including Afghanistan, China, the United Kingdom and Canada. Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Steven Sinding, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, will be keynote speakers.

WHEN:  21-22 November, 2002

WHERE: Canadian Parliament, West Block, Room 200, Ottawa, Canada

NOTE: Journalists can follow the conference from Room 208, West Block. A monitor and multi-feed for audio in English, French, Spanish and Arabic will be provided.

A separate interview room will be available on the 3rd floor of the West Block.

Contact Information:

Micol Zarb
Tel.: +1 212 297 5042
Cell Phone:
Email: [email protected]

Kristin Hetle
Tel.: +1 212-297-5020
Cell Phone: +1-917-378-5957
Email: [email protected]

35.9 mil
  • Fertility rate
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio
  • Contraceptives prevalence rate
  • Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment:
Boys -
Girls -