Celebrate ‘the Glass Some Full’ on 30-Year Mark of Cairo Programme, Deputy Secretary-General Urges Population and Development Commission

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the opening of the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Population and Development:

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Programme of Action for the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994.

As we take stock of progress and lessons learned, we must also seize the opportunity to accelerate action on the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], as well as look ahead to set priorities for the next 30 years.

In 1994, the world’s population stood at 5.6 billion.  It is now over 8.1 billion, and it keeps growing.

We must prepare for continued population growth in sub-Saharan Africa — and slow growth or decline in much of Asia, Europe and Northern America, and later, in Latin America and the Caribbean.

We have achieved great progress in 30 years, and we must celebrate the glass that is some full.

Fewer women die in pregnancy and childbirth.  Child mortality risks have fallen — across developed and developing countries.  We have expanded access to reproductive health-care services, including modern contraceptives, and rates of adolescent pregnancy have declined.

However, progress has been masked by those that have been left behind.

Many countries still fall short of life expectancy targets, and many developing countries face significant challenges in reaching the SDG target for child mortality.

Around the world, 164 million women of reproductive age — 8 per cent — have no access to family planning services.

While all countries are on the path towards longer lives and smaller families, some continue to face the challenges of rapid population growth.

Others are grappling with the consequences of population ageing, sometimes population decline.  And we see our health systems struggling.

We must fully recognize the megatrends that are reshaping our world — climate change, demographic shifts, urbanization, digital technologies and inequalities — as well as their critical connections to the Sustainable Development Goals.

We must remain vigilant and continue to address situations where sexual and reproductive health and rights are being rolled back.

We must respond and push back when women’s rights are being eroded, and when migrants and other vulnerable populations are mistreated.

We must continue to uphold the dignity of all people, ensuring that no one is left behind.

And we must support rights-based approaches in our population and development policies.

Major population trends for the coming decades are clear:  continuing gradual reductions in fertility and mortality, the progressive ageing of populations, and their ongoing concentration in urban centres both large and small.

Population ageing requires a life course approach to health and to education.

This means focusing on preventive care and lifelong learning to enable everyone remain active and integrated in their communities.

The inevitable rise in demand for long-term care calls for new policies and public funding that ensure decent conditions for care providers — most of whom are women.

Ensuring universal access to reproductive and health-care services and the unimpeded exercise of reproductive rights will help meet the needs for family planning.

At the same time, we must anticipate and provide for a growing need of assisted reproductive technologies, for the increasing numbers of young women and men who are having fewer children than they desire.

As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 2025, we must accelerate progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women in all spheres of life.

We cannot achieve our common goals if we leave half of humanity behind.

Looking ahead to the Summit of the Future, we must prioritize the needs of future generations.

This means pursuing a green and sustainable development pathway so that they inherit a liveable planet.

In a mobile and interdependent world, the international community must cooperate at all levels to facilitate an inclusive and rights-based approach.

Youth, women, civil society, local communities, and small and medium-size enterprises must be part of the process.

The Local 2030 platform supports the delivery of the SDGs on the ground and can help bring the transformative change that is needed.

A strong Political Declaration by this Commission would galvanize action towards the full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Together, we can contribute to safeguarding rights, agency, accelerate the SDG progress and support a sustainable future for people and planet.

This keeping the promise of the 2030 Agenda and leaving no one behind.

And let me add my voice to the tragedies that we see in Sudan, in Gaza, where the suffering of women and children should no longer be tolerated.  We need to find our moral compass and come back to the rights of all women, and young women and children in these tragic times.


For information media. Not an official record.