International Conference on Population and Development

About The ICPD

In 1994 the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, transformed global thinking on population and development issues and defined a bold agenda, placing people’s dignity and rights at the heart of sustainable development.

There, 179 governments adopted the ICPD Programme of Action. It affirmed that inclusive sustainable development is not possible without prioritizing human rights, including reproductive rights; empowering women and girls; and addressing inequalities as well as the needs, aspirations and rights of individual women and men.

ICPD set the standard for people-centred development, guiding national policies and programmes for the implementation of the Programme of Action by governments, in collaboration with parliaments and civil society, including women and youth-led organizations, the private sector, community groups and individuals at the grassroots level.

The ICPD Agenda Today

Almost 30 years since the landmark conference in Cairo, people-centred development has enabled numerous gains, which are now at risk of reversal. Today, progress is threatened by multifaceted crises, backsliding on the rights and choices of women and girls, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the polarization of the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda. While there is progressive activism for social justice, climate action and equality, we are at a critical inflection point to preserve the hard-won gains and deliver on the vision of the ICPD agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the historic set of goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to eliminate poverty, achieve gender equality and secure the health and well-being of all people.

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