Nairobi Statement on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise

 

 

This is the final version of the Nairobi Statement, formulated after six months of global consultations led by the International Steering Committee on ICPD25, with hundreds of organizations and thousands of people involved. The Nairobi Statement provides a global framework for the formulation of government and partner commitments. Since it is non-binding, countries and other stakeholders may choose to support the Nairobi Statement in its entirety, in part, or not at all. In no way does supporting the Nairobi Statement infringe upon national sovereignty.

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Introduction 

Twenty-five years ago, in 1994, 179 countries adopted a landmark Programme of Action during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt. The ICPD Programme of Action transformed the way in which the linkages between population, poverty reduction and sustainable development were addressed – by putting the rights, needs and aspirations of individual human beings at the centre of sustainable development. The 179 countries promised to strive for achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health, for all, by no later than 2015; to achieve infant mortality rates below 35 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality rates below 45 per 1,000 live births by 2015; and a 75 per cent reduction of the maternal mortality rate by 20151. In 2010, the UN General Assembly extended this promise beyond the 20-year timeframe given in the ICPD Programme of Action in order to “fully meet its goals and objectives"2. In 2014, the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) took note of the outcome documents of the regional conferences on population and development, stating that each outcome provided region-specific guidance on population and development beyond 2014 for each region that adopted the particular outcome document3. In 2015, the international community also reaffirmed the commitment of putting “people, planet and prosperity” at the centre of sustainable development and leaving no one behind, when it adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And, on 1 April 2019, the UN member states adopted a Declaration during the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Population and Development that reaffirmed the importance of the ICPD Programme of Action for guiding population and development policies and programmes, within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and pledged to undertake further actions to ensure its “full, effective and accelerated implementation4”.

The future of sustainable development is directly linked to fulfilling the aspirations of adolescents and youth. Empowering the world’s 1.8 billion young people and unleashing their full potential to contribute to economic and social progress will be instrumental for bringing the vision and the promise the ICPD Programme of Action and of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to life.

Moreover, the achievement of sustainable, just and inclusive development must be based on actions that meet the needs and aspirations of all. Consequently, governments, that embraced the ICPD Programme of Action 25 years ago, and reaffirmed it in subsequent intergovernmental fora and reviews, should continue to invest in its full and accelerated implementation, and support concrete actions to that effect, within the overall context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

Furthermore, to fulfil the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action and enable the guarantee and respect for human rights everywhere around the world, strengthening civil society organizations and movements who have defended it and worked for its implementation is necessary and crucial. This means that those organizations, movements, institutions and individuals must be able to work freely in a safe environment, including through the active protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)5 and human rights defenders. 

 

The way forward 

We, representing all nations and peoples, and all segments of our societies6, meet at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, from 12 to 14 November 2019, in Kenya, to present our own ambitious commitments with concrete and innovative actions that will accelerate the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, leaving no one behind, ensuring rights and choices for all.  

Despite remarkable progress over the past 25 years, the promise of the ICPD Programme of Action remains a distant reality for millions of people across the world. Universal access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, as defined in the ICPD Programme of Action and the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD7, has not been achieved. We acknowledge that unless we complete the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action and realize the strong and evidence-based investment case for ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, and for girls’ and women’s empowerment and gender equality, reaching the ambitious SDGs by 2030 will be difficult, if not impossible.  

Our world has, in many ways, profoundly changed over the last 25 years, and many new issues are influencing the field of population and development, including climate change, growing inequalities and exclusion within and between countries, migration, the youth bulge and the prospects of demographic dividends, and increasing demographic diversity. 

Advancing the ICPD Programme of Action’s promise of universal access to sexual and reproductive health, of girls’ and women’s empowerment and gender equality, while leaving no one behind, in particular youth as agents of positive change and the leaders of the generation to carry forward the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, requires new, innovative and strategic partnerships, including with and between youth, civil society organizations, local communities, the private sector, and through south-south and triangular cooperation among countries.

Therefore, recognizing our different capacities and responsibilities, our way forward is to focus in particular on those actions, expressed in specific commitments and collaborative actions, that will deliver on the promise of the ICPD Programme of Action, the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD, and the outcomes of its reviews, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In that context, we will:

1. Intensify our efforts for the full, effective and accelerated implementation and funding of the ICPD Programme of Action, Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD, the outcomes of its reviews, and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage (UHC)8, by committing to strive for:

2. Zero unmet need for family planning information and services9, and universal availability of quality, accessible, affordable and safe modern contraceptives10.  

3. Zero preventable maternal deaths11 and maternal morbidities, such as obstetric fistulas, by, inter alia, integrating a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health interventions12, including access to safe abortion to the full extent of the law, measures for preventing and avoiding unsafe abortions, and for the provision of post-abortion care13, into national UHC strategies, policies and programmes, and to protect and ensure all individuals’ right to bodily integrity, autonomy and reproductive rights, and to provide access to essential services in support of these rights. 

4. Access for all adolescents and youth, especially girls, to comprehensive and age-responsive information, education and adolescent-friendly comprehensive, quality and timely services14 to be able to make free and informed decisions and choices about their sexuality and reproductive lives, to adequately protect themselves from unintended pregnancies, all forms of sexual and  gender-based violence and harmful practices, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, to facilitate a safe transition into adulthood. 

Address sexual and gender-based violence15 and harmful practices, in particular child, early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation, by committing to strive for 

5.  (a) Zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, including zero child, early and forced marriage16,17, as well as zero female genital mutilation18.
     (b) Elimination of all forms of discrimination against all women and girls19, in order to realize all individuals’ full socio-economic potential. 

Mobilize the required financing to finish the ICPD Programme of Action and sustain the gains already made, by

6. Using national budget processes, including gender budgeting and auditing, increasing domestic financing and exploring new, participatory and innovative financing instruments and structures to ensure full, effective and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.  
7. Increasing international financing for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, to complement and catalyze domestic financing, in particular of sexual and reproductive health programmes, and other supportive measures and interventions that promote gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment. 

Draw on demographic diversity to drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development, by 

8. Investing in the education, employment opportunities, health, including family planning and sexual and reproductive health services, of adolescents and youth, especially girls, so as to fully harness the promises of the demographic dividend20.  
9. Building peaceful, just and inclusive societies, where no one is left behind, where all, irrespective of race, colour, religion, sex, age, disability, language, ethnic origin21, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, feel valued and are able to shape their own destiny and contribute to the prosperity of their societies.  
10. Providing quality, timely and disaggregated data, that ensures privacy of citizens and is also inclusive of younger adolescents22, investing in digital health innovations, including in big data systems, and improvement of data systems to inform policies aimed at achieving sustainable development. 
11. Committing to the notion that nothing about young people’s health and well-being can be discussed and decided upon without their meaningful involvement and participation (“nothing about us, without us”).   

Uphold the right to sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian and fragile contexts, by 

12. Ensuring that the basic humanitarian needs and rights of affected populations, especially that of girls and women, are addressed as critical components of responses to humanitarian and environmental crises, as well as fragile and post-crisis reconstruction contexts, through the provision of access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, including access to safe abortion services to the full extent of the law, and post-abortion care, to significantly reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, sexual and gender-based violence and unplanned pregnancies under these conditions.

 

Follow-up

All stakeholders, present and not present at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, who have made concrete commitments to ensure the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are strongly encouraged to report periodically on the progress towards fulfilling these commitments through transparent means and/or in appropriate public fora.

UN member states are strongly encouraged to use the reporting ecosystem for the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, i.e., the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD), the periodic regional review mechanisms, and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), for stock-taking on and follow-up to the national commitments announced at the Nairobi Summit. Commitments that are specific to UN entities should be taken up in the context of their respective governing bodies. We recommend that UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, periodically report on the progress made towards achieving the global commitments outlined above.

 

 

  1. Paras. 7.6, 8.16 and 8.21 of the ICPD Programme of Action.
  2. UN Resolution 65/234, para. 2, of 22 December 2010.
  3. Para. 17 of Resolution 2014/1 - Assessment of the status of implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
  4. Political Declaration, adopted at the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Population and Development (1-4 April 2019).
  5. The term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” is used in the UNFPA Strategic Plan (2018-2021), paragraphs 23 and 31, approved by the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board in Decision 2017/23 on 11 September 2017.
  6. In line with para. 4 of UNGA Resolution 70/1 on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted on 25 September 2015.
  7. As defined by paragraphs 7.2, 7.3, 7.6 and 8.25 of the ICPD Programme of Action (September 19994), and paragraph 63 of the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD (July 1999).
  8. Including in reference to paras. 68 and 69 of the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, adopted by the United Nations member states on 23 September 2019.
  9. This commitment is different from the concept of ‘unmet need for family planning’, which points to the gap between women's reproductive intentions and their contraceptive behaviour”.
  10. Achieving zero unmet need for family planning information and services is an important indicator of having achieved universal access to sexual and reproductive health, as contained in SDG target 3.7 and SDG target 5.6.
  11. Achieving zero maternal deaths is an important indicator of having achieved universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, as contained in SDG target 3.7 and SDG target 5.6.
  12. At a minimum, as defined in paragraphs 7.2, 7.3 and 7.6 of the ICPD Programme of Action, and paragraph 53 of the Key Action for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD. This could be further guided by the expanded definition of SRHR interventions, as proposed in the Report of the Guttmacher/Lancet Commission on sexual and reproductive health and rights (May 2018).
  13. In accordance with paragraph 8.25 of the ICPD Programme of Action and paragraph 63 of the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD.
  14. In line with international technical guidance; ref  https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000260770
  15. SDG target 5.2.
  16. SDG target 5.3.
  17. This should also include ‘de facto’ child (marital) unions.
  18. SDG target 5.3.
  19. SDG target 5.1.
  20. For the definition of ‘demographic dividend’, see www.unfpa.org/demographic-dividend
  21. Including indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants.
  22. 10-14 years of age.