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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Report on the Conclusion of the 40th session of the CPD
ISSUE 72 - 25 April 2007
The 40th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended earlier this month with the adoption of a draft provisional agenda for the 41st session and a resolution on "The changing age structures of populations and their implications for development". The 47-member organ of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) also decided on a special theme for the 42nd session in 2009, "The contribution of the ICPD Programme of Action to the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the MDGs", which will mark the 15th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
The Commission, which held its annual session at United Nations headquarters from 9 to 13 April, addressed the rights and needs of all population groups, particularly of young and older persons, that are subject to age-specific vulnerabilities. It recognized the implications of historically huge shifts in populations that are resulting in an unprecedented increase in proportions of older persons as well as young populations, particularly in developing countries.
The Commission also expressed concern over funding for family planning, which has dropped from 55 per cent of the overall population funding in 1995 to only 9 per cent in 2004, and emphasized the importance of continued mobilization of resources by the international community, including governments of both donor and developing countries.
At the end of the session, the Commission adopted a comprehensive resolution which:
- Reaffirmed the ICPD Programme of Action without any qualification;
- Stressed the need to mainstream the gender perspective in development, to eliminate discrimination and violence against women, and to invest in young people and in family-friendly policies that allow parents and legal guardians to work and still be able to carry out their parental responsibilities;
- Encouraged governments to promote both inter-generational equity and solidarity and long-term development planning; to promote healthy living at all ages and in all spheres of health, including sexual and reproductive health; to apply policies that support gender equality, protect the human rights of older persons, particularly older women, and assist abused older persons; to ensure equal access to high quality health and social services for older persons; to address the rising rates of HIV infection through evidence-based prevention strategies, responsible sexual behaviour, including the use of condoms, and youth-specific HIV education, among others;
- Encouraged the United Nations system to assist developing countries in assessing the possible impact of changing population age structures and in building the capacity to respond to challenges and opportunities related to changing age structures; and to support national efforts in capacity-building for the collection, analysis and dissemination of data and population statistics;
- Called upon the relevant United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes to continue promoting partnerships at the national and international levels to promote a holistic package of gender-sensitive interventions to ensure the well-being of young people and improve their life prospects by, inter alia, enhancing their educational attainment; promoting healthy lifestyles and safeguarding their health, including sexual and reproductive health; and supporting young people’s social engagement and participation, including in activities to reduce poverty and marginalization;
- Expressed concern that funding for family planning, which has been steadily decreasing, is below the suggested target level, and emphasized the importance of the continued mobilization of the required resources to implement the ICPD agenda by the international community, including governments of both donor and developing countries.
UNFPA Press Release
Women Fall Victims as Family Planning Resources Dwindle, Warns UNFPA
10 April 2007
UNITED NATIONS, New York - The drastic decline in funding for family planning has created victims in the developing parts of the world, said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. The proportion of funds allocated to family planning in all population assistance has dropped from 55 per cent in 1995 to 9 per cent in 2004, said Ms. Obaid. This represents a fall from $723 million in 1995 to $442 million in 2004 in absolute dollar terms.
"The victims of this funding gap," said Ms. Obaid, "have been poor women in poor countries who cannot exercise their reproductive rights and plan their families. It is a serious problem that needs to be urgently addressed."
Today, she noted: "There are 200 million women in the developing world with unmet need for effective contraception. The result is increasing numbers of unwanted pregnancies, rising rates of unsafe abortion, and increased risks to the lives of women and children."
Ms. Obaid said that investing in sexual and reproductive health services will be repaid much more in savings on other health and social services. Those resources will also go a long way in boosting economic growth and gender equality, reducing poverty, and helping to fight the economic and social devastation of HIV/AIDS.
In an address to the United Nations Commission on Population and Development today, Ms. Obaid cautioned that although funding for population assistance was on the rise, it was below current needs. Since 1994, she noted, health costs have increased substantially, particularly with the larger-than-expected scale of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, while the value of the dollar has dropped.
Ms. Obaid called on countries to increase investments to implement the Programme of Action of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). She also underlined the benefits of reproductive health care, including family planning, saying, "it is estimated that ensuring access to family planning alone would reduce maternal deaths by 20 to 35 per cent and child deaths by 20 per cent."
During the same meeting, Hania Zlotnik, Director of the United Nations Population Division, said that between 1950 and 1987, the world population had doubled, from 2.5 billion to 5 billion persons. "If human life on earth is to remain sustainable," she warned, "earth's population will never double in size."
Commenting on the ability of individuals and couples to determine the number of their children, Ms. Zlotnik said,"fertility reductions result in smaller families and allow parents to invest more on each child."
Ms. Obaid also called for more world attention to the large youth populations in the least developed countries. "If we are to stand any chance whatsoever of achieving the development goals and building a better world for all," she said, "we must reach out to young people. And we must do so urgently and with open arms."
"To have a healthy and productive ageing population,"concluded Ms. Obaid, "we must ensure that we have a healthy and productive young population. Together, they will make development of societies a reality, so that we do have a world that is fit for all ages."
To see a copy of the resolution on "The changing age structures of populations and their implications for development", visit:
For more information on the CPD, visit:
All previous issues of the UNFPA Global Population Policy Update can now be found on UNFPA's website at: http://www.unfpa.org/parliamentarians/news/newsletters.htm .
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as secretariat for the biennial International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD). The first IPCI/ICPD was held in November 2002 in Ottawa, Canada, the second in October 2004 in Strasbourg, France and the third in November 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can be kept informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow parliamentarians in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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