KATHMANDU: Twenty-five years ago, the links spelt out between population, development and human rights, including reproductive rights by 179 countries including Nepal at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo are as relevant as ever, said UN officials.
On the occasion of this year’s World Population Day that calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that carrying forward the vision of the ICPD will unlock opportunities for those left behind and help pave the way for sustainable, equitable and inclusive development for all.
The Sustainable Development Goals are closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization, he said, issuing a statement.While managing these population trends, we must also recognize the relationship between population, development and individual well-being, the UN chief said, adding that promoting gender equality is both the right thing to do and one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development and improved well-being for all.
“In November, a summit marking the 25thanniversary of the Cairo Conference will take place in Nairobi. I encourage Member States to participate at the highest levels and to make firm political and financial commitments to realize the Programme of Action of the ICPD,” Guterres added.
Also issuing a statement, Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund Dr. Natalia Kanem said that women have a right to make their own decisions about whether, when and how often to become pregnant. “That right was reaffirmed in 1994 in Cairo at the landmark ICPD, where 179 governments agreed that sexual and reproductive health is the foundation for sustainable development.”
Despite considerable gains over the past 25 years, we still have a long way to go to live up to the promise of Cairo, the UNFPA chief said, adding that too many continue to be left behind and too many are still unable to enjoy their rights.
“On this World Population Day, I call on governments, civil society, communities, and people from all sectors and walks of life – to be bold and courageous, to do what is right for women and girls, to make real the possibilities that come with completing the unfinished business of Cairo,” she added.