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25 years for women and girls’ right to decide over their own body

In 2019, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA), in Cairo, in 1994. The PoA was a milestone achievement on the global development agenda, as 179 countries decided to adopt a human rights-centered approach to sustainable development and move away from the previous focus on population control. The 179 countries also agreed that all individuals have the right to decide over their own body, life and future. The PoA broadly addresses population issues and sustainable development and synergies between them – for example gender equality, family, population growth, climate, reproductive rights and health, maternal mortality, migration, urbanization and education. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 is was cemented that gender equality, women and girls’ rights and access to education are cornerstones to sustainable development.
The ICPD PoA and the outcomes of its review conferences have the past 25 years framed women and girls’ rights globally – normatively during negotiations at the UN and the EU and programmatic at national level. Women and girls’ rights and especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are central elements in Denmark’s development cooperation strategies and humanitarian action.
The celebration of the ICPD PoA takes place throughout 2019. However, the festivities peak at a high-level meeting – the Nairobi Summit – in Nairobi, Kenya, on 12 to 14 November, which is co-hosted by the Governments of Denmark and Kenya together with the UN’s Population Fund – UNFPA.
The purpose of the Summit is to celebrate the many achievements over the past 25 years. For example, teenage births have decreased by 32%. Preventable maternal mortality has dropped by 40%. And the number of female genital mutilations has been reduced by more than one third in 24 countries. At the same time, the Summit will create renewed political and financial momentum behind those elements of the ICPD PoA, which have not been fulfilled yet. For example, every day 830 women die giving birth. Every day, 33.000 girls are married off before the age of 18. And 232 million women do not have access to modern contraception.
The Summit is an inclusive platform where youth, heads of state, ministers, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, the private sector, religious leaders, religious minorities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, LGBTI, local governments, regional political bodies, UN organizations and many other will participate. The ambition is that all participants will bring progressive and concrete actions – political or financial – that all have the same purpose: to finish the unfinished business of the ICPD PoA before 2030.
The Summit revolves around five themes: 1. SRHR and Universal Health Coverage, 2. Creating financial momentum, 3. Demographic diversity and sustainable development, 4. Gender-based violence and harmful practices, and 5. SRHR in humanitarian and fragile contexts. The five themes are supported by five crosscutting areas – “the accelerators”: 1. Women’s empowerment and gender equality, 2. Youth leadership and engagement, 3. Political and community leadership, 4. Innovation and data, and 5. Strategic partnerships and South-South cooperation.

Find much more information about the Summit at its website and learn more about the ICPD PoA here.


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