UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-04: Cairo Declaration on Population & Development, ICPPD


The electronic preparation of this document has been done by the

Population Information Network(POPIN) of the United Nations Population

Division in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme




1.      We the Parliamentarians meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on 3-4 September

1994, at the International Conference of Parliamentarians on Population

and Development, to discuss the issues of population and development on

the eve of the International Conference on Population and Development

(ICPD), issue the following declaration:

2.      We welcome the Cairo Conference as a manifestation of the variety

of human cultures and  traditions. Despite differences in beliefs and

customs, we are of the view that leaders and peoples  of the world

should help bring about universal harmony and cooperation.

Parliamentarians have a  major role to play in this regard.

3.      We therefore attach great importance to a successful outcome of

the International Conference on  Population and Development, which comes

at a pivotal time in the development of partnerships for  global

strategies identified in the series of United Nations conferences on

environment, human  rights, social development, and the role of women.

We support the strategy of fully integrating  population issues into all

development planning policies and programmes. We therefore call on

representatives to the ICPD to reach a consensus on the Programme of

Action of the ICPD.

 Population and Sustainable Development

4.      Parliamentarians the world over have long recognized the delicate

balance between population  and natural resources. We believe that the

population issue should be seen not in isolation, but  within the larger

context of sustainable development of the  planet for the betterment of

humankind: economic activity that increases the quality of life for all

people through curbing excessive consumption and generating productive

growth; alleviating  poverty; achieving sustainable agricultural and

industrial production, energy and natural resources in  harmony with the

environment; and improving health care and the quality of, and access

to,  education. Actions we take now to overcome the population and

development problems of today will  decide the future course of

humankind. Resolution of such problems is essential to assuring dignity

of all human beings. In addition, formulation of   new and wide-ranging

economic policies supportive of sustainable development, and initiation

of  international agreements based on such policies and approaches are


Reproductive Health and Family Planning.

5.      We welcome the approach that places family planning in the

broader framework of reproductive  health care. We urge all national

governments to make responsible efforts to resolve their  population

issues in a way that respects their own national and cultural identity,

values and  tradition. We therefore commit ourselves, as elected

representatives of the people, to do our utmost  to remove all remaining

barriers in our countries that inhibit access to family planning

services,  information and education, as well as to help support the

provision of reproductive health and family  planning services as widely

as possible. We further urge Governments to ensure that all population

and development policies and programmes in our countries safeguard

internationally recognized  human rights.

 6.      We acknowledge the fact that abortions constitute a major public

health concern for women all  over the world. Since the use of family

planning methods may prevent the prevalence of unplanned  pregnancies,

we call upon all national Governments to reduce the need for abortion by

providing  universal access to family planning information and services.

 Gender Equality and Empowerment of women

7.      The empowerment of women and the improvement of their political

social, economic and health  status are highly important ends in

themselves. We further believe that human development cannot  be

sustained unless women are guaranteed equal rights and equal status with

men. In this process  women should be seen not merely as the

beneficiaries of change but as the agents of change as  well. This

entails an enhancement of their own gender awareness. We believe that

education is the  single most important element on the road to equality

and empowerment of women. Education  should also aim at eliminating

negative gender stereotypes in order to improve the status of women,

with a view to achieve cooperation and partnership between men and

women. We therefore strongly  support the education goals set forth in

the ICPD Programme of Action as adopted in Cairo, and  commit ourselves

to removing all legal, social and cultural barriers in our countries

that discriminate against women and prevent their full participation

in society, including in public and political life. We  call upon

legislators all over the world to join us in our efforts to empower

women as a matter of national priority, and we call upon Governments

to enforce legislation in this respect.

 Health and Mortality

8. Despite some improvements in human life expectancy, preventable and

treatable illnesses are  still the leading killers of young children and

women. There remains at least half a million women  dying annually from

the complications of pregnancy and childbirth and 99.5% of these

maternal  deaths occur in developing countries. Large numbers of people

remain at risk from infectious,  parasitic and respiratory diseases.

HIV/AIDS is the cause of a high incidence of deaths. Therefore  the

targeting of financial resources, particularly from donor countries, to

these vulnerable groups is  urgently needed to focus on reducing child

and maternal mortality rates.  9. We therefore support the right of all

people to have access to primary health care by the end of  the current

decade and pledge to work to reduce the disparities in health conditions

and mortality  risks between and within countries as detailed in the

goals contained in the Programme of Action.

 Resource Mobilization

 10.      The quality and success of population and development programmes

depend, to a considerable  extent, on how strategically a country

allocates its resources among various sectors. This in turn  depends on

the social, political, economic and cultural realities of the country

and its population  policy and programme priorities. We accept the

responsibility as elected representatives of the  people to translate

public support for population and development activities into the most

beneficial  distribution of budgetary, human and administrative

resources. We take note of the strong  international consensus on the

need to mobilize significant domestic and external financial  resources

and endorse the estimated resource requirements set forth in the draft

Programme of  Action. Additional resources to population and development

programmes should be made available  by shifting resources, especially

from defense expenditures.

11.      We therefore pledge to work to enact legislation to increase

domestic funding for population and  development programmes, as

appropriate, and call upon the international community to provide the

resources required to implement activities to reach the goals and

objectives of the Programme of  Action. At the same time, efficient use

of existing resources is also important and should be  pursued through

such measures as decentralization, peoples' participation, a focus on

target  groups and an increase of national capacities.   Call to Action

12.      Given our role in the civil society as representatives of people,

we parliamentarians are uniquely  placed to implement the ICPD Programme

of Action, as adopted at Cairo, at the national and  subnational level

and to introduce a new concern for the planet and for humankind for the

pursuit of  national policies of our governments. We call on

parliamentarians everywhere to:

     - enact legislation to enable Governments to formulate and

implement national population policies  and programmes specifically~

improvement of the legal, social, economic and cultural status of


     - appeal to Governments which have not done so to sign the

Convention on the Elimination of  Discrimination against Women to have

their parliaments ratify the convention and to monitor its


     - establish mechanisms for parliamentarians to monitor and

evaluate such policies and programmes  on population;

     - approve budgetary provisions to increase financial resources

allocated to the implementation of  population policies and programmes,

and to enact legislation in support of such provisions;

     - generate public support among constituents for the mobilization

and allocation of domestic  resources to support national population and

development policies and programmes;

     - create greater awareness among policy makers and the general

public about population and  development issues, within the global

context of sustainable development;

     - promote the active participation of local governments,

community groups and non-governmental organizations, especially women's

groups, in  implementing the Programme of Action as adopted at the Cairo


     - establish and/or strengthen, at subnational, national, regional

and global levels, parliamentary  committees on population and


     - promote and expand cooperation among parliamentarians around the

globe in the field of  population and sustainable development.

From Commitment to Action

13.      We hereby pledge to translate our personal commitment into

political action as set forth in this  Declaration, both in our national

legislatures and elsewhere, as appropriate, and to encourage  others to

join us in meeting this urgent challenge.

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