A word from the UNFPA Executive Director
I am very pleased to welcome you all to the 7th International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD).
This conference comes at a landmark moment for the population and development community, as we prepare for the 25th anniversary of the ICPD and the 50th anniversary of UNFPA next year. As we approach these milestones, how satisfied can we be with our progress? Have we done justice to our founding principles and to the vision that world leaders articulated nearly 25 years ago in Cairo?
The world has made great progress in recent decades, as impressive declines in maternal death and child marriage rates attest. Yet, our women and young people deserve far more.
Parliamentarians around the world have been instrumental in our recent successes, both in pushing for ambitious goals to be achieved by their governments in the future, and by holding them accountable for promises they made in the past. You have the power to transform the voices of your people into concrete action by enacting laws that promote and protect their rights and by mobilizing funds and creating enabling environments to meet people’s needs. I am proud of the longstanding commitment of UNFPA to working with parliamentarians who share our vision. We all benefit from the strength this conference proves we have in numbers.
With you on our side, I am sure UNFPA will be able to achieve its three ambitious, transformative results:
ending unmet need for family planning;
ending preventable maternal deaths; and
ending gender-based violence and all harmful practices against women and girls.
Underpinning these aims is a commitment to ending invisibility through high-quality population data to ensure that no one is left behind. These three results are key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5 by 2030. Moreover, ensuring reproductive rights and choices for all is integral to meeting all the Sustainable Development Goals.
I hope we can continue to strengthen the global parliamentary movement for the ICPD and lead our parliaments, governments and countries forward in our mission.
I wish you a fruitful gathering and look forward to learning from and with you.
Dr. Natalia Kanem
United Nations Population Fund