Nearly 20 years ago, the international community made some large and important promises that have changed the lives of women and girls around the world. Today, more than 7 billion people inhabit the planet, 1.8 billion of whom are or soon will be entering their reproductive years. The decisions they make, and the policies we enact to help them fulfil their choices, will profoundly affect the fate of our countries, our regions and the world. Whether our population continues to grow rapidly, outstripping our ability to feed and care for all, or whether growth slows down and eventually stabilizes, depends on the choices they make — and the ones we help them carry out.
The Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development has given a new generation of women and girls more choices and opportunities than ever before in history. But our work is not over.