Asia-Pacific governments gathered in October 2018 at UNESCAP in Bangkok to take stock of how far we’ve come in achieving ICPD, especially in the context of the 2030 Agenda. Governments agreed that women in the region have made significant gains under ICPD over the past 25 years, but progress cannot be taken for granted.

To bring about strategic and innovative investments in gender equality and social protection, UNFPA Director-General Bjorn Andersson believes we need to prioritize sexual and reproductive health under universal health coverage, and point to many examples across the region.

"These are encouraging instances, and there are many more besides," Mr. Andersson wrote. "But let’s also be frank in acknowledging the significant pushback against rights and choice that we are witnessing at a time of rising conservatism in Asia-Pacific and globally – even in countries that have long been ICPD champions."

He called on UN agencies, women’s and youth groups, and other partners to gather at the Nairobi Summit in November to recommit to the transformation that began a quarter-century ago, and which must be accelerated all the more.

"Safeguarding rights and choice, strengthening social protection and achieving genuine gender equality means renewing our collective promises, converting them into concrete action, and securing the future for women and girls everywhere," Mr. Andersson noted.

All views are those of the original author. Originally published at World Economic Forum.