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Achieving the Development Goals

UNFPAs work on population is central to the goals of the international community to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.

Population dynamics, including growth rates, age structure, fertility and mortality, migration and more, influence every aspect of human, social and economic development. Other core areas of UNFPAs work --including reproductive health and women's empowerment -- powerfully influence population trends.

Governments need to be able to gather information about, track and analyse population trends in order to create and manage sound policies and generate the political will to appropriately address both current and future needs. UNFPA assists countries in every aspect of this, as needed, from developing capacity in data collection and analysis to participating in national, regional and global policy dialogue to supporting demonstrative programmes for purpose of upscaling.

The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) articulated a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. At the ICPD, 179 governments adopted a forward-looking, 20-year Programme of Action (PoA) that built on the success of the population, maternal health and family planning programmes of the previous decades while addressing, with a new perspective, the needs of the early years of the twenty-first century.

The ICPD Programme of Action, sometimes referred to as the Cairo Consensus, was remarkable in its recognition that reproductive health and rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. The Consensus is rooted in principles of human rights and respect for national sovereignty and various religious and cultural backgrounds.

As an outcome of the Conference, the participant countries agreed upon on a Roadmap to progress broadly under the following goals:

Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015

Universal primary education and closing the gender gap in education by 2015

Reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent by 2015    

Reducing infant mortality

Increasing life expectancy

Reducing HIV infection rates.