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Past Conferences, Meetings and Events   >  International Conference on Population and Development

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

The International Conference on Population and Development meeting in Cairo in 1994.   UN Photo

The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo was a milestone in the history of population and development, as well as in the history of women's rights. The world agreed at the conference that population is not just about counting people, but about making sure every person counts.

Delegates to the Conference reached a consensus that the equality and empowerment of women is a global priority. It approached this not only from the perspective of universal human rights, but also as an essential step towards eradicating poverty and stabilizing population growth.

The Conference resulted in a Programme of Action, adopted by acclamation on 13 September 1994, which endorsed a new strategy emphasizing the integral linkages between population and development and focusing on meeting the needs of individual women and men, rather than on achieving demographic targets.

The key to this new approach was empowering women, and providing them with more choices through expanded access to education and health services, skill development and employment, and through their full involvement in policy- and decision-making processes at all levels.

Indeed, one of the greatest achievements of the Conference was the recognition of the need to empower women, both as a highly important end in itself and as a key to improving the quality of life for everyone.

One of the primary goals of the Programme of Action was to make family planning universally available by 2015 as part of a broadened approach to reproductive health and rights.

It also included goals in regard to education, especially for girls, as well as goals to further reduce levels of infant, child and maternal mortality. It addressed issues relating to population, the environment and consumption patterns; the family; internal and international migration; prevention and control of HIV/AIDS; technology, research and development; and partnership with the non-governmental sector. The Programme of Action provided estimates of the levels of national resources and international assistance required and called on governments to make those resources available.

Key Documents:

Report of the International Conference on Population and Development


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Organization of the special session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, to be held 22 September 2014 in New York