UN Population and Development

UN Population and DevelopmentThe United Nations states: “The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held in Cairo, Egypt, from 5 to 13 September 1994. Delegations from 179 States took part in negotiations to finalize a Programme of Action on population and development for the next 20 years… The ICPD draft Programme of Action builds upon the World Population Plan of Action adopted at the 1974 World Population Conference in Bucharest, and the 88 recommendations for its further implementation approved at the International Conference on Population in Mexico City in 1984.” View Link…

The United Nations also states: “In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets – with a deadline of 2015 – that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.” The 8 MDGs are: End Poverty and Hunger, Universal Education, Gender Equality, Child Health, Maternal Health, Combat HIV/AIDS, Environmental Sustainability, and Global Partnership. View Link…

There has been 3 major international conferences on population; Bucharest 1974, Mexico City 1984 and Cairo 1994. In November 2004, UNESCWA organized a successful regional Arab Population Forum at the UN House in Beirut, Lebanon to mark the tenth anniversary of ICPD. However, in 2004 there was no global conferences similar to the 3 conferences in Bucharest, Mexico City, and Cairo; on the premise that ICPD Programme of Action will address the global population issues for 20 years. That premise turned out to be not exactly true since in 2002 the Millennium Project was commissioned by the United Nations addressing the core population issues as 4 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) View Link… which raises some questions and concerns:

  1. Is population losing its relevance as a distinct issue in the global social and economic development?
  2. Should the focus shift entirely to the MDGs and their targets, while fully assimilating population as a part of the MDGs? If that is the case, what would be the role of the UN organizations specializing in population?
  3. The year 2015 is the target year to assess the global successes and failures in achieving the MDGs. The year 2014 will mark the 20 years target since ICPD. Should the two targets be merged in one joint global gathering to address all the global development issues under the umbrella of MDGs or should population be distinct in order to evaluate the successes and failures since ICPD?
  4. Reflecting on your community since ICPD in 1994, has the population issue been successfully addressed? Are there any practices in the population programs in your community that should not take place? Are there missed opportunities for population and development in your community? How can the UN programs for population and development be improved in your community?

M. Alaadin A. Morsy

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