Editorial, Opinion Piece Call For Expansion Of, Strong Commitment To Agenda At Nairobi Summit On ICPD25

The Lancet: ICPD at 25 years: time to expand the agenda
Editorial Board

“…The global consensus that emerged in [1994 in] Cairo — manifested in the [International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)] Programme of Action adopted by 179 countries — shifted the focus of the development agenda away from demographics towards sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing, individual rights, and gender equality. 25 years on, the community will reconvene in Nairobi, Kenya, on Nov. 12-14, to review progress and accelerate the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. Although there will be much to celebrate at Nairobi, progress since 1994 has been uneven and the Programme of Action remains unfulfilled. … The U.N. Population Fund has thus placed the elimination of preventable maternal mortality, unmet need for family planning, and violence and harmful practices against women and girls at the forefront of the summit’s agenda. Imperiling the achievement of these and other goals is a growing backlash against sexual and reproductive rights and gender equality. … As this issue of The Lancet goes to press, however, there seems little indication that the summit will produce a high-level declaration, probably a reflection of the troubling political climate. Nonetheless, when participants meet in Nairobi later this month they will be faced with an important choice: seek to limit controversy and confine ambitions to the agenda set out in Cairo 25 years ago, or press forward with a renewed and expanded plan fit for purpose for the next quarter of a century?…” (11/9).

IPS: The Nairobi Summit Is about the Future of Humanity and Human Prosperity
Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator to Kenya

“…It wasn’t until a mere 25 years ago at the ICPD in Cairo that the world agreed that population and economic development issues must go hand in hand, and that women must be at the heart of our efforts for development. … At the Conference in Nairobi, we all have an opportunity to repeat the message that women’s empowerment will move at snail-pace unless we bolster reproductive health and rights across the world. This is no longer a fleeting concern, but a 21st century socio-economic reality. We can choose to take a range of actions, such as empowering women and girls by providing access to good health, education, and job training. Or we can choose paths such as domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, and child marriages, which, according to a 2016 Africa Human Development Report by UNDP, costs sub-Saharan Africa $95 billion per year on average due to gender inequality and lack of women’s empowerment. Fortunately, the world has made real progress in the fight to take the right path. … [A]ll governments [should] work towards giving half the world population the final and absolute control over their own bodies” (11/8).