Population Matters

UN conference on population ends

UN conference on population ends

The UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) concluded its 47th session, at which keynote speakers addressed: dignity and human rights; population and sustainable development; and the ‘unfinished agenda’ of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 process.

The CPD met from 7-11 April 2014, in New York, US, on the theme of ‘Assessment of the Status of Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD.’ The meeting also prepared for a special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 22 September 2014, which marks the 20th anniversary of the ICPD’s adoption in Cairo, Egypt.

Opening remarks on behalf of UNGA President John Ashe stressed the need to ensure that the Cairo consensus and subsequent progress are fully integrated into the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

David Lam, University of Michigan, presented on the implications of a projected 1.1 billion rise in world population between 2015 and 2030, and highlighted the demography of children and youth, working-age populations, and regional variations. He said youth numbers are stabilizing globally, except in sub-Saharan Africa, while the proportion of elderly is rising worldwide.

A high-level interactive debate on 5 April reinforced the importance of post-2015 commitments. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), highlighted gains in the reduction of maternal mortality and increases in girls’ education. Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, called for the next ICPD Programme of Action to reflect the diversity of global demographics, and he underscored the relationship between human rights, dignity and the environment.

In a pre-conference interview, John Wilmoth, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the ‘unfinished agenda’ of Cairo includes the need to continue improving life expectancy, reduce fertility, enhance access to education, and achieve gender equality.

After all-night negotiations at the close of the conference, the CPD adopted a consensus resolution calling for increased political will to address gaps in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action, especially in the areas of human rights, gender equality and equitable access to health care, including for sexual and reproductive health. The resolution emphasizes links between ICPD priorities and sustainable development, as well as the need to eradicate poverty, promote inclusive growth, address the needs of children, and ensure the social integration of older persons.


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