Europe, Central Asia & North America

 Linking population, development and human rights


The  UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994 was a turning point in the way we approach population issues. It firmly placed the needs and rights of the individual at the heart of development policies and programmes and envisioned a world where all people – women and men, young and old – enjoy equal opportunities and freedoms to make choices and pursue their own life aspirations.

The Programme of Action adopted by the ICPD established a firm link between population, development and human rights, health and gender equality and set an agenda that would:

  • „  respond to population dynamics within a human rights framework;
  • „  advance gender equality and empowerment of women;
  • „  promote sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health;
  • „  increase access to education, especially for girls;
  • „  address issues of urbanization, migration and environment;
  • „  ensure that everyone experiences the benefit of sustainable economic development; and
  • „  promote participation of civil society.

ICPD Beyond 2014:  Shaping a future based on rights, dignity and health

As the 20-year deadline for achieving the ICPD goals approaches, a global review of the state of population and development is underway. The review will assess achievements made since Cairo and identify outstanding issues and new challenges. It will serve to renew political support for the Programme of Action, which has been extended beyond 2014 by the UN General Assembly, and will inform the post-2015 development agenda.

The conference 

The regional conference Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century, to be held in Geneva on 1-2 July 2013 and organized by UNFPA and UNECE, will be the culmination of the ICPD review in the UNECE region comprising Europe, Central Asia and North America. Based on the outcomes of the regional review, which will be launched at the conference, over 200 high-level experts from governments, civil society and academia, as well as members of parliaments and youth representatives will discuss strategies for action beyond 2014. They will assess the progress made towards achieving the Cairo goals, identify neglected areas and discuss what needs to be done to accelerate implementation and reduce inequalities. Tarja Halonen, the former President of Finland, will be among the high-level speakers adressing the conference.

Click here to access conference documentation, including the conference outcome document.

The agenda

Three thematic sessions address

 •population dynamics and sustainable development;

 •families and sexual and reproductive health over the life course;

 •and inequalities, social inclusion and rights.



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