Nairobi Summit to agree on ICPD Programme of Action

BY: Rosemary Ardayfio
Dr Natalia Karen. UNPFA Executive Director
Dr Natalia Karen. UNPFA Executive Director

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ground breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which took place in Cairo in 1994.

During the conference, leaders articulated a bold vision regarding the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. Its Programme of Action, adopted by 179 governments, recognised that reproductive health, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are the pathways to sustainable development.

The Government of the Republic of Kenya, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the support of the government of Denmark will, in November, this year jointly convene a high-level conference to advance the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Titled, the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the promise’, the conference will offer an inclusive platform, bringing together governments, UN agencies, civil society, private sector organisations, women’s groups and youth networks to discuss and agree on actions to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, which is critical to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Side event
At a side event at the Women Deliver Conference being held in Vancover, the conveners of the Nairobi Summit indicated that ICPD was “unfinished business and we will not reach the ICPD goals if we do not finish the Cairo agenda.”

The UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Natalia Kanem said “The Nairobi Summit will help us rally a broad coalition of stakeholders to protect the gains made and advance the ICPD agenda to ensure that no one is left behind.”

“As we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in advancing the health and rights of women, we must redouble our efforts to reach those who have not yet benefited from the promise of the ICPD.”

Since the ICPD held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994, there has been opportunities to give the youth a voice and also to ignite professionals and women associations, she noted.

“We have also worked with midwives and CSOs in various ways. Many countries are doing well but we still have unfinished business. There is inequality everywhere,” said Dr. Kanem.

She cited for instance that, girls education as key to unlocking their potential, and also for them to be provided with information that would empower them to protect their lives.

Young people should also be equipped with the capacity to hold governments accountable, she added.

What has worked
The Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, said the Nairobi Summit will take stock of areas that have worked and those that should be improved upon.

The ICPD, she reiterated, is the cornerstone of global reproductive health and rights, adding that “We will not reach the ICPD goals if we do not finish the ICPD agenda.”

The Crown Princess Mary emphasised that the ICPD is about human rights of women and girls, who should be empowered to be able to make choices themselves.

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Services, Youth and Gender, Prof. Margaret Kobia said “Kenya is committed to the full implementation of the principles and goals of the ICPD Programme of Action. We look forward to working with UNFPA, UN Member States and other partners on this important event that will celebrate the significant achievements of the ICPD Agenda and further promote the global development agenda.”

She said the leaders who will convene in Nairobi will reaffirm that sustainable development and the full realization of human rights depend on making sure they have it, no matter their circumstances.