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At the Nairobi Summit, PMC Comes Full Circle

Nov 18, 2019

Population Media Center’s founder and President, Bill Ryerson, recently attended the Nairobi Summit — a critical international event marking the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, or ICPD.

Bill joined over 6,000 world leaders, NGO representatives, youth activists, and business leaders who travelled to Kenya from 160 countries. One of their major objectives was to assess progress on the implementation of the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action — also known as the “Cairo Consensus.”

There is much to be said about Programme of Action, but there is no debate that the Cairo Consensus has been the guide-star of international development efforts geared towards population dynamics, family planning, and reproductive health for 25 years.

Bill has devoted his life to A Sustainable Planet with Equal Rights for All, and this trip brought him full circle: forty-five years ago, in 1974, acting in his capacity as the director of the Youth and Student Division of the Population Institute, he attended the first World Population Conference in Bucharest. At that conference, Bill led 60 university students and 20 faculty, each accredited with a US newspaper. Their coverage of that conference generated 200 published news stories on the conference and the population issue.

Bill also attended the original International Conference on Population Conference in 1994. At the time, he was Executive Vice President of Population Communications International (PCI), and traveled with his friend David Poindexter, who was then PCI’s President. PCI served as the secretariat for the NGO Forum in Cairo, the largest NGO forum in UN history.

Crucially, David wrote and successfully lobbied for the Programme of Action to include Section 11.23, which calls for use of soap operas and other entertainment mass media to inform people everywhere of sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is the imperative on which Bill founded Population Media Center.

PMC’s success in supporting the original Programme of Action has been remarkable — but it is also very clear that PMC’s work is now needed more than ever. Because of that, PMC made a formal commitment at the Nairobi Summit, which you can review here. Not only is was this our promise to the international community — it’s also our promise to you.

For further reading about ICPD25, please enjoy:

Nairobi Summit looks at solutions to climate change and environmental degradation for women and girls

Nairobi Statement on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise

ICPD25: Lessons from the East

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