LAFF Members at Nairobi Population Summit
The conference, known as ICPD25 and which began November 12, was co-sponsored by the governments of Kenya and Denmark and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It was timed to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development that was held in Cairo in 1994, to review progress since then and to commit to new policies and programs.
“Since the Cairo ICPD,” said Natalia Kanem, executive director of UNFPA, in her opening remarks, “we have put women and girls at the center of global development. This has paid off time and again.”
But, she emphasized, “That ICPD vision is still far from reality, and that journey that began 25 years ago in Cairo is far from over. It’s now time to finish that unfinished business.”
Attendees included government officials and representatives from non-government organizations. By the end of the conference, they committed to increasing national health budgets to expand access to modern contraceptives, and to train midwives and other health workers. They pledged to pass laws to prevent gender-based violence and to eliminate female genital mutilation. And they pledged to work to achieve these goals within ten years, by 2030.
“There will be no ICPD50,” declared Ib Petersen, Denmark’s special envoy to the conference. “Women around the world have waited long enough to have rights and choices. Looking toward 2030, we now enter a decade of delivery during which we will walk the talk and hold all of us to account for the commitments we made in Nairobi.”
“We are closer than ever,” Kanem said in remarks closing the conference, “to realizing the clear vision of the ICPD Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Among those goals, she noted, was achieving full access to contraception and reproductive health care, elimination of preventable deaths in pregnancy and childbirth, an end to gender-based violence, assault and abuse, and elimination of child marriages and female genital mutilation.
She announced that the United Nations Population Fund will create a “high level” commission “to drive this agenda and our commitments forward”. The commission, she said, will propose ways to monitor progress on the commitments made at the summit, as well as review existing global, regional and national follow-up mechanisms.
“Together,” she said, “we will work to make the next ten years years of action and results for women and girls.”