ICPD at the global level
World leaders seek ways for ongoing development
The Millennium Declaration was adopted by 189 world leaders at the Millennium Summit in New York in 2000. It set eight interconnected goals - the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) - as a framework for achieving lasting, sustainable development.
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994.
Some six years earlier, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, 179 countries agreed that population and development are inextricably linked. Individual advancement and balanced development require women to be empowered and people's needs for education and health to be met, including reproductive health.
This includes goals with regards to
- education, especially for girls
- reducing levels of infant, child and maternal mortality
- issues relating to population, the environment and consumption patterns
- the family
- internal and international migration
- prevention and control of HIV/AIDS
- technology, research and development.
Parallels between the ICPD and MDGs
Many of the goals contained in the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA)(see Summary of ICPD Programme of Action) and the ICPD+5 Key Actions parallel those of the MDGs. Both the ICPD PoA and MDGs set targets for promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
The ICPD PoA is aligned with the MDGs’ focus on ensuring environmental sustainability by recognising the linkages between the environment and internal and international migration, population growth rates and resource consumption.
Achieving universal access to quality reproductive health
The Cairo goal of universal access to quality reproductive health services by 2015 is not one of the MDGs but it is fundamental to reducing poverty, child and maternal mortality, the spread of HIV/AIDS, gender equality and environmental degradation.
Improving maternal health
Indeed, MDG 5 (Improve Maternal Health) is at the heart of all the MDGs. No woman should die giving life. We can achieve MDG 5 to improve maternal health by investing in proven interventions. It is therefore critical that efforts are redoubled to ensure that reproductive health and other ICPD goals remain high on the list of development priorities.
Because the dates for achievement of the ICPD and MDG interconnected sets of goals and related targets are fast approaching, considerable work has been done in analysing what has worked, and to galvanise support and a redoubling of efforts.
Celebrating Achievements of the Cairo Consensus and Highlighting the Urgency for Action
- Millennium Development Goals report
The International Conference on Population and Development at Fifteen (ICPD+15) in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in 2009.
ICPD and MDGs in Africa
A ministerial meeting held in Addis Ababa in October 2009 to review ICPD 15 years later (ICPD+15), adopted the Recommendations and Way Forward ICPD at 15 Africa Meeting (see ICPD+15 Report).
Those present also adopted the Ministerial Commitment document of the Fifteen Year Review of the Implementation of the ICPD PoA (Programme of Action) in Africa: ICPD at 15 (1994-2009).
The report is evidence of the tremendous work done thus far by the African Union, UN agencies and Member States to formulate policies, develop appropriate legal frameworks and adopt relevant international instruments to achieve the objectives of ICPD-PoA and the MDGs.
They reaffirmed their support for the ICPD goals and pledged the following:
- to increase budget allocations to at least 10 per cent of national budgets and development assistance budgets for population assistance, and ensure the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance is met;
- to review all laws and practices that restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services;
- to strengthen parliamentary capacity for oversight and budget analysis, particularly gender budgeting, to increase accountability and achieve the ICPD goals and MDG 5.
The effect on African countries
Many countries have set up new institutions, strengthened existing ones and designed national and sectoral programmes and plans to address the various dimensions of population. However, several countries are yet to give explicit consideration to population planning and design a specific action plan or programme to address policy implementation.
Greater commitment and effort needed
Whether Africa will achieve the MDGs and ICPD goals is debatable. There is a wide gap in most African countries between population-related policies and actual implementation, the review shows. Just a few years off from the end of the ICPD and MDG programme cycles (2014 and 2015 respectively), the prospect of achieving the ICPD objectives and MDG targets points to the need for greater commitment and effort.
While the conditions for each country vary, the review suggests that each state needs to renew its focus on the following population and development issues:
- Health and reproductive health, including maternal mortality, family planning and HIV/AIDS
- Gender and development
- Youth (education, skills development and productive employment)
- Resources (human and institutional capacity, and finance, with an emphasis on domestic resource mobilization).
African ministers have emphasized their commitment to implement all of the international and continental agreements and initiatives. They have also committed themselves to renewed and intensified efforts to mobilize the resources needed, improve national-level strategies and enhance institutional and human resources. This is needed to accelerate the achievement of the goals of the ICPD-PoA and the MDGs between now and 2014.