At Launch of Global Report, Secretary-General Stresses Need for Common Policy Responses to ‘Yearnings of People Everywhere for a Better Life’

12 February 2014

At Launch of Global Report, Secretary-General Stresses Need for Common Policy Responses to ‘Yearnings of People Everywhere for a Better Life’

12 February 2014
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

At Launch of Global Report, Secretary-General Stresses Need for Common


Policy Responses to ‘Yearnings of People Everywhere for a Better Life’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the press conference to launch the International Conference on Population and Development Global Review Report, in New York, 12 February:

I am pleased to be here with you today.  Twenty years ago, in 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development established a milestone by putting people’s rights and dignity at the heart of development.

It affirmed sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental human right.  And it emphasized that empowering women and girls is key to ensuring the well-being of individuals, families, nations and our world.

The past two decades have seen considerable advances in equality and empowerment for women, global health and life expectancy, and education for girls.  Much has been accomplished through the framework of the Millennium Development Goals.  But much remains to be done.

As we look ahead to the 2015 MDG [Millennium Development Goals] deadline, we have two priorities: first, to intensify efforts to achieve these life-saving Goals; second, to define an ambitious, compelling and feasible post-2015 development agenda.  Our objective is to deliver equal rights and opportunity to all, to eradicate extreme poverty and to set the world on a sustainable development path.

The report we launch today represents a significant contribution to discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.  It points to major achievements over the past 20 years.  Nearly 1 billion people have escaped extreme poverty.  Child and maternal mortality have been cut by nearly one half.  There are more laws to protect and uphold human rights.  But enormous inequalities remain in the realization of those rights and access to vital services.

The report also highlights new challenges and opportunities related to population growth, changing age structures, rapid urbanization and migration.  This changing demographic map must be overlaid onto new environmental realities, including the urgent threat of climate change.  It must also be linked to broader development aims of water and food security, decent jobs and sustainable energy for all.

Understanding these factors and how they interact is essential to planning for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.  That is why I have established a Scientific Advisory Board comprising a multitude of disciplines.  And it is why this report on the implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development is so important.

I hope Member States will use the wealth of information in this report in their deliberations on the way forward beyond 2015.  I count on the international community to build on the success of the Cairo Conference by giving priority to reproductive health and reproductive rights.

I thank UNFPA [United Nations Population Fund] and its ICPD [International Conference on Population and Development] beyond 2014 secretariat for their support to the review process and the production of the report.  I also thank the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and other partners within the UN system for their important contributions to the ICPD review.  And I commend Member States for contributing to the global survey and using the regional and thematic conferences to review progress.

We need to establish common policy responses to the yearnings of people everywhere for a better life.  As we work together to chart the path beyond 2015, let us reaffirm the core message of the ICPD and recommit ourselves to the vision of Cairo.

A sustainable future, where all people can fulfil their potential, requires that we promote population health, cultivate human capacities and commit to individual dignity and human rights everywhere.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.