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Next Three Years to Set Stage for New Development Frontiers, UNFPA Leader Says

1 February 2012
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York – The next three years are critical for the global development agenda, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin declared today at the UNFPA Executive Board's first formal session of the year.

“This June, in Rio de Janeiro, the world community seeks renewed political commitment and a new push for sustainable development,” said Dr. Osotimehin in his speech to the Board. “People and the principle of equity must be kept at the centre of sustainable development. It means recognizing the need to invest in women and young people and promoting human rights.”

Quoting the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as saying “Development is not sustainable unless it is equitable and serves all people,” Dr. Osotimehin noted that “at the core of equity and people-centered development is the visionary ICPD agenda, which the world agreed to in 1994 and is under review for its follow up beyond 2014.”

“The world has changed since 1994, but the central issues of the ICPD agenda – human rights, sexual and reproductive health, population and gender – are as relevant today to the global development agenda as they were two decades ago,” he said.

Dr. Osotimehin called on UN Member States to promote the goals of they adopted in the ICPD agenda and the social aspects of sustainable development, which, he said, “is the imperative of the 21st century.” That cannot be achieved, he noted, “without empowering women and young people. And it cannot be achieved without improving sexual and reproductive health.”

Turning to his agency, Dr. Osotimehin said that “UNFPA has the potential to move the needle significantly on MDG 5 to improve maternal health. We have the potential to catalyze change and empower young people, especially adolescent girls. UNFPA has shown that through focused efforts and strong partnerships we can achieve great results. UNFPA is fully committed to championing human rights everywhere we work.”

“In a world of 7 billion and growing,” he said, “we are ready and committed to focus our efforts towards delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”