The targets of a landmark global action plan, adopted 15 years ago, linking reproductive health, women’s rights and development remain an urgent priority today, top officials from 30 Asia-Pacific nations have concluded at a United Nations-backed gathering.
More than one decade after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, its goals “remain out of reach for too many countries and too many groups of people in Asia and the Pacific,” said Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), at the start of the two-day gathering.
The 300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the region account for half the global total, and she stressed that these deaths could largely be prevented with skilled birth assistance called for by the ICPD’s Programme of Action.
The event – also organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) – in Bangkok wrapped up with participants adopting a declaration in which they pledged to do more to promote safe motherhood, family planning, gender equality and adolescent health.
“This is a moment of opportunity,” according to the document, with only five years left to realize the goals set out in Cairo as well as achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.