DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania—“Now is the time to secure the rights, choices and dignity of all, leaving no one behind,” said Jaqueline Mahon, UNFPA Representative in Tanzania, in a call for the movement to deliver on the promise of Cairo to be re-energized.
She was speaking at a special event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) on 25 June. UNFPA Tanzania called on government, development partners and youth to make tangible commitments to realize the vision of the ICPD for those who have not yet benefited from the promise of Cairo.
The gathering of government officials, development partners, United Nations agencies in Tanzania, civil society and young people also highlighted UNFPA’s Roadmap to Nairobi, in the lead up to the global celebrations at the Nairobi Summit in Kenya in November.
At the ICPD in Cairo in 1994, 179 governments called for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, and safe pregnancy and childbirth services.
Unplanned pregnancies and maternal deaths in dramatic decline
The efforts of the reproductive rights movement have led to a dramatic reduction in the number of unplanned pregnancies and maternal deaths, and have cleared the way for healthier, more productive lives for untold millions.
In Tanzania, the number of married women choosing to exercise their right to use a modern method of contraceptives has increased steadily from 13 per cent to 32 per cent over the past decade. Today, 63 per cent of women give birth at a health facility and 64 per cent of women are assisted by a skilled attendant at birth.
But there is still a long way to go to finish the business of the global reproductive rights movement. As relevant as the ICPD principles are today, they must respond to global change – the rights of young people and adolescents, advances in reproductive technology, and demographic shifts such as ageing societies.
* To rejuvenate political will and financial commitments to finally and fully implement the ICPD Programme of Action, the Governments of Kenya and Denmark, together with UNFPA, are to convene a high-level event in Nairobi on 12-14 November. The summit will focus on concrete actions to meet the ‘three zeros’ - ending unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal deaths, and ending sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices.
- Esther Bayliss