From Cairo to Beijing: 25 years of the International Conference on Population and Development


UN Women sister organization UNFPA is celebrating this week the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) – a milestone in global reproductive health and rights. From 12-14 November, the governments of Kenya and Denmark along with UNFPA are co-convening the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, a high-level conference to mobilize the political will and financial commitments urgently needed to fully implement the ICPD Programme of Action.

The International Conference on Population and Development took place in 1994 in Cairo where 179 governments adopted a revolutionary Programme of Action and called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take centre stage in national and global development efforts.

Specifically, the Programme of Action called for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, safe pregnancy and childbirth services, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

UN Women is participating in the Nairobi Summit to commemorate this milestone in the history of gender equality and women´s rights, as well as to strongly advocate for next year´s Beijing + 25 review and appraisal to take full advantage of, and align with, the ICPD Conference.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, travelled to Kenya to participate in the official Summit and in several events that UN Women is organizing in the sidelines. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka is one of the keynote speakers, along with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, of the signature session Accelerating Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls, which will discuss why, despite rhetoric at all levels, violence against women continues in every country, and at increased levels in many. It will question why services and support remain inadequate; access to justice is scant, and security for women and girls continues to be elusive. The session will launch a call to action to ensure that now is the time to make real change for women and girls.

The Executive Director will also be part of the event On the road to gender equality: Connecting ICPD+25 and Beijing+25, an intergenerational dialogue where young leaders will join long-time activists such as Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director United Nations Population Fund, to discuss how the ICPD Programme of Action and the Beijing Platform for Action interlock. The recommendations will feed into CSW64 and the Beijing +25 process, as well as reinvigorate implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Kenyan activists from all ages will participate in the UN Women event Connecting ICPD25 and Beijing+25: Creating the Generation Equality Moment, a moderated panel discussion that aims to provide a platform to highlight Beijing+25 and Generation Equality on the sidelines of the Conference. The session brings to the forefront youth’s agenda, amplifying the experiences and aspirations of young Kenyan women and men on gender equality 25 years after Beijing.