Frequently Asked Questions


1. When and where did the Nairobi Summit take place? 

The Governments of Kenya and Denmark together with UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, co-convened the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 in Nairobi, Kenya, on 12-14 November 2019. The Summit took place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre and marked the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo.


2. Why was the Summit convened? What were its objectives and outcomes? 

At the ICPD, the world agreed that sexual and reproductive health is a human right, that no mother should die while giving life, and that gender-based violence and discrimination have no place in the modern world. 

Yet today, the significant gains made are overshadowed by the fact that the world has failed to deliver on the promise of the 1994 Cairo conference. Those who suffer do so needlessly – and often unequally. The world has long known how to prevent maternal deaths, and has long embraced gender equality as a bedrock value. But progress has been unacceptably slow, and the burdens of death and violence are disproportionately borne by the most marginalized.

The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 galvanized partnerships and spurred political and financial commitments to complete the unfinished business of the landmark ICPD Programme of Action and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. With 10 years left to meet the deadline, we have entered a decade of delivery. There can be no SDGs without the ICPD.

These ambitions are possible – and within reach. The Summit advanced new research showing exactly what it will cost to achieve the "three zeros": zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence. All participants were asked to state their own commitments to achieve the "three zeros" in their own countries and communities.


3. Who attended? 

The Summit was attended by over 8,300 people representing governments, civil society, youth, the private sector, communities, international institutions and faith-based organizations, among others.


4. What kind of event was the Summit? 

The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 was unique because there was no negotiated outcome document. However, the Summit was solidly grounded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and on the political declaration adopted at the 52nd Commission on Population and Development in April 2019, which reaffirmed the political commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action. The Nairobi Summit focused on how to accelerate the promise of the ICPD Programme of Action and the SDGs by 2030.

The Summit gathered a broad range of actors. The format was radically inclusive and as such designed to be highly interactive, presenting ample space for participants representing diverse voices to reflect together on challenges and opportunities and accelerate collective action to achieve the ICPD Programme of Action. The range of platforms and events created spaces for people with different perspectives to jointly craft solutions based on shared values. The Summit was attended by a large number of civil society representatives and young people, who participated in sessions alongside high-level participants. 


6. What were the themes of the Summit? 

The Summit revolved around five themes: 

1. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health as a part of universal health coverage.

Around the world, sexual and reproductive health care is often under-funded and separated from primary health care. The Summit featured discussions and debate on how to integrate the essential package of sexual and reproductive health services into national primary health care, equalize access, improve quality, and enhance accountability as part of the drive towards universal health coverage.

2. Financing to finish the ICPD Programme of Action and to sustain the gains made.

Current financing arrangements are falling far short of what is needed to realize the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action. The Summit featured conversations on how innovative funding mechanisms can help achieve zero preventable maternal deaths, zero need for modern contraceptives, and zero gender-based violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation, as well as announcements of new partnerships and commitments to invest.

3. Drawing on demographic diversity to drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development.

All countries need to plan for demographic shifts in the years ahead to design policies and investments that respond to their unique demographic realities of fertility, ageing, urbanization, migration and displacement, and ensure that labour, health, education and pension systems are optimally located and funded. The Summit explored actions that governments are taking to better monitor demographic change, and inform long-term policies for economic growth. The Programme of Action and the SDGs can only be achieved if there is a full understanding of the needs of every segment of the population.

4. Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.

Everywhere, every day, people are discriminated, assaulted or otherwise harmed because of their gender. Participants at the Summit discussed how we can get to zero gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030, analyzed what has worked, and explored the promising and sometimes surprising approaches that can help governments finally end the threat of violence and harm.

5. Upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health care even in humanitarian and fragile contexts.

People, and in particular women and girls, fleeing war or stranded in places where services have collapsed must still be able to prevent pregnancy and may still need help to give birth safely. More people become victims of sexual violence in these environments and need access to health care. At the Summit, we learned how we can end the bottlenecks to providing the full range of sexual and reproductive health services under these conditions, and how governments and aid organizations can prepare for crises and integrate sexual and reproductive health care in post-crisis reconstruction.

Overall, the Summit highlighted the power of five accelerators for progress: gender equality, youth leadership, political and community leadership, innovation and data, and partnerships.


7. What is the “Nairobi Statement”?

The Nairobi Statement is a forward-looking, transformative framework of commitments to complete the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action for the benefit of women and girls, their families and society at large. Developed through a lengthy consultation with thousands of people and organizations around the world, the Nairobi Statement reflects the inextricable links between women’s and girls’ empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights and sustainable development. 

The Nairobi Statement points to areas where more progress and specific commitments are urgently needed, including calling for greater domestic and international funding. Since it is non-binding, countries and other stakeholders may choose to support it in its entirety, in part, or not at all. In no way does endorsing the Nairobi Statement infringe upon national sovereignty.


8. Why is wording in the Nairobi Statement not identical to wording in the original ICPD Programme of Action?

The Nairobi Statement recommits to the original ICPD Programme of Action while also addressing modern realities, including the groundswell around the issues of universal health coverage and equality. Because the Nairobi Statement is an aspirational document, countries as well as civil society and other partners/stakeholders had the opportunity to express their support or reservations, in line with national policies, laws and priorities. 


9. Does the Nairobi Statement call for the legalization of abortion?

No. The focus of the Nairobi Summit is on the accelerated achievement of the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action. When it comes to abortion, the Programme of Action clearly states that the legality of abortion is the prerogative of each sovereign state. But the Programme of Action also says that where abortion is not against the law, it should be safe and accessible. And, all countries were urged to strengthen their commitment to women’s health to deal with the health impact of unsafe abortions as a major public health concern. In all cases, women should have access to quality services for the management of complications arising from abortions. The 179 governments that adopted the Programme of Action agreed that abortion should not be used as a method of family planning, and that contraception should be made available and accessible to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and minimize recourse to abortion.


10.  What does the ICPD Programme of Action say about comprehensive sexuality education?

The Programme of Action notes that countries should protect and promote the rights of teenagers to reproductive health education, information and care in order to reduce adolescent pregnancies. It encourages countries to generate their own “educational strategies regarding responsible parenthood and sexual education” and notes that parents and guardians, “in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the adolescent,” should provide “appropriate direction and guidance in sexual and reproductive matters.” A wide body of evidence shows that educating girls and boys about their bodies and equipping them with age-appropriate information helps them make a safe and healthy transition from adolescence into adulthood. Comprehensive sexuality education has a positive impact on sexual and reproductive health and reduces sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies. It also encourages safer sexual behaviours and can delay sexual debut. 


11. What does the ICPD Programme of Action say about services for teenagers?

The Programme of Action calls for countries to remove all legal, regulatory and social barriers to reproductive health information and care for teenagers to reduce teenage pregnancies and HIV infection. It also says that governments should “safeguard the rights of adolescents to privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent, respecting cultural values and religious beliefs.” In this context, teenagers’ access to contraceptive information and services can help achieve the goal of zero unmet need for family planning by 2030.