UNFPAState of World Population 2004
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State of World Population
Population and Poverty
Population and the Environment
Migration and Urbanization
Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
Reproductive Health and Family Planning
Maternal Health
Preventing HIV/AIDS
Adolescents and Young People
Reproductive Health for Communities in Crisis
Action Priorities
Sources for Boxes
Graphs and Tables


Putting People at the Centre
From Words to Action
Countries Report on Progress
National Ownership and Culture
Birth of a New Global Consensus
Wide-ranging Impact
Long Way to Go
The Way Forward

National Ownership and Culture

What makes the Cairo consensus work in practice is that each country decides for itself which actions and policies to carry out, based on its own priority needs, cultural imperatives and values. The Programme of Action stresses that implementation of its recommendations “is the sovereign right of each country, consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people, and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights”.


To be successful and sustainable, development efforts need to recognize local social and cultural realities and promote open dialogue and community involvement. This understanding informs UNFPA’s support to countries in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action.

Partnerships with community leaders and institutions are critical to addressing culturally sensitive issues, as the Fund’s experience has confirmed.

In Uganda, for instance, female genital cutting among the Sabiny minority was sharply reduced with UNFPA support, by partnering with Sabiny elders to develop alternative rites that reinforced the community’s cultural dignity while protecting the human rights of girls.

In Guatemala, which has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in Latin America, UNFPA helped facilitate an alliance that successfully pushed for the adoption of a groundbreaking law promoting better health for women and their families; it did this by finding common ground among ideologically diverse groups including Catholic leaders, evangelical Christians and the business community.See Sources

UNFPA is the largest multilateral supporter of population and reproductive health programmes in developing countries and the lead UN agency for implementing ICPD recommendations. Like other donors, it provides financial and technical assistance at the request of governments in response to nationally identified priorities.

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