Exterior view of the Cairo Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.
Exterior view of the Cairo Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt, September 10, 1994.

International Conference on Population and Development
5-13 September 1994, Cairo, Egypt


A focus on individual needs

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held from 5 to 13 September 1994 under the auspices of the United Nations.

The ICPD was the largest intergovernmental conference on population and development ever held, with 179 governments participating and some 11,000 registered participants from governments, UN specialized agencies and organizations, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and the media. The outpouring of interest and participation from civil society was unprecedented.

More than 180 States participated in the conference, at which a new Programme of Action was adopted as a guide for national and international action in the area of population and development for the next 20 years. This new Programme of Action placed emphasis on the indissoluble relationship between population and development and focused on meeting the needs of individuals within the framework of universally recognized human rights standards instead of merely meeting demographic goals. The adoption of this Programme marks a new phase of commitment and determination to effectively integrate population issues into socio-economic development proposals and to achieve a better quality of life for all individuals, including those of future generations.

The UN Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in consultation with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) convened six meetings of population expert groups prior to the Conference on: population, environment and development (New York, 20-24 January 1992); population policies and programmes (Cairo, 12-16 April 1992); population and women (Gaborone, 22-26 June 1992); family planning, health and family well-being (Bangalore, 26-29 October 1992); population growth and demographic structure (Paris, 16-20 November 1992); population distribution and migration (Santa Cruz, 18-23 January 1993).

The Programme of Action is based on the World Population Plan of Action adopted at the World Population Conference in Bucharest in 1974 and on the recommendations adopted at the International Conference on Population in Mexico City in 1984. It also builds on the results of the World Summit for Children (1990), the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992) and the World Conference on Human Rights (1993).