Secretary General Kurt Waldheim holds a press conference in the VIP room at Otopeni airport in Romania.
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim holds a press conference in the VIP room at Otopeni airport in Romania. Next to him, William C. Powell (left), Director of Press and Publications, OPI, and right, Gerald Gregoire, Head of Radio and Visual Services, UNIS, Geneva. Aug 18, 1974

World Population Conference, August 19-30 1974, Bucharest, Romania


Focusing on population issues and development

The Third World Population Conference was held in Bucharest, Romania, from 19 to 30 August 1974. The Conference was attended by representatives of 135 countries. The debate focused on the relationship between population issues and development. The Conference adopted the World Population Plan of Action, which stated, among other principles, that the essential aim is the social, economic and cultural development of countries, that population variables and development are interdependent and that population policies and objectives are an integral part (constituent elements) of socio-economic development policies.

World Population Plan of Action recommended that all countries:

  • Respect and ensure, regardless of their over-all demographic goals, the right of persons to determine, in a free, informed and responsible manner, the number and spacing of their children;

  • Encourage appropriate education concerning responsible parenthood and make available to persons who so desire advice and the means of achieving it;

  • Ensure that family planning, medical and related social services aim not only at the prevention of unwanted pregnancies but also at the elimination of involuntary sterility and sub fecundity in order that all couples may be permitted to achieve their desired number of children, and that child adoption may be facilitated;

  • Seek to ensure the continued possibility of variations in family size when a low fertility level has been established or is a policy objective;

  • Make use, wherever needed and appropriate, of adequately trained professional and auxiliary health personnel, rural extension, home economics and social workers, and non-governmental channels, to help provide family planning services and to advise users of contraceptives;

  • Increase their health manpower and health facilities to an effective level, redistribute functions among the different levels of professionals and auxiliaries in order to overcome the shortage of qualified personnel and establish an effective system of supervision in their health and family planning services;

  • Ensure that information about, and education in, family planning and other matters which affect fertility are based on valid and proven scientific knowledge, and include a full account of any risk that may be involved in the use or non-use of contraceptives.