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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2004: Population and Poverty
State of World Population
Population and Poverty
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Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
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Population and Poverty

Millennium Development Goals
Reproductive Health and the MDGs
Economic Impact of Population Dynamics
HIV/AIDS and Poverty
Ageing Populations
National Action to Reduce Poverty

Reproductive Health and the MDGs

The Cairo goal of universal access to quality reproductive health services by 2015 is not one of the MDGs. This has led to concern that reproductive health might get short-changed in efforts to better direct resources to development priorities. But as the ICPD affirmed, this goal is fundamental to reducing poverty, child and maternal mortality, and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated in a message to the Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference, held in Bangkok in December 2002, “The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed. And that means stronger efforts to promote women’s rights, and greater investment in education and health, including reproductive health and family planning.”

Much more needs to be done to ensure synergy between the MDGs and the goals of the ICPD, but encouraging progress has been made. Two of the UN Millennium Project’s expert task forces (in the areas of gender equality and child and maternal health) have strongly endorsed “universal access to sexual and reproductive health” as a strategic priority for attaining the MDGs.(1)

All countries are required to report to the General Assembly on progress towards the MDGs, through National Millennium Development Goals Reports. Ten of the first reports published listed reproductive health as a goal, and an additional four wrote about reproductive health issues. Nine provided data on the contraceptive prevalence rate (the most frequently used indicator to monitor access to reproductive health care); 10 others made reference to it.

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