Task Force to Kick Start Cairo Population Goals
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 2 2012 (IPS) – Gathered at the Ford Foundation in New York Monday, international luminaries, family planning experts and women’s rights activists repeatedly expressed a common sentiment: “I cannot believe that we are still having this discussion today.”
They were there to mark the launch of a new 26-member high-level task force to galvanise support behind the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
That conference took place nearly two decades ago, in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. It resulted in a Programme of Action that become the guiding document for the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.
The Programme of Action contains four global goals. First, universal access to education for all, including women and girls. Second, reduction of infant and child mortality. Third, reduction of maternal mortality. And fourth, access to reproductive and sexual health services, including family planning.
The ICPD goals will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2014. None have been reached so far, especially the last.
“I would not say that the goals have not been fulfilled, but that they have only been partially fulfilled. There are a number of reasons for this,” Gita Sen told IPS.
Sen is a professor of public policy at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, and has worked on population policies for 35 years. She is a member of the new task force, and attended the conference in Cairo in 1994.
“One thing that has definitely happened in those 18 years is that there is a language of sexual and reproductive rights, which was never there before,” Sen said.
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