Kathmandu, July 10
The links between population, development and human rights, including reproductive rights identified by 179 countries, including Nepal, at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo 25 years ago, are still relevant, 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 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.
UN Sustainable Development Goals are closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanisation, he said, issuing a statement. While managing these population trends, we must also recognise the relationship between population, development and individual well-being, the UN chief said, adding, promoting gender equality is one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development and improved well-being of people across the globe.
“In November, a summit marking the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Conference will take place in Nairobi. I encourage member states to participate and to make firm political and financial commitments to realise the programme of action of the ICPD,” Guterres added.
Issuing a statement, Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund Natalia Kanem said women have the 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 people continue to be left behind and too many are still unable to enjoy their rights, according to UNFPA, Nepal.
“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 and do the needful for women and girls, to accomplish the unfinished business of Cairo,” she added.
A version of this article appears in print on July 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.