Press Release

UNFPA Welcomes Eminent Persons’ Call to Place People, Particularly Women, at Heart of Transformative Development

30 May 2013
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York—Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, warmly welcomed the report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda that was presented today to the United Nations Secretary-General. 

“We strongly agree with the Eminent Persons’ declaration that people should be at the heart of any development agenda and no person denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities on any grounds,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “We also echo their call for a people-centred agenda that ensures the equal rights of women and girls, and empowers them to take leadership roles in their societies.”

“UNFPA strongly believes that women and girls should have the means to exercise their right to make choices on their health, particularly their sexual and reproductive health, freely and without coercion,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “The Eminent Persons’ report shows, once again, that investing in women’s health is not only the right thing to do, but also smart economics. We also fully support their proposals to decrease maternal death and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.” 

Noting that “no society has become prosperous without a major contribution from its women,” the Eminent Persons called for women’s equal and full participation in decision-making. “This is yet another testament to the fact that women are major drivers of economic growth in their communities and countries,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “But for them to fulfil this potential as economic drivers, we must re-double our efforts to enable them to determine if, when and how often to have children.  Only then would they be better able to pursue education, be more economically productive and help end poverty.”

Furthermore, added Dr. Osotimehin: “We strongly welcome the Eminent Persons’ recommended goal to end child marriage. Child marriage threatens the potential of millions of our very own daughters, nieces and grand-daughters. We particularly welcome their support for education for young people which will also provide them with an understanding of sexual and reproductive health.”

“UNFPA believes that young people, particularly those living in poverty, must get their rightful place at the table, so that every young person's potential is fulfilled,” said Dr. Osotimehin.

For more information, please contact:
Omar Gharzeddine: Tel: +1 212 297 5028;
To view the report and for more information about the panel, visit

Excerpts from



….. Young people. Today’s adolescents and youth are 1.8 billion strong and one quarter of the world’s population. They are shaping social and economic development, challenging social norms and values, and building the foundation of the world’s future. They have high expectations for themselves and their societies, and are imagining how the world can be better. Connected to each other as never before through new media, they are driving social progress and directly influencing the sustainability and the resilience of their communities and of their countries. These young people face many obstacles, ranging from discrimination, marginalization, and poverty, to violence. They find it hard to find a first job, so we believe a jobs target with a specific indicator for youth employment, should be included in the next goal framework Young people must be subjects, not objects, of the post-2015 development agenda. They need access to the right kind of health (including access to SRHR) and education to improve their job prospects and life skills, but they must also be active participants in decision-making, and be treated as the vital asset for society that they are.

Girls and Women. The majority of those living in extreme poverty are female. A people-centred agenda must work to ensure the equal rights of women and girls, and empower them to participate and take on leadership roles in public life. Women across the world have to work hard to overcome significant barriers to opportunity. These barriers can only be removed when there is zero tolerance of violence against and exploitation of women and girls, and when they have full and equal rights in political, economic and public spheres. Women and girls must have equal access to financial services, infrastructure, the full range of health services including SRHR, water and sanitation, the equal right to own land and other assets, a safe environment in which to learn and apply their knowledge and skills, and an end to discrimination so they can receive equal pay for equal work, and have an equal voice in decision-making. Gender equality is integrated across all of the goals, both in specific targets and by making sure that targets are measured separately for women and men, or girls and boys, where appropriate. But gender equality is also an important issue in its own right, and a stand-alone goal can catalyse progress.

Demographic change: Global population growth is expected to slow to just one per cent per year between now and 2030, when the global population will likely reach 8 billion, on its way to more than 9 billion by 2050. There will be more people and older people. The impact of both trends must be taken into account. The world’s labour force will grow by about 470 million. For many developing countries, this surge is a demographic dividend in waiting, if the extra people are given the right opportunities, services and skills. Creating so many jobs sounds daunting, but it is less than what nations achieved between 1995 and 2010, when the global labour force grew by almost 700 million.

International Migration: The universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants must be respected. These migrants make a positive economic contribution to their host countries, by building up their labour force. Sending countries benefit from getting foreign exchange in the form of remittances and from greater trade and financial flows with countries where they have a large diaspora. By 2030, as global population rises, there could be 30 million more international migrants, remitting an additional $60 billion to their home countries through lowcost channels.

Urbanization: The world is now more urban than rural, thanks to internal migration. By 2030 there will be over one billion more urban residents and, for the first time ever, the number of rural residents will be starting to shrink. This matters because inclusive growth emanates from vibrant and sustainable cities, the only locale where it is possible to generate the number of good jobs that young people are seeking. Good local governance, management and planning are the keys to making sure that migration to cities does not replace one form of poverty by another, where even if incomes are slightly above $1.25 a day, the cost of meeting basic needs is higher.

The Eminent Person proposed 12 illustrative goals, including:


2a. Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women
2b. End child marriage
2c. Ensure equal right of women to own and inherit property, sign a contract, register a business and open a bank account
2d. Eliminate discrimination against women in political, economic, and public life


4a. End preventable infant and under-5 deaths
4b. Increase by x% the proportion of children, adolescents, at-risk adults and older people that are fully vaccinated
4c. Decrease the maternal mortality ratio to no more than x per 100,000
4d. Ensure universal sexual and reproductive health and rights
4e. Reduce the burden of disease from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and priority non-communicable diseases


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