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While nearly 1 billion people have escaped extreme poverty in the past 20 years and child and maternal mortality have been cut by almost one half, much more work remains to be done to address inequalities and ensure the rights and dignity of all, especially women and children, top United Nations officials stressed today.

“Our objective is to deliver equal rights and opportunity to all, to eradicate extreme poverty and to set the world on a sustainable development path,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a news conference at UN Headquarters to launch the International Conference on Population and Development Global Review Report.

The International Conference on Population and Development (IPCD), held in Cairo in 1994, was a milestone in the history of population and development, as well as in the history of women’s rights.

A total of 179 Governments signed up to the ICPD Programme of Action, which set out to provide universal access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights, and deliver gender equality, empowerment of women and equal access to education for girls.

The Programme of Action also sought to address the individual, social and economic impact of urbanization and migration, as well as support sustainable development and address environmental issues associated with population changes.

“It affirmed sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental human right,” Mr. Ban said of the Conference. “And it emphasized that empowering women and girls is key to ensuring the well-being of individuals, families, nations and our world.”

He noted that the past two decades have seen “considerable” advances in equality and empowerment for women, global health and life expectancy, and education for girls, adding that much has been accomplished through the framework of the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

SOURCE: United Nations