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Cairo International Conference on Population and Development

The United Nations coordinated an International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt from 5-13 September 1994. Its resulting Programme of Action is the steering document for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Some 20,000 delegates from various governments, UN agencies, NGOs, and the media gathered for a discussion of a variety of population issues, including immigration, infant mortality, access to abortion and birth control, family planning, and the education of women. More broadly, many delegates were interested in population and its relationship to sustainable development, overpopulation, environmentalism, and social inequality.

According to the official ICPD release, the conference delegates achieved consensus on the following four qualitative and quantitative goals:

  1. Universal education: Universal primary education in all countries by 2015. Urge countries to provide wider access to women for secondary and higher level education as well as vocational and technical training.
  2. Reduction of infant and child mortality: Countries should strive to reduce infant and under-5 child mortality rates by one-third or to 50-70 deaths per 1000 by the year 2000. By 2015 all countries should aim to achieve a rate below 35 per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality rate below 45 per 1,000.
  3. Reduction of maternal mortality: A reduction by the 1990 levels by 2000 and of that by 2015. Disparities in maternal mortality within countries and between geographical regions, socio-economic and ethnic groups should be narrowed.
  4. Access to reproductive and sexual health services including family planning: Family-planning counseling, pre-natal care, safe delivery and post-natal care, prevention and appropriate treatment of infertility, prevention of abortion and the management of the consequences of abortion, treatment of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive health conditions; and education, counseling, as appropriate, on human sexuality, reproductive health and responsible parenthood. Services regarding HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, infertility, delivery and abortion should be made available. Active discouragement of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The conference received considerable media attention due to disputes regarding the assertion of reproductive rights. The Vatican and several predominantly Islamic nations were vocal. Bill Clinton, President of the United States, received considerable criticism from conservatives for his participation.

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Last updated: 05-19-2005 01:08:18