Looking Back and Moving Forward

  • 09 October 2009

NEW YORK — On 12 October, the General Assembly of the United Nations will hold a high-level meeting to mark the 15th anniversary of International Conference on Population and Development and discuss the visionary 20-year Programme of Action that came out of it. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the president of the General Assembly, and the Member States are expected to call attention to what ICPD has meant to the world, and to highlight the continuing importance of population dynamics, reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment and related issues to improving the quality of life of people around the world.

A series of consultations, a photography exhibit and a new media platform

For UNFPA, the agency that was given the lead in carrying out the ICPD vision, all of this year has been a process of both looking back and moving forward toward commitments made in 1994. For instance, a series of technical meetings and consultations taking place throughout the year are providing recommendations for realizing the ICPD vision.

A social media platform, Conversations for a Better World, was created to get people from many walks of life talking about the key issues from Cairo and why they still matter today. A photo exhibit currently on view in the lobby of the United Nations, Congo/Women, and a related video presentation, call attention to glaring caps in one key area: eliminating many forms of gender-based violence.

New publications

Other materials have also been produced as a way to reflect on accomplishments, consolidate lessons learned and accelerate progress. For instance, a new publication, Healthy Expectations, documents achievements, highlights disparities and calls attention to areas where urgent action is needed to meet the commitments made in 1994. It also examines the synergies among the many areas of action outlined in Programme of Action.

Later this year, a compilation of country profiles, statistics and demographic indicators from UNFPA’s 150 programme countries will be released.

Video resources

The Fund has also produced a videotaped statement from the UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, about the vision of the ICPD and its continuing relevance to the world today. In addition three short animated public service announcements are available for viewing and broadcast. They were developed by students Art Center College of Design in Pasadena based on their understanding of the Cairo vision. Empower Women, Empower the Future addresses the need for partnership and equality between men and women. Childhood is for Learning, Not Marriage deals with the toll of child marriage. And Every Young Person Has a Right to Flourish is about the need for a nurturing environment for young people.

Keep up with additional publications and activities related to ICPD/15 through the UNFPA website. For instance, look for the launch of a revised version of Adding It Up, which will provide updated estimates that show the cost-effectiveness of investments in reproductive health.


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