New York

12 November 2019

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at Press Briefing at Nairobi Summit to Advance the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action [as prepared for delivery]

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here for one shared purpose: to make the vision and promise of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development a reality for all.

At this Nairobi Summit we cannot miss the opportunity to mobilize the political and financial will, needed to fully realize the ICPD agenda.

The ICPD Programme of Action is essential to the health and rights of women and girls around the world. 

And its implementation is necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals starting with its overarching objective to eradicate poverty in all its forms and to ensure a life of dignity for all on a healthy planet. 

We are now gearing up for a Decade of Action to deliver the Goals by 2030 and too often the burden of poverty rests on the shoulders of women and girls. 

The world in which we live in is characterized by a loss of trust, leadership vacuum, persisting inequalities and worsening poverty.

To end this cycle of poverty, all girls need to be able to make a safe and healthy transition from adolescence to adulthood and to realize their full potential in life. 

We should celebrate the progress we have made in the pursuit of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all which includes reducing maternal and child mortality by half and providing millions more with access to family planning services.

But let us be clear: we still have a long way to go. 

Too many women and girls have been left behind. 

Too many are still unable to enjoy their basic human rights - the right to equality, empowerment, freedom from fear and violence and making choices over their bodies.

We will not achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment until women have the power to make their own decisions about whether or when to become pregnant.

It’s time for urgent action by governments, civil society, the private sector and the United Nations to fully realize this promise denied to millions.  

Never before in such a difficult global environment have we brought together a global, multi-stakeholder community on this scale to commit to fulfilling the promises made to women and girls in 1994 at the ICPD.

Our individual and collective efforts will accelerate our promise to end violence against women and girls, bring an end to women dying giving life and help young people make responsible choices so as to realise their full potential. 

This Summit is our opportunity to keep those promises, to save lives, to positively affect hundreds of millions of people, and to realize the world we want – a world of peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity for all people on a healthy planet.

Thank you.