A global survey(1) of governments undertaken in 2003
by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund,
provides further evidence that developing countries
today strongly feel a strong sense of “ownership” of
the ICPD agreement, and are making concerted efforts
to implement its recommendations and achieve its goals.
Solid gains have been made in integrating population
concerns into development strategies to alleviate
poverty, promote human rights and redress inequality,
protect the environment and conserve natural resources,
and decentralize planning. Institutions and laws have
been established and modified to speed progress.
Access to reproductive health and family planning
services has expanded significantly, along with actions
to meet young people’s needs, address HIV/AIDS and reduce maternal mortality. But countries responding
to the survey also recognized that much more must be
done to ensure reproductive rights, access to reproductive
health services by adolescents, a wider range
of contraceptive choices and higher quality clientcentred
Among the main findings of UNFPA’s global survey:
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT. Nearly all (96
per cent) of the 151 developing countries responding
reported action to integrate population concerns into
development policies and strategies. Most said they
had adopted policies to address population-poverty
interactions. Half the countries reported activities to
influence the distribution of their populations, for
example by creating new economic growth centres
and decentralizing planning and political decisionmaking.
Countries are also becoming more pragmatic
in focusing resources and addressing priority needs
(see Chapter 2).
GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT.
Ninety-nine per cent of countries reported that they
had adopted policies, laws or constitutional provisions
to protect the rights of girls and women. Many have
established national commissions for women. Countries
have set up mechanisms to provide women with education,
skills and employment, and to promote women’s
equal participation in the political process and community
affairs. Laws have been adopted and advocacy
undertaken to counter gender-based violence. Various
measures have been taken to increase girls’ enrolment
in primary and secondary schools.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND FAMILY PLANNING.
Countries have begun to integrate reproductive health
services into primary health care. Most are improving
the training and increasing the numbers of health
providers. They have improved service facilities and
expanded access, particularly for people living in
remote areas. Use of modern contraception continues
to grow, and countries have linked family planning
with other reproductive health services. Efforts to
reduce maternal deaths and injuries are getting
increased attention, with more emphasis on attended delivery and expanding the availability of emergency
obstetric care and referral and transport systems
(see Chapter 6).
HIV/AIDS. Three fourths of countries reported adopting
national strategies on HIV/AIDS; a third said they
had specific strategies aimed at high-risk groups.
Many countries are promoting the consistent and
correct use of condoms and providing voluntary counselling
and testing. Advocacy campaigns have used
celebrities or religious leaders to promote safer sexual
behaviour (see Chapter 8).
ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG PEOPLE. Countries
increasingly recognize the need to address the reproductive
health and rights of adolescents, and 92 per cent
reported action in this regard. Some have rescinded
laws and policies that restricted adolescents’ access
to reproductive health information and services,
and more than half have established youth-friendly
services. Most have introduced reproductive health
education, as an important component of basic life
skills, into school curricula and programmes for outof-
school youth. Many countries are also adopting a
holistic approach that deals with the larger context
of young people’s lives, including socio-economic
realities, poverty and livelihoods (see Chapter 9).
PARTNERSHIPS. Most governments are working with a
wide variety of civil society and private sector groups—
including national and international non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), particularly family planning associations,
women’s associations and community
groups—on a broad range of ICPD-related issues. This
collaboration is especially helpful in reaching groups
otherwise not covered by services (see Chapter 11).