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International Conference on Population and Development

Distr: General
13 September 1994
Original: English/ French/ Spanish

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  • To increase awareness, knowledge, understanding and commitment at all levels of society so that families, couples, individuals, opinion and community leaders, non-governmental organizations, policy makers, Governments and the international community appreciate the significance and relevance of population-related issues, and take the responsible actions necessary to address such issues within sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development;
  • To encourage attitudes in favour of responsible behaviour in population and development, especially in such areas such environment, family, sexuality, reproduction, gender and racial sensitivity;

  • To ensure political commitment to population and development issues by national Governments in order to promote the participation of both public and private sectors at all levels in the design, implementation and monitoring of population and development policies and programmes;

  • To enhance the ability of couples and individuals to exercise their basic right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children, and to have the information, education and means to do so.


    11.16. Information, education and communication efforts should raise awareness through public education campaigns on such priority issues as: safe motherhood, reproductive health and rights, maternal and child health and family planning, discrimination against and valorization of the girl child and persons with disabilities; child abuse; violence against women; male responsibility; gender equality; sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; responsible sexual behaviour; teenage pregnancy; racism and xenophobia; ageing populations; and unsustainable consumption and production patterns. More education is needed in all societies on the implications of population-environment relationships, in order to influence behavioural change and consumer lifestyles and to promote sustainable management of natural resources. The media should be a major instrument for expanding knowledge and motivation.

    11.17. Elected representatives at all levels, the scientific community, religious, political, traditional and community leaders, non-governmental organizations, parents' associations, social workers, women's groups, the private sector, qualified communication specialists and others in influential positions should have access to information on population and sustainable development and related issues. They should promote understanding of the issues addressed in the present Programme of Action and mobilize public opinion in support of the actions proposed.

    11.18. Members of Parliament are invited to continue to promote wide awareness on issues related to population and sustainable development and to ensure the enactment of legislation necessary for effective implementation of the present Programme of Action.

    11.19. A coordinated strategic approach to information, education and communication should be adopted in order to maximize the impact of various information, education and communication activities, both modern and traditional, which may be undertaken on several fronts by various actors and with diverse audiences. It is especially important that information, education and communication strategies be linked to, and complement, national population and development policies and strategies and a full range of services in reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health, in order to enhance the use of those services and improve the quality of counselling and care.

    11.20. Information, education and communication activities should rely on up-to-date research findings to determine information needs and the most effective culturally acceptable ways of reaching intended audiences. To that end, professionals experienced in the traditional and non-traditional media should be enlisted. The participation of the intended audiences in the design, implementation and monitoring of information, education and communication activities should be ensured so as to enhance the relevance and impact of those activities.

    11.21. The interpersonal communication skills - in particular, motivational and counselling skills - of public, private and non-governmental organization service providers, community leaders, teachers, peer groups and others should be strengthened, whenever possible, to enhance interaction and quality assurance in the delivery of reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health services. Such communication should be free from coercion.

    11.22. The tremendous potential of print, audiovisual and electronic media, including databases and networks such as the United Nations Population Information Network (POPIN), should be harnessed to disseminate technical information and to promote and strengthen understanding of the relationships between population, consumption, production and sustainable development.

    11.23. Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector should make greater and more effective use of the entertainment media, including radio and television soap operas and drama, folk theatre and other traditional media to encourage public discussion of important but sometimes sensitive topics related to the implementation of the present Programme of Action. When the entertainment media - especially dramas - are used for advocacy purposes or to promote particular lifestyles, the public should be so informed, and in each case the identity of sponsors should be indicated in an appropriate manner.

    11.24. Age-appropriate education, especially for adolescents, about the issues considered in the present Programme of Action should begin in the home and community and continue through all levels and channels of formal and non-formal education, taking into account the rights and responsibilities of parents and the needs of adolescents. Where such education already exists, curricula and educational materials should be reviewed, updated and broadened with a view to ensuring adequate coverage of important population-related issues and to counteract myths and misconceptions about them. Where no such education exists, appropriate curricula and materials should be developed. To ensure acceptance, effectiveness and usefulness by the community, education projects should be based on the findings of socio-cultural studies and should involve the active participation of parents and families, women, youth, the elderly and community leaders.

    11.25. Governments should give priority to the training and retention of information, education and communication specialists, especially teachers, and of all others involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of information, education and communication programmes. It is necessary to train specialists who can contribute to the important conceptual and methodological development of education concerning population and related issues. Therefore, systems for professional training should be created and strengthened with specializations that prepare them to work effectively with Governments and with non-governmental organizations active in this field. In addition, there should be greater collaboration between the academic community and other entities in order to strengthen conceptual and methodological work and research in this field.

    11.26. To enhance solidarity and to sustain development assistance, all countries need to be continuously informed about population and development issues. Countries should establish information mechanisms, where appropriate, to facilitate the systematic collection, analysis, dissemination and utilization of population-related information at the national and international levels, and networks should be established or strengthened at the national, subregional, regional and global levels to promote information and experience exchange.

    Chapter XII

    Technology, Research and Development

    A. Basic data collection, analysis and dissemination

    Basis for action

    12.1. Valid, reliable, timely, culturally relevant and internationally comparable data form the basis for policy and programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. While there have been marked improvements in the availability of population and related development data following important advances made during the past two decades in the methodologies and technology for data collection and analysis, many gaps remain with regard to the quality and coverage of baseline information, including vital data on births and deaths, as well as the continuity of data sets over time. Gender and ethnicity-specific information, which is needed to enhance and monitor the sensitivity of development policies and programmes, is still insufficient in many areas. Measurement of migration, particularly at the regional and international levels, is also among the areas least valid and least adequately covered. As a matter of principle, individuals, organizations and developing countries should have access, on a no-cost basis, to the data and findings based on research carried out in their own countries, including those maintained by other countries and international agencies.


    12.2. The objectives are:

    1. To establish a factual basis for understanding and anticipating the interrelationships of population and socio-economic - including environmental - variables and for improving programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation;

    2. To strengthen national capacity to seek new information and meet the need for basic data collection, analysis and dissemination, giving particular attention to information classified by age, sex, ethnicity and different geographical units, in order to use the findings in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of overall sustainable development strategies and foster international cooperation, including such cooperation at the regional and subregional levels;

    3. To ensure political commitment to, and understanding of, the need for data collection on a regular basis and the analysis, dissemination and full utilization of data.


    12.3. Governments of all countries, particularly developing countries, assisted as appropriate through bilateral cooperation and international organizations and, where necessary, through interregional, regional and subregional cooperation, should strengthen their national capacity to carry out sustained and comprehensive programmes on collection, analysis, dissemination and utilization of population and development data. Particular attention should be given to the monitoring of population trends and the preparation of demographic projections and to the monitoring of progress towards the attainment of the health, education, gender, ethnic and social-equity goals, and of service accessibility and quality of care, as stated in the present Programme of Action.

    12.4. Programmes for the collection, processing, analysis and timely dissemination and utilization of population and related development data should include disaggregation, including gender disaggregation, and coverage and presentation compatible with the needs of effective programme implementation on population and development. Interaction between the community of data users and data providers should be promoted in order to enable data providers to respond better to user needs. Research should be designed to take into account legal and ethical standards and should be carried out in consultation and partnership with, and with the active participation of, local communities and institutions, and the findings thereof should be made accessible and available to policy makers, decision makers, planners and managers of programmes for their timely use. Comparability should be ensured in all research and data collection programmes.

    12.5. Comprehensive and reliable qualitative as well as quantitative databases, allowing linkages between population, education, health, poverty, family well-being, environment and development issues and providing information disaggregated at appropriate and desired levels, should be established and maintained by all countries to meet the needs of research as well as those of policy and programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Special attention should be given to assessing and measuring the quality and accessibility of care through the development of suitable indicators.

    12.6. Demographic, socio-economic and other relevant information networks should be created or strengthened, where appropriate, at the national, regional and global levels to facilitate monitoring the implementation of programmes of action and activities on population, environment and development at the national, regional and global levels.

    12.7. All data collection and analysis activities should give due consideration to gender-disaggregation, enhancing knowledge on the position and role of gender in social and demographic processes. In particular, in order to provide a more accurate picture of women's current and potential contribution to economic development, data collection should delineate more precisely the nature of women's social and labour force status and make that a basis for policy and programme decisions on improving women's income. Such data should address, inter alia, women's unpaid economic activities in the family and in the informal sector.

    12.8. Training programmes in statistics, demography, and population and development studies should be designed and implemented at the national and regional levels, particularly in developing countries, with enhanced technical and financial support, through international cooperation and greater national resources.

    12.9. All countries, with the support of appropriate organizations, should strengthen the collection and analysis of demographic data, including international migration data, in order to achieve a better understanding of that phenomenon and thus support the formulation of national and international policies on international migration.

    B. Reproductive health research

    Basis for action

    12.10. Research, in particular biomedical research, has been instrumental in giving more and more people access to a greater range of safe and effective modern methods for regulation of fertility. However, not all persons can find a family-planning method that suits them and the range of choices available to men is more limited than that available to women. The growing incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, demands substantially higher investments in new methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. In spite of greatly reduced funding for reproductive health research, prospects for developing and introducing new methods and products for contraception and regulation of fertility have been promising. Improved collaboration and coordination of activities internationally will increase cost-effectiveness, but a significant increase in support from Governments and industry is needed to bring a number of potential new, safe and affordable methods to fruition, especially barrier methods. This research needs to be guided at all stages by gender perspectives, particularly women's, and the needs of users, and should be carried out in strict conformity with internationally accepted legal, ethical, medical and scientific standards for biomedical research.


    12.11. The objectives are:

    1. To contribute to the understanding of factors affecting universal reproductive health, including sexual health, and to expand reproductive choice;

    2. To ensure the initial and continued safety, quality and health aspects of methods for regulation of fertility;

    3. To ensure that all people have the opportunity to achieve and maintain sound reproductive and sexual health, the international community should mobilize the full spectrum of basic biomedical, social and behavioural and programme-related research on reproductive health and sexuality.


    12.12. Governments, assisted by the international community and donor agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and the academic community, should increase support for basic and applied biomedical, technological, clinical, epidemiological and social science research to strengthen reproductive health services, including the improvement of existing and the development of new methods for regulation of fertility that meet users' needs and are acceptable, easy to use, safe, free of long- and short-term side-effects and second-generation effects, effective, affordable and suitable for different age and cultural groups and for different phases of the reproductive cycle. Testing and introduction of all new technologies should be continually monitored to avoid potential abuse. Specifically, areas that need increased attention should include barrier methods, both male and female, for fertility control and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, as well as microbicides and virucides, which may or may not prevent pregnancy.

    12.13. Research on sexuality and gender roles and relationships in different cultural settings is urgently needed, with emphasis on such areas as abuse, discrimination and violence against women; genital mutilation, where practised; sexual behaviour and mores; male attitudes towards sexuality and procreation, fertility, family and gender roles; risk-taking behaviour regarding sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies; women's and men's perceived needs for methods for regulation of fertility and sexual health services; and reasons for non-use or ineffective use of existing services and technologies.

    12.14. High priority should also be given to the development of new methods for regulation of fertility for men. Special research should be undertaken on factors inhibiting male participation in order to enhance male involvement and responsibility in family planning. In conducting sexual and reproductive health research, special attention should be given to the needs of adolescents in order to develop suitable policies and programmes and appropriate technologies to meet their health needs. Special priority should be given to research on sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and research on infertility.

    12.15. To expedite the availability of improved and new methods for regulation of fertility, efforts must be made to increase the involvement of industry, including industry in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. A new type of partnership between the public and private sectors, including women and consumer groups, is needed to mobilize the experience and resources of industry while protecting the public interest. National drug and device regulatory agencies should be actively involved in all stages of the development process to ensure that all legal and ethical standards are met. Developed countries should assist research programmes in developing countries and countries with economies in transition with their knowledge, experience and technical expertise and promote the transfer of appropriate technologies to them. The international community should facilitate the establishment of manufacturing capacities for contraceptive commodities in developing countries, particularly the least developed among them, and countries with economies in transition.

    12.16. All research on products for regulation of fertility and sexual and reproductive health must be carried out in adherence to internationally accepted ethical and technical standards and cultural conditions for biomedical research. Special attention needs to be given to the continuous surveillance of contraceptive safety and side-effects. Users', in particular women's, perspectives and women's organizations should be incorporated into all stages of the research and development process.

    12.17. Since unsafe abortion/20 is a major threat to the health and lives of women, research to understand and better address the determinants and consequences of induced abortion, including its effects on subsequent fertility, reproductive and mental health and contraceptive practice, should be promoted, as well as research on treatment of complications of abortions and post-abortion care.

    12.18. There should be enhanced research on natural methods for regulation of fertility, looking for more effective procedures to detect the moment of ovulation during the menstrual cycle and after childbirth.

    C. Social and economic research

    Basis for action

    12.19. During the past several decades, the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of population policies, programmes and activities have benefited from the findings of social and economic research highlighting how population change results from and impacts on complex interactions of social, economic and environmental factors. Nevertheless, some aspects of those interactions are still poorly understood and knowledge is lacking, especially with regard to developing countries, in areas relevant to a range of population and development policies, particularly concerning indigenous practices. Social and economic research is clearly needed to enable programmes to take into account the views of their intended beneficiaries, especially women, the young and other less empowered groups, and to respond to the specific needs of those groups and of communities. Research regarding the interrelations between global or regional economic factors and national demographic processes is required. Improved quality of services can be achieved only where quality has been defined by both users and providers of services and where women are actively involved in decision-making and service delivery.


    12.20. The objectives are:

    1. To promote socio-cultural and economic research that assists in the design of programmes, activities and services to improve the quality of life and meet the needs of individuals, families and communities, in particular all underserved groups;/22

    2. To promote the use of research findings to improve the formulation of policies and the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects that improve the welfare of individuals and families and the needy to enhance their quality, efficiency and client-sensitivity, and to increase the national and international capacity for such research;

    3. To understand that sexual and reproductive behaviour occurs in varying socio-cultural contexts, and to understand the importance of that context for the design and implementation of service programmes.


    12.21. Governments, funding agencies and research organizations should encourage and promote socio-cultural and economic research on relevant population and development policies and programmes, including indigenous practices, especially with regard to interlinkages between population, poverty alleviation, environment, sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

    12.22. Socio-cultural and economic research should be built into population and development programmes and strategies in order to provide guidance for programme managers on ways and means of reaching underserved clients and responding to their needs. To this end, programmes should provide for operations research, evaluation research and other applied social science research. This research should be participatory in character. Mechanisms should be established with a view to ensuring that research findings are incorporated into the decision-making process.

    12.23. Policy-oriented research, at the national and international levels, should be undertaken on areas beset by population pressures, poverty, over-consumption patterns, destruction of ecosystems and degradation of resources, giving particular attention to the interactions between those factors. Research should also be done on the development and improvement of methods with regard to sustainable food production and crop and livestock systems in both developed and developing countries.

    12.24. Governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations concerned, funding agencies and research organizations are urged to give priority to research on the linkages between women's roles and status and demographic and development processes. Among the vital areas for research are changing family structures; family well-being; the interactions between women's and men's diverse roles, including their use of time, access to power and decision-making and control over resources; associated norms, laws, values and beliefs; and the economic and demographic outcomes of gender inequality. Women should be involved at all stages of gender research planning, and efforts should be made to recruit and train more female researchers.

    12.25. Given the changing nature and extent of the spatial mobility of population, research to improve the understanding of the causes and consequences of migration and mobility, whether internal or international, is urgently needed. To provide a sound foundation for such research, special efforts need to be made to improve the quality, timeliness and accessibility of data on internal and international migration levels, trends and policies.

    12.26. In the light of the persistence of significant mortality and morbidity differentials between population subgroups within countries, it is urgent to step up efforts to investigate the factors underlying such differentials, in order to devise more effective policies and programmes for their reduction. Of special importance are the causes of differentials, including gender differentials, in mortality and morbidity, particularly at younger and older ages. Increased attention should also be paid to the relative importance of various socio-economic and environmental factors in determining mortality differentials by region or socio-economic and ethnic group. Causes and trends in maternal, perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality also need further investigation.

    Chapter XIII

    National Action

    A. National policies and plans of action

    Basis for action 13.1. During the past few decades, considerable experience has been gained around the world on how government policies and programmes can be designed and implemented to address population and development concerns, enhance the choices of people and contribute to broad social progress. As is the case with other social development programmes, experience has also shown, in instances where the leadership is strongly committed to economic growth, human resource development, gender equality and equity and meeting the health needs of the population, in particular the reproductive health needs, including family planning and sexual health, countries have been able to mobilize sustained commitment at all levels to make population and development programmes and projects successful.

    13.2. While such success can be facilitated by developments in the overall social and economic context, and by success in other development efforts, population and development are intrinsically interrelated and progress in any component can catalyse improvement in others. The many facets of population relate to many facets of development. There is increased recognition of the need for countries to consider migration impacts, internal and international, in developing their relevant policies and programmes. There is also growing recognition that population-related policies, plans, programmes and projects, to be sustainable, need to engage their intended beneficiaries fully in their design and subsequent implementation.

    13.3. The role of non-governmental organizations as partners in national policies and programmes is increasingly recognized, as is the important role of the private sector. Members of national legislatures can have a major role to play, especially in enacting appropriate domestic legislation for implementing the present Programme of Action, allocating appropriate financial resources, ensuring accountability of expenditure and raising public awareness of population issues.


    13.4. The objectives are:

    1. To incorporate population concerns in all relevant national development strategies, plans, policies and programmes;

    2. To foster active involvement of elected representatives of people, particularly parliamentarians, concerned groups, especially at the grass-roots level, and individuals, in formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating strategies, policies, plans and programmes in the field of population and development.


    13.5. Governments, with the active involvement of parliamentarians, locally elected bodies, communities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and women's groups, should work to increase awareness of population and development issues and formulate, implement and evaluate national strategies, policies, plans, programmes and projects that address population and development issues, including migration, as integral parts of their sectoral, intersectoral and overall development planning and implementation process. They should also promote and work to ensure adequate human resources and institutions to coordinate and carry out the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of population and development activities.

    13.6. Governments and parliamentarians, in collaboration with the international community and non-governmental organizations, should make the necessary plans in accordance with national concerns and priorities and take the actions required to measure, assess, monitor and evaluate progress towards meeting the goals of the present Programme of Action. In this connection, the active participation of the private sector and the research community is to be encouraged.

    B. Programme management and human resource development

    Basis for action

    13.7. Building the capacity and self-reliance of countries to undertake concerted national action to promote sustained economic growth, to further sustainable national development and to improve the quality of life for the people is a fundamental goal. This requires the retention, motivation and participation of appropriately trained personnel working within effective institutional arrangements, as well as relevant involvement by the private sector and non-governmental organizations. The lack of adequate management skills, particularly in the least developed countries, critically reduces the ability for strategic planning, weakens programme execution, lessens the quality of services and thus diminishes the usefulness of programmes to their beneficiaries. The recent trend towards decentralization of authority in national population and development programmes, particularly in government programmes, significantly increases the requirement for trained staff to meet new or expanded responsibilities at the lower administrative levels. It also modifies the "skill mix" required in central institutions, with policy analysis, evaluation and strategic planning having higher priority than previously.


    13.8. The objectives are:

    1. To improve national capacities and the cost-effectiveness, quality and impact of national population and development strategies, plans, policies and programmes, while ensuring their accountability to all persons served, in particular the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society, including the rural population and adolescents;

    2. To facilitate and accelerate the collection, analysis and flow of data and information between actors in national population and development programmes in order to enhance the formulation of strategies, policies, plans and programmes and monitor and evaluate their implementation and impact;

    3. To increase the skill level and accountability of managers and others involved in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national population and development strategies, policies, plans and programmes;

    4. To incorporate user and gender perspectives in training programmes and ensure the availability, motivation and retention of appropriately trained personnel, including women, for the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national population and development strategies, policies, plans and programmes.


    13.9. Countries should:

    1. Formulate and implement human resource development programmes in a manner that explicitly addresses the needs of population and development strategies, policies, plans and programmes, giving special consideration to the basic education, training and employment of women at all levels, especially at decision-making and managerial levels, and to the incorporation of user and gender perspectives throughout the training programmes;

    2. Ensure the nationwide and efficient placement of trained personnel managing population and development strategies, policies, plans and programmes;

    3. Continuously upgrade the management skills of service delivery personnel to enhance the cost-effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the social services sector;

    4. Rationalize remuneration and related matters, terms and conditions of service to ensure equal pay for equal work by women and men and the retention and advancement of managerial and technical personnel involved in population and development programmes, and thereby improve national execution of these programmes;

    5. Establish innovative mechanisms to promote experience-sharing in population and development programme management within and among countries at subregional, regional, interregional and international levels in order to foster relevant national expertise;

    6. Develop and maintain databases of national experts and institutions of excellence in order to foster the use of national competence, giving special consideration to the inclusion of women and youth;

    7. Ensure effective communication with, and the involvement of, programme beneficiaries at all levels, in particular at rural levels, in order to ensure better overall programme management.

    13.10. Governments should give special attention to the development and implementation of client-centred management information systems for population and development, and particularly for reproductive health, including family-planning and sexual health programmes, covering both governmental and non-governmental activities and containing regularly updated data on clientele, expenditures, infrastructure, service accessibility, output and quality of services.

    C. Resource mobilization and allocation

    Basis for action

    13.11. Allocation of resources for sustained human development at the national level generally falls into various sectoral categories. How countries can most beneficially allocate resources among various sectors depends largely on each country's social, economic, cultural and political realities as well as its policy and programme priorities. In general, the quality and success of programmes benefit from a balanced allocation of resources. In particular, population-related programmes play an important role in enabling, facilitating and accelerating progress in sustainable human development programmes, especially by contributing to the empowerment of women, improving the health of the people (particularly of women and children, and especially in the rural areas), slowing the growth rate of demand for social services, mobilizing community action and stressing the long-term importance of social-sector investments.

    13.12. Domestic resources provide the largest portion of funds for attaining development objectives. Domestic resource mobilization is, thus, one of the highest priority areas for focused attention to ensure the timely actions required to meet the objectives of the present Programme of Action. Both the public and the private sectors can potentially contribute to the resources required. Many of the countries seeking to pursue the additional goals and objectives of the Programme of Action, especially the least developed countries and other poor countries that are undergoing painful structural adjustments, are continuing to experience recessionary trends in their economies. Their domestic resource mobilization efforts to expand and improve their population and development programmes will need to be complemented by a significantly greater provision of financial and technical resources by the international community, as indicated in chapter XIV. In the mobilization of new and additional domestic resources and resources from donors, special attention needs to be given to adequate measures to address the basic needs of the most vulnerable groups of the population, particularly in the rural areas, and to ensure their access to social services.

    13.13. Based on the current large unmet demands for reproductive health services, including family planning, and the expected growth in numbers of women and men of reproductive age, demand for services will continue to grow very rapidly over the next two decades. This demand will be accelerated by growing interest in delayed child-bearing, better spacing of births and earlier completion of desired family size, and by easier access to services. Efforts to generate and make available higher levels of domestic resources, and to ensure their effective utilization, in support of service-delivery programmes and of associated information, education and communication activities, thus, need to be intensified.

    13.14. Basic reproductive health, including family-planning services, involving support for necessary training, supplies, infrastructure and management systems, especially at the primary health-care level, would include the following major components, which should be integrated into basic national programmes for population and reproductive health:

    1. In the family-planning services component - contraceptive commodities and service delivery; capacity-building for information, education and communication regarding family planning and population and development issues; national capacity-building through support for training; infrastructure development and upgrading of facilities; policy development and programme evaluation; management information systems; basic service statistics; and focused efforts to ensure good quality care;

    2. In the basic reproductive health services component - information and routine services for prenatal, normal and safe delivery and post-natal care; abortion (as specified in paragraph 8.25); information, education and communication about reproductive health, including sexually transmitted diseases, human sexuality and responsible parenthood, and against harmful practices; adequate counselling; diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive tract infections, as feasible; prevention of infertility and appropriate treatment, where feasible; and referrals, education and counselling services for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and for pregnancy and delivery complications;

    3. In the sexually transmitted diseases/HIV/AIDS prevention programme component - mass media and in-school education programmes, promotion of voluntary abstinence and responsible sexual behaviour and expanded distribution of condoms;

    4. In the basic research, data and population and development policy analysis component - national capacity-building through support for demographic as well as programme-related data collection and analysis, research, policy development and training.

    13.15. It has been estimated that, in the developing countries and countries with economies in transition, the implementation of programmes in the area of reproductive health, including those related to family planning, maternal health and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as other basic actions for collecting and analysing population data, will cost: $17.0 billion in 2000, $18.5 billion in 2005, $20.5 billion in 2010 and $21.7 billion in 2015; these are cost-estimates prepared by experts, based on experience to date, of the four components referred to above. These estimates should be reviewed and updated on the basis of the comprehensive approach reflected in paragraph 13.14 of the present Programme of Action, particularly with respect to the costs of implementing reproductive health service delivery. Of this, approximately 65 per cent is for the delivery system. Programme costs in the closely related components which should be integrated into basic national programmes for population and reproductive health are estimated as follows:

    1. The family-planning component is estimated to cost: $10.2 billion in 2000, $11.5 billion in 2005, $12.6 billion in 2010 and $13.8 billion in 2015. This estimate is based on census and survey data which help to project the number of couples and individuals who are likely to be using family-planning information and services. Projections of future costs allow for improvements in quality of care. While improved quality of care will increase costs per user to some degree, these increases are likely to be offset by declining costs per user as both prevalence and programme efficiency increase;

    2. The reproductive health component (not including the delivery-system costs summarized under the family-planning component) is estimated to add: $5.0 billion in 2000, $5.4 billion in 2005, $5.7 billion in 2010 and $6.1 billion in 2015. The estimate for reproductive health is a global total, based on experience with maternal health programmes in countries at different levels of development, selectively including other reproductive health services. The full maternal and child health impact of these interventions will depend on the provision of tertiary and emergency care, the costs of which should be met by overall health-sector budgets;

    3. The sexually transmitted diseases/HIV/AIDS prevention programme is estimated by the WHO Global Programme on AIDS to cost:

    $1.3 billion in 2000, $1.4 billion in 2005 and approximately $1.5 billion in 2010 and $1.5 billion in 2015;

  • The basic research, data and population and development policy analysis programme is estimated to cost: $500 million in 2000, $200 million in 2005, $700 million in 2010 and $300 million in 2015.

    13.16. It is tentatively estimated that up to two thirds of the costs will continue to be met by the countries themselves and in the order of one third from external sources. However, the least developed countries and other low-income developing countries will require a greater share of external resources on a concessional and grant basis. Thus, there will be considerable variation in needs for external resources for population programmes, between and within regions. The estimated global requirements for international assistance are outlined in paragraph 14.11.

    13.17. Additional resources will be needed to support programmes addressing population and development goals, particularly programmes seeking to attain the specific social- and economic-sector goals contained in the present Programme of Action.

    The health sector will require additional resources to strengthen the primary health-care delivery system, child survival programmes, emergency obstetrical care and broad-based programmes for the control of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, as well as the humane treatment and care of those infected with sexually transmitted diseases/HIV/AIDS, among others. The education sector will also require substantial and additional investments in order to provide universal basic education and to eliminate disparities in educational access owing to gender, geographical location, social or economic status etc.

    13.18. Additional resources will be needed for action programmes directed to improving the status and empowerment of women and their full participation in the development process (beyond ensuring their basic education). The full involvement of women in the design, implementation, management and monitoring of all development programmes will be an important component of such activities.

    13.19. Additional resources will be needed for action programmes to accelerate development programmes; generate employment; address environmental concerns, including unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; provide social services; achieve balanced distributions of population; and address poverty eradication through sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development. Important relevant programmes include those addressed in Agenda 21.

    13.20. The resources needed to implement the present Programme of Action require substantially increased investments in the near term. The benefits of these investments can be measured in future savings in sectoral requirements; sustainable patterns of production and consumption and sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development; and overall improvements in the quality of life.


    13.21. The objective is to achieve an adequate level of resource mobilization and allocation, at the community, national and international levels, for population programmes and for other related programmes, all of which seek to promote and accelerate social and economic development, improve the quality of life for all, foster equity and full respect for individual rights and, by so doing, contribute to sustainable development.


    13.22. Governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and local communities, assisted upon request by the international community, should strive to mobilize and effectively utilize the resources for population and development programmes that expand and improve the quality of reproductive health care, including family-planning and sexually transmitted diseases/HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. In line with the goal of the present Programme of Action to ensure universal availability of and access to high-quality reproductive health and family-planning services, particular emphasis must be put on meeting the needs of underserved population groups, including adolescents, taking into account the rights and responsibilities of parents and the needs of adolescents and the rural and the urban poor, and on ensuring the safety of services and their responsiveness to women, men and adolescents. In mobilizing resources for these purposes, countries should examine new modalities such as increased involvement of the private sector, the selective use of user fees, social marketing, cost-sharing and other forms of cost recovery. However, these modalities must not impede access to services and should be accompanied with adequate "safety net" measures.

    13.23. Governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and local communities, assisted upon request by the international community, should strive to mobilize the resources needed to reinforce social development goals, and in particular to satisfy the commitments Governments have undertaken previously with regard to Education for All (the Jomtien Declaration), the multisectoral goals of the World Summit for Children, Agenda 21 and other relevant international agreements, and to further mobilize the resources needed to meet the goals in the present Programme of Action. In this regard, Governments are urged to devote an increased proportion of public-sector expenditures to the social sectors, as well as an increased proportion of official development assistance, stressing, in particular, poverty eradication within the context of sustainable development.

    13.24. Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations should collaborate on an ongoing basis in the development of precise and reliable cost estimates, where appropriate, for each category of investment.

  • [Adopted at the 14th plenary meeting, on 13 September 1994; for the discussion, see chap. V.]

    Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development

    The International Conference on Population and Development,

    Having met in Cairo from 5 to 13 September 1994,

    1.Adopts the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which is annexed to the present resolution;

    2.Recommends to the General Assembly at its forty-ninth session that it endorse the Programme of Action as adopted by the Conference;

    3.Also recommends that the General Assembly consider at its forty-ninth session the synthesis of national reports on population and development prepared by the secretariat of the Conference.


    Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development*


    Chapter I: Preamble

    Chapter II: Principles

    Chapter III: Interrelationships Between Population, Sustained Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

    1. Integrating population and development strategies

    2. Population, sustained economic growth and poverty

    3. Population and environment

    Chapter IV: Gender Equality, Equity and Empowerment of Women

    1. Empowerment and status of women

    2. The girl child

    3. Male responsibilities and participation

    Chapter V: The Family, Its Roles, Rights, Composition and Structure

    1. Diversity of family structure and composition

    2. Socio-economic support to the family

    Chapter VI: Population Growth and Structure

    1. Fertility, mortality and population growth rates

    2. Children and youth

    3. Elderly people

    4. Indigenous people

    5. Persons with disabilities

    Chapter VII: Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health

    1. Reproductive rights and reproductive health

    2. Family planning

    3. Sexually transmitted diseases and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

    4. Human sexuality and gender relations

    5. Adolescents

    Chapter VIII: Health, Morbidity and Mortality

    1. Primary health care and the health-care sector

    2. Child survival and health

    3. Women's health and safe motherhood

    4. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

    Chapter IX: Population Distribution, Urbanization and Internal Migration

    1. Population distribution and sustainable development

    2. Population growth in large urban agglomerations

    3. Internally displaced persons

    Chapter X: International Migration

    1. International migration and development

    2. Documented migrants

    3. Undocumented migrants

    4. Refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons

    Chapter XI: Population, Development and Education

    1. Education, population and sustainable development

    2. Population information, education and communication

    Chapter XII: Technology, Research and Development


    1. Basic data collection, analysis and dissemination

    2. Reproductive health research

    3. Social and economic research

    Chapter XIII: National Action

    1. National policies and plans of action

    2. Programme management and human resource development

    3. Resource mobilization and allocation

    Chapter XIV: International Cooperation

    1. Responsibilities of partners in development

    2. Towards a new commitment to funding population and development

    Chapter XV: Partnership with the Non-Governmental Sector

    1. Local, national and international non-governmental organizations

    2. The private sector

    Chapter XVI: Follow-up to the Conference

    1. Activities at the national level

    2. Subregional and regional activities

    3. Activities at the international level

    * The official language of the Programme of Action is English, with the exception of paragraph 8.25, which was negotiated in all six official languages of the United Nations.

    Chapter I


    1.1. The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development occurs at a defining moment in the history of international cooperation. With the growing recognition of global population, development and environmental interdependence, the opportunity to adopt suitable macro- and socio-economic policies to promote sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development in all countries and to mobilize human and financial resources for global problem-solving has never been greater. Never before has the world community had so many resources, so much knowledge and such powerful technologies at its disposal which, if suitably redirected, could foster sustained economic growth and sustainable development. None the less, the effective use of resources, knowledge and technologies is conditioned by political and economic obstacles at the national and international levels. Therefore, although ample resources have been available for some time, their use for socially equitable and environmentally sound development has been seriously limited.

    1.2. The world has undergone far-reaching changes in the past two decades. Significant progress in many fields important for human welfare has been made through national and international efforts. However, the developing countries are still facing serious economic difficulties and an unfavourable international economic environment, and the number of people living in absolute poverty has increased in many countries. Around the world many of the basic resources on which future generations will depend for their survival and well-being are being depleted and environmental degradation is intensifying, driven by unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, unprecedented growth in population, widespread and persistent poverty, and social and economic inequality. Ecological problems, such as global climate change, largely driven by unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, are adding to the threats to the well-being of future generations. There is an emerging global consensus on the need for increased international cooperation in regard to population in the context of sustainable development, for which Agenda 21 /1 provides a framework. Much has been achieved in this respect, but more needs to be done.

    1.3. The world population is currently estimated at 5.6 billion. While the rate of growth is on the decline, absolute increments have been increasing, currently exceeding 86 million persons per annum. Annual population increments are likely to remain above 86 million until the year 2015./2

    1.4. During the remaining six years of this critical decade, the world's nations by their actions or inactions will choose from among a range of alternative demographic futures. The low, medium and high variants of the United Nations population projections for the coming 20 years range from a low of 7.1 billion people to the medium variant of 7.5 billion and a high of 7.8 billion. The difference of 720 million people in the short span of 20 years exceeds the current population of the African continent. Further into the future, the projections diverge even more significantly. By the year 2050, the United Nations projections range from 7.9 billion to the medium variant of 9.8 billion and a high of 11.9 billion. Implementation of the goals and objectives contained in the present 20-year Programme of Action, which address many of the fundamental population, health, education and development challenges facing the entire human community, would result in world population growth during this period and beyond at levels below the United Nations medium projection.

    1.5. The International Conference on Population and Development is not an isolated event. Its Programme of Action builds on the considerable international consensus that has developed since the World Population Conference at Bucharest in 1974 /3 and the International Conference on Population at Mexico City in 1984,/4 to consider the broad issues of and interrelationships between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development, and advances in the education, economic status and empowerment of women. The 1994 Conference was explicitly given a broader mandate on development issues than previous population conferences, reflecting the growing awareness that population, poverty, patterns of production and consumption and the environment are so closely interconnected that none of them can be considered in isolation.

    1.6. The International Conference on Population and Development follows and builds on other important recent international activities, and its recommendations should be supportive of, consistent with and based on the agreements reached at the following:

    1. The World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, held in Nairobi in 1985;/5

    2. The World Summit for Children, held in New York in 1990;/6

    3. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992;/7

    4. The International Conference on Nutrition, held in Rome in 1992;/8

    5. The World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993;/9

    6. The International Year of the World's Indigenous People, 1993,/10 which would lead to the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People;/11

    7. The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in Barbados in 1994;/12

    8. The International Year of the Family, 1994./13

    1.7. The Conference outcomes are closely related to and will make significant contributions to other major conferences in 1995 and 1996, such as the World Summit for Social Development,/14 the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace,/15 the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), the elaboration of the Agenda for Development, as well as the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. These events are expected to highlight further the call of the 1994 Conference for greater investment in people, and for a new action agenda for the empowerment of women to ensure their full participation at all levels in the social, economic and political lives of their communities.

    1.8. Over the past 20 years, many parts of the world have undergone remarkable demographic, social, economic, environmental and political change. Many countries have made substantial progress in expanding access to reproductive health care and lowering birth rates, as well as in lowering death rates and raising education and income levels, including the educational and economic status of women. While the advances of the past two decades in areas such as increased use of contraception, decreased maternal mortality, implemented sustainable development plans and projects and enhanced educational programmes provide a basis for optimism about successful implementation of the present Programme of Action, much remains to be accomplished. The world as a whole has changed in ways that create important new opportunities for addressing population and development issues. Among the most significant are the major shifts in attitude among the world's people and their leaders in regard to reproductive health, family planning and population growth, resulting, inter alia, in the new comprehensive concept of reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health, as defined in the present Programme of Action. A particularly encouraging trend has been the strengthening of political commitment to population-related policies and family-planning programmes by many Governments. In this regard, sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development will enhance the ability of countries to meet the pressures of expected population growth; will facilitate the demographic transition in countries where there is an imbalance between demographic rates and social, economic and environmental goals; and will permit the balance and integration of the population dimension into other development-related policies.

    1.9. The population and development objectives and actions of the present Programme of Action will collectively address the critical challenges and interrelationships between population and sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development. In order to do so, adequate mobilization of resources at the national and international levels will be required as well as new and additional resources to the developing countries from all available funding mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources. Financial resources are also required to strengthen the capacity of national, regional, subregional and international institutions to implement this Programme of Action.

    1.10. The two decades ahead are likely to produce a further shift of rural populations to urban areas as well as continued high levels of migration between countries. These migrations are an important part of the economic transformations occurring around the world, and they present serious new challenges. Therefore, these issues must be addressed with more emphasis within population and development policies. By the year 2015, nearly 56 per cent of the global population is expected to live in urban areas, compared to under 45 per cent in 1994. The most rapid rates of urbanization will occur in the developing countries. The urban population of the developing regions was just 26 per cent in 1975, but is projected to rise to 50 per cent by 2015. This change will place enormous strain on existing social services and infrastructure, much of which will not be able to expand at the same rate as that of urbanization.

    1.11. Intensified efforts are needed in the coming 5, 10 and 20 years, in a range of population and development activities, bearing in mind the crucial contribution that early stabilization of the world population would make towards the achievement of sustainable development. The present Programme of Action addresses all those issues, and more, in a comprehensive and integrated framework designed to improve the quality of life of the current world population and its future generations. The recommendations for action are made in a spirit of consensus and international cooperation, recognizing that the formulation and implementation of population-related policies is the responsibility of each country and should take into account the economic, social and environmental diversity of conditions in each country, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of its people, as well as the shared but differentiated responsibilities of all the world's people for a common future.

    1.12. The present Programme of Action recommends to the international community a set of important population and development objectives, as well as qualitative and quantitative goals that are mutually supportive and of critical importance to these objectives. Among these objectives and goals are: sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development; education, especially for girls; gender equity and equality; infant, child and maternal mortality reduction; and the provision of universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning and sexual health.

    1.13. Many of the quantitative and qualitative goals of the present Programme of Action clearly require additional resources, some of which could become available from a reordering of priorities at the individual, national and international levels. However, none of the actions required - nor all of them combined - is expensive in the context of either current global development or military expenditures. A few would require little or no additional financial resources, in that they involve changes in lifestyles, social norms or government policies that can be largely brought about and sustained through greater citizen action and political leadership. But to meet the resource needs of those actions that do require increased expenditures over the next two decades, additional commitments will be required on the part of both developing and developed countries. This will be particularly difficult in the case of some developing countries and some countries with economies in transition that are experiencing extreme resource constraints.

    1.14. The present Programme of Action recognizes that over the next 20 years Governments are not expected to meet the goals and objectives of the International Conference on Population and Development single-handedly. All members of and groups in society have the right, and indeed the responsibility, to play an active part in efforts to reach those goals. The increased level of interest manifested by non-governmental organizations, first in the context of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the World Conference on Human Rights, and now in these deliberations, reflects an important and in many places rapid change in the relationship between Governments and a variety of non-governmental institutions. In nearly all countries new partnerships are emerging between government, business, non-governmental organizations and community groups, which will have a direct and positive bearing on the implementation of the present Programme of Action.

    1.15. While the International Conference on Population and Development does not create any new international human rights, it affirms the application of universally recognized human rights standards to all aspects of population programmes. It also represents the last opportunity in the twentieth century for the international community to collectively address the critical challenges and interrelationships between population and development. The Programme of Action will require the establishment of common ground, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds. The impact of this Conference will be measured by the strength of the specific commitments made here and the consequent actions to fulfil them, as part of a new global partnership among all the world's countries and peoples, based on a sense of shared but differentiated responsibility for each other and for our planetary home.

    Chapter II


    The implementation of the recommendations contained in the Programme of Action is the sovereign right of each country, consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people, and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights.

    International cooperation and universal solidarity, guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and in a spirit of partnership, are crucial in order to improve the quality of life of the peoples of the world.

    In addressing the mandate of the International Conference on Population and Development and its overall theme, the interrelationships between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development, and in their deliberations, the participants were and will continue to be guided by the following set of principles:

    Principle 1

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Principle 2

    Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. People are the most important and valuable resource of any nation. Countries should ensure that all individuals are given the opportunity to make the most of their potential. They have the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing, housing, water and sanitation.

    Principle 3

    The right to development is a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights, and the human person is the central subject of development. While development facilitates the enjoyment of all human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet the population, development and environment needs of present and future generations.

    Principle 4

    Advancing gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women, and the elimination of all kinds of violence against women, and ensuring women's ability to control their own fertility, are cornerstones of population and development-related programmes. The human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The full and equal participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex, are priority objectives of the international community.

    Principle 5

    Population-related goals and policies are integral parts of cultural, economic and social development, the principal aim of which is to improve the quality of life of all people.

    Principle 6

    Sustainable development as a means to ensure human well-being, equitably shared by all people today and in the future, requires that the interrelationships between population, resources, the environment and development should be fully recognized, properly managed and brought into harmonious, dynamic balance. To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate policies, including population-related policies, in order to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Principle 7

    All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world. The special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed, shall be given special priority. Countries with economies in transition, as well as all other countries, need to be fully integrated into the world economy.

    Principle 8

    Everyone has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States should take all appropriate measures to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, universal access to health-care services, including those related to reproductive health care, which includes family planning and sexual health. Reproductive health-care programmes should provide the widest range of services without any form of coercion. All couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so.

    Principle 9

    The family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened. It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. In different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the family exist. Marriage must be entered into with the free consent of the intending spouses, and husband and wife should be equal partners.

    Principle 10

    Everyone has the right to education, which shall be directed to the full development of human resources, and human dignity and potential, with particular attention to women and the girl child. Education should be designed to strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those relating to population and development. The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his or her education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with the parents.

    Principle 11

    All States and families should give the highest possible priority to children. The child has the right to standards of living adequate for its well-being and the right to the highest attainable standards of health, and the right to education. The child has the right to be cared for, guided and supported by parents, families and society and to be protected by appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sale, trafficking, sexual abuse, and trafficking in its organs.

    Principle 12

    Countries receiving documented migrants should provide proper treatment and adequate social welfare services for them and their families, and should ensure their physical safety and security, bearing in mind the special circumstances and needs of countries, in particular developing countries, attempting to meet these objectives or requirements with regard to undocumented migrants, in conformity with the provisions of relevant conventions and international instruments and documents. Countries should guarantee to all migrants all basic human rights as included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Principle 13

    Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. States have responsibilities with respect to refugees as set forth in the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

    Principle 14

    In considering the population and development needs of indigenous people, States should recognize and support their identity, culture and interests, and enable them to participate fully in the economic, political and social life of the country, particularly where their health, education and well-being are affected.

    Principle 15

    Sustained economic growth, in the context of sustainable development, and social progress require that growth be broadly based, offering equal opportunities to all people. All countries should recognize their common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development, and should continue to improve their efforts to promote sustained economic growth and to narrow imbalances in a manner that can benefit all countries, particularly the developing countries.

    Chapter III

    Interrelationships Between Population, Sustained Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

    A. Integrating population and development strategies

    Basis for action

    3.1. The everyday activities of all human beings, communities and countries are interrelated with population change, patterns and levels of use of natural resources, the state of the environment, and the pace and quality of economic and social development. There is general agreement that persistent widespread poverty as well as serious social and gender inequities have significant influences on, and are in turn influenced by, demographic parameters such as population growth, structure and distribution. There is also general agreement that unsustainable consumption and production patterns are contributing to the unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental degradation as well as to the reinforcement of social inequities and of poverty with the above-mentioned consequences for demographic parameters. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, adopted by the international community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, call for patterns of development that reflect the new understanding of these and other intersectoral linkages. Recognizing the longer term realities and implications of current actions, the development challenge is to meet the needs of present generations and improve their quality of life without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    3.2. Despite recent declines in birth rates in many countries, further large increases in population size are inevitable. Owing to the youthful age structure, for numerous countries the coming decades will bring substantial population increases in absolute numbers. Population movements within and between countries, including the very rapid growth of cities and the unbalanced regional distribution of population, will continue and increase in the future.

    3.3. Sustainable development implies, inter alia, long-term sustainability in production and consumption relating to all economic activities, including industry, energy, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, tourism and infrastructure, in order to optimize ecologically sound resource use and minimize waste. Macroeconomic and sectoral policies have, however, rarely given due attention to population considerations. Explicitly integrating population into economic and development strategies will both speed up the pace of sustainable development and poverty alleviation and contribute to the achievement of population objectives and an improved quality of life of the population.


    3.4. The objectives are to fully integrate population concerns into:

    1. Development strategies, planning, decision-making and resource allocation at all levels and in all regions, with the goal of meeting the needs, and improving the quality of life, of present and future generations;

    2. All aspects of development planning in order to promote social justice and to eradicate poverty through sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development.


    3.5. At the international, regional, national and local levels, population issues should be integrated into the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all policies and programmes relating to sustainable development. Development strategies must realistically reflect the short-, medium- and long-term implications of, and consequences for, population dynamics as well as patterns of production and consumption.

    3.6. Governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations and other concerned parties should undertake timely and periodic reviews of their development strategies, with the aim of assessing progress towards integrating population into development and environment programmes that take into account patterns of production and consumption and seek to bring about population trends consistent with the achievement of sustainable development and the improvement of the quality of life.

    3.7. Governments should establish the requisite internal institutional mechanisms and enabling environment, at all levels of society, to ensure that population factors are appropriately addressed within the decision-making and administrative processes of all relevant government agencies responsible for economic, environmental and social policies and programmes.

    3.8. Political commitment to integrated population and development strategies should be strengthened by public education and information programmes and by increased resource allocation through cooperation among Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and by improvement of the knowledge base through research and national and local capacity-building.

    3.9. To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, Governments should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies. Developed countries should take the lead in achieving sustainable consumption patterns and effective waste management.

    B. Population, sustained economic growth and poverty

    Basis for action

    3.10. Population policies should take into account, as appropriate, development strategies agreed upon in multilateral forums, in particular the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade,/16 the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s,/17 the outcomes of the eighth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, Agenda 21 and the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s./18

    3.11. Gains recorded in recent years in such indicators as life expectancy and national product, while significant and encouraging, do not, unfortunately, fully reflect the realities of life of hundreds of millions of men, women, adolescents and children. Despite decades of development efforts, both the gap between rich and poor nations and the inequalities within nations have widened. Serious economic, social, gender and other inequities persist and hamper efforts to improve the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. The number of people living in poverty stands at approximately 1 billion and continues to mount.

    3.12. All countries, more especially developing countries where almost all of the future growth of the world population will occur, and countries with economies in transition, face increasing difficulties in improving the quality of life of their people in a sustainable manner. Many developing countries and countries with economies in transition face major development obstacles, among which are those related to the persistence of trade imbalances, the slow-down in the world economy, the persistence of the debt-servicing problem, and the need for technologies and external assistance. The achievement of sustainable development and poverty eradication should be supported by macroeconomic policies designed to provide an appropriate international economic environment, as well as by good governance, effective national policies and efficient national institutions.

    3.13. Widespread poverty remains the major challenge to development efforts. Poverty is often accompanied by unemployment, malnutrition, illiteracy, low status of women, exposure to environmental risks and limited access to social and health services, including reproductive health services which, in turn, include family planning. All these factors contribute to high levels of fertility, morbidity and mortality, as well as to low economic productivity. Poverty is also closely related to inappropriate spatial distribution of population, to unsustainable use and inequitable distribution of such natural resources as land and water, and to serious environmental degradation.

    3.14. Efforts to slow down population growth, to reduce poverty, to achieve economic progress, to improve environmental protection, and to reduce unsustainable consumption and production patterns are mutually reinforcing. Slower population growth has in many countries bought more time to adjust to future population increases. This has increased those countries' ability to attack poverty, protect and repair the environment, and build the base for future sustainable development. Even the difference of a single decade in the transition to stabilization levels of fertility can have a considerable positive impact on quality of life.

    3.15. Sustained economic growth within the context of sustainable development is essential to eradicate poverty. Eradication of poverty will contribute to slowing population growth and to achieving early population stabilization. Investments in fields important to the eradication of poverty, such as basic education, sanitation, drinking water, housing, adequate food supply and infrastructure for rapidly growing populations, continue to strain already weak economies and limit development options. The unusually high number of young people, a consequence of high fertility rates, requires that productive jobs be created for a continually growing labour force under conditions of already widespread unemployment. The numbers of elderly requiring public support will also increase rapidly in the future. Sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development will be necessary to accommodate those pressures.


    3.16. The objective is to raise the quality of life for all people through appropriate population and development policies and programmes aimed at achieving poverty eradication, sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, human resource development and the guarantee of all human rights, including the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights. Particular attention is to be given to the socio-economic improvement of poor women in developed and developing countries. As women are generally the poorest of the poor and at the same time key actors in the development process, eliminating social, cultural, political and economic discrimination against women is a prerequisite of eradicating poverty, promoting sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development, ensuring quality family planning and reproductive health services, and achieving balance between population and available resources and sustainable patterns of consumption and production.


    3.17. Investment in human resource development, in accordance with national policy, must be given priority in population and development strategies and budgets, at all levels, with programmes specifically directed at increased access to information, education, skill development, employment opportunities, both formal and informal, and high-quality general and reproductive health services, including family planning and sexual health care, through the promotion of sustained economic growth within the context of sustainable development in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

    3.18. Existing inequities and barriers to women in the workforce should be eliminated and women's participation in all policy-making and implementation, as well as their access to productive resources, and ownership of land, and their right to inherit property should be promoted and strengthened. Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector should invest in, promote, monitor and evaluate the education and skill development of women and girls and the legal and economic rights of women, and in all aspects of reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health, in order to enable them to effectively contribute to and benefit from economic growth and sustainable development.

    3.19. High priority should be given by Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to meeting the needs, and increasing the opportunities for information, education, jobs, skill development and relevant reproductive health services, of all underserved members of society./19

    3.20. Measures should be taken to strengthen food, nutrition and agricultural policies and programmes, and fair trade relations, with special attention to the creation and strengthening of food security at all levels.

    3.21. Job creation in the industrial, agricultural and service sectors should be facilitated by Governments and the private sector through the establishment of more favourable climates for expanded trade and investment on an environmentally sound basis, greater investment in human resource development and the development of democratic institutions and good governance. Special efforts should be made to create productive jobs through policies promoting efficient and, where required, labour-intensive industries, and transfer of modern technologies.

    3.22. The international community should continue to promote a supportive economic environment, particularly for developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their attempt to eradicate poverty and achieve sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development. In the context of the relevant international agreements and commitments, efforts should be made to support those countries, in particular the developing countries, by promoting an open, equitable, secure, non-discriminatory and predictable international trading system; by promoting foreign direct investment; by reducing the debt burden; by providing new and additional financial resources from all available funding sources and mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources, including on concessional and grant terms according to sound and equitable criteria and indicators; by providing access to technologies; and by ensuring that structural adjustment programmes are so designed and implemented as to be responsive to social and environmental concerns.

    C. Population and environment

    Basis for action

    3.23. At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the international community agreed on objectives and actions aimed at integrating environment and development which were included in Agenda 21, other Conference outcomes and other international environmental agreements. Agenda 21 has been conceived as a response to the major environment and development challenges, including the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, such as poverty, consumption, demographic dynamics, human health and human settlement, and to a broad range of environmental and natural resource concerns. Agenda 21 leaves to the International Conference on Population and Development further consideration of the interrelationships between population and the environment.

    3.24. Meeting the basic human needs of growing populations is dependent on a healthy environment. These human dimensions need to be given attention in developing comprehensive policies for sustainable development in the context of population growth.

    3.25. Demographic factors, combined with poverty and lack of access to resources in some areas, and excessive consumption and wasteful production patterns in others, cause or exacerbate problems of environmental degradation and resource depletion and thus inhibit sustainable development.

    3.26. Pressure on the environment may result from rapid population growth, distribution and migration, especially in ecologically vulnerable ecosystems. Urbanization and policies that do not recognize the need for rural development also create environmental problems.

    3.27. Implementation of effective population policies in the context of sustainable development, including reproductive health and family-planning programmes, require new forms of participation by various actors at all levels in the policy-making process.


    3.28. Consistent with Agenda 21, the objectives are:

    1. To ensure that population, environmental and poverty eradication factors are integrated in sustainable development policies, plans and programmes;

    2. To reduce both unsustainable consumption and production patterns as well as negative impacts of demographic factors on the environment in order to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


    3.29. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the international community and regional and subregional organizations, should formulate and implement population policies and programmes to support the objectives and actions agreed upon in Agenda 21, other Conference outcomes and other international environmental agreements, taking into account the common but differentiated responsibilities reflected in those agreements. Consistent with the framework and priorities set forth in Agenda 21, the following actions, inter alia, are recommended to help achieve population and environment integration:

    1. Integrate demographic factors into environment impact assessments and other planning and decision-making processes aimed at achieving sustainable development;

    2. Take measures aimed at the eradication of poverty, with special attention to income-generation and employment strategies directed at the rural poor and those living within or on the edge of fragile ecosystems;

    3. Utilize demographic data to promote sustainable resource management, especially of ecologically fragile systems;

    4. Modify unsustainable consumption and production patterns through economic, legislative and administrative measures, as appropriate, aimed at fostering sustainable resource use and preventing environmental degradation;

    5. Implement policies to address the ecological implications of inevitable future increases in population numbers and changes in concentration and distribution, particularly in ecologically vulnerable areas and urban agglomerations.

    3.30. Measures should be taken to enhance the full participation of all relevant groups, especially women, at all levels of population and environmental decision-making to achieve sustainable management of natural resources.

    3.31. Research should be undertaken on the linkages among population, consumption and production, the environment and natural resources, and human health as a guide to effective sustainable development policies.

    3.32. Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector should promote public awareness and understanding for the implementation of the above-mentioned actions.

    Chapter IV

    Gender Equality, Equity and Empowerment of Women

    A. Empowerment and status of women

    Basis for action

    4.1. The empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of their political, social, economic and health status is a highly important end in itself. In addition, it is essential for the achievement of sustainable development. The full participation and partnership of both women and men is required in productive and reproductive life, including shared responsibilities for the care and nurturing of children and maintenance of the household. In all parts of the world, women are facing threats to their lives, health and well-being as a result of being overburdened with work and of their lack of power and influence. In most regions of the world, women receive less formal education than men, and at the same time, women's own knowledge, abilities and coping mechanisms often go unrecognized. The power relations that impede women's attainment of healthy and fulfilling lives operate at many levels of society, from the most personal to the highly public. Achieving change requires policy and programme actions that will improve women's access to secure livelihoods and economic resources, alleviate their extreme responsibilities with regard to housework, remove legal impediments to their participation in public life, and raise social awareness through effective programmes of education and mass communication. In addition, improving the status of women also enhances their decision-making capacity at all levels in all spheres of life, especially in the area of sexuality and reproduction. This, in turn, is essential for the long-term success of population programmes. Experience shows that population and development programmes are most effective when steps have simultaneously been taken to improve the status of women.

    4.2. Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process. More than 40 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that "everyone has the right to education". In 1990, Governments meeting at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand, committed themselves to the goal of universal access to basic education. But despite notable efforts by countries around the globe that have appreciably expanded access to basic education, there are approximately 960 million illiterate adults in the world, of whom two thirds are women. More than one third of the world's adults, most of them women, have no access to printed knowledge, to new skills or to technologies that would improve the quality of their lives and help them shape and adapt to social and economic change. There are 130 million children who are not enrolled in primary school and 70 per cent of them are girls.


    4.3. The objectives are:

    1. To achieve equality and equity based on harmonious partnership between men and women and enable women to realize their full potential;

    2. To ensure the enhancement of women's contributions to sustainable development through their full involvement in policy- and decision-making processes at all stages and participation in all aspects of production, employment, income-generating activities, education, health, science and technology, sports, culture and population-related activities and other areas, as active decision makers, participants and beneficiaries;

    3. To ensure that all women, as well as men, are provided with the education necessary for them to meet their basic human needs and to exercise their human rights.


    4.4. Countries should act to empower women and should take steps to eliminate inequalities between men and women as soon as possible by:

    1. Establishing mechanisms for women's equal participation and equitable representation at all levels of the political process and public life in each community and society and enabling women to articulate their concerns and needs;

    2. Promoting the fulfilment of women's potential through education, skill development and employment, giving paramount importance to the elimination of poverty, illiteracy and ill health among women;

    3. Eliminating all practices that discriminate against women; assisting women to establish and realize their rights, including those that relate to reproductive and sexual health;

    4. Adopting appropriate measures to improve women's ability to earn income beyond traditional occupations, achieve economic self-reliance, and ensure women's equal access to the labour market and social security systems;

    5. Eliminating violence against women;

    6. Eliminating discriminatory practices by employers against women, such as those based on proof of contraceptive use or pregnancy status;

    7. Making it possible, through laws, regulations and other appropriate measures, for women to combine the roles of child-bearing, breast-feeding and child-rearing with participation in the workforce.

    4.5. All countries should make greater efforts to promulgate, implement and enforce national laws and international conventions to which they are party, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, that protect women from all types of economic discrimination and from sexual harassment, and to implement fully the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. Countries are urged to sign, ratify and implement all existing agreements that promote women's rights.

    4.6. Governments at all levels should ensure that women can buy, hold and sell property and land equally with men, obtain credit and negotiate contracts in their own name and on their own behalf and exercise their legal rights to inheritance.

    4.7. Governments and employers are urged to eliminate gender discrimination in hiring, wages, benefits, training and job security with a view to eliminating gender-based disparities in income.

    4.8. Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations should ensure that their personnel policies and practices comply with the principle of equitable representation of both sexes, especially at the managerial and policy-making levels, in all programmes, including population and development programmes.

    Specific procedures and indicators should be devised for gender-based analysis of development programmes and for assessing the impact of those programmes on women's social, economic and health status and access to resources.

    4.9. Countries should take full measures to eliminate all forms of exploitation, abuse, harassment and violence against women, adolescents and children. This implies both preventive actions and rehabilitation of victims. Countries should prohibit degrading practices, such as trafficking in women, adolescents and children and exploitation through prostitution, and pay special attention to protecting the rights and safety of those who suffer from these crimes and those in potentially exploitable situations, such as migrant women, women in domestic service and schoolgirls. In this regard, international safeguards and mechanisms for cooperation should be put in place to ensure that these measures are implemented.

    4.10. Countries are urged to identify and condemn the systematic practice of rape and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment of women as a deliberate instrument of war and ethnic cleansing and take steps to assure that full assistance is provided to the victims of such abuse for their physical and mental rehabilitation.

    4.11. The design of family health and other development interventions should take better account of the demands on women's time from the responsibilities of child-rearing, household work and income-generating activities. Male responsibilities should be emphasized with respect to child-rearing and housework. Greater investments should be made in appropriate measures to lessen the daily burden of domestic responsibilities, the greatest share of which falls on women. Greater attention should be paid to the ways in which environmental degradation and changes in land use adversely affect the allocation of women's time. Women's domestic working environments should not adversely affect their health.

    4.12. Every effort should be made to encourage the expansion and strengthening of grass-roots, community-based and activist groups for women. Such groups should be the focus of national campaigns to foster women's awareness of the full range of their legal rights, including their rights within the family, and to help women organize to achieve those rights.

    4.13. Countries are strongly urged to enact laws and to implement programmes and policies which will enable employees of both sexes to organize their family and work responsibilities through flexible work-hours, parental leave, day-care facilities, maternity leave, policies that enable working mothers to breast-feed their children, health insurance and other such measures. Similar rights should be ensured to those working in the informal sector.

    4.14. Programmes to meet the needs of growing numbers of elderly people should fully take into account that women represent the larger proportion of the elderly and that elderly women generally have a lower socio-economic status than elderly men.

    B. The girl child

    Basis for action

    4.15. Since in all societies discrimination on the basis of sex often starts at the earliest stages of life, greater equality for the girl child is a necessary first step in ensuring that women realize their full potential and become equal partners in development. In a number of countries, the practice of prenatal sex selection, higher rates of mortality among very young girls, and lower rates of school enrolment for girls as compared with boys, suggest that "son preference" is curtailing the access of girl children to food, education and health care. This is often compounded by the increasing use of technologies to determine foetal sex, resulting in abortion of female foetuses. Investments made in the girl child's health, nutrition and education, from infancy through adolescence, are critical.


    4.16. The objectives are:

    1. To eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child and the root causes of son preference, which results in harmful and unethical practices regarding female infanticide and prenatal sex selection;

    2. To increase public awareness of the value of the girl child, and concurrently, to strengthen the girl child's self-image, self-esteem and status;

    3. To improve the welfare of the girl child, especially in regard to health, nutrition and education.


    4.17. Overall, the value of girl children to both their family and society must be expanded beyond their definition as potential child-bearers and caretakers and reinforced through the adoption and implementation of educational and social policies that encourage their full participation in the development of the societies in which they live. Leaders at all levels of the society must speak out and act forcefully against patterns of gender discrimination within the family, based on preference for sons. One of the aims should be to eliminate excess mortality of girls, wherever such a pattern exists. Special education and public information efforts are needed to promote equal treatment of girls and boys with respect to nutrition, health care, education and social, economic and political activity, as well as equitable inheritance rights.

    4.18. Beyond the achievement of the goal of universal primary education in all countries before the year 2015, all countries are urged to ensure the widest and earliest possible access by girls and women to secondary and higher levels of education, as well as to vocational education and technical training, bearing in mind the need to improve the quality and relevance of that education.

    4.19. Schools, the media and other social institutions should seek to eliminate stereotypes in all types of communication and educational materials that reinforce existing inequities between males and females and undermine girls' self-esteem. Countries must recognize that, in addition to expanding education for girls, teachers' attitudes and practices, school curricula and facilities must also change to reflect a commitment to eliminate all gender bias, while recognizing the specific needs of the girl child.

    4.20. Countries should develop an integrated approach to the special nutritional, general and reproductive health, education and social needs of girls and young women, as such additional investments in adolescent girls can often compensate for earlier inadequacies in their nutrition and health care.

    4.21. Governments should strictly enforce laws to ensure that marriage is entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. In addition, Governments should strictly enforce laws concerning the minimum legal age of consent and the minimum age at marriage and should raise the minimum age at marriage where necessary. Governments and non-governmental organizations should generate social support for the enforcement of laws on the minimum legal age at marriage, in particular by providing educational and employment opportunities.

    4.22. Governments are urged to prohibit female genital mutilation wherever it exists and to give vigorous support to efforts among non-governmental and community organizations and religious institutions to eliminate such practices.

    4.23. Governments are urged to take the necessary measures to prevent infanticide, prenatal sex selection, trafficking in girl children and use of girls in prostitution and pornography.

    C. Male responsibilities and participation

    Basis for action

    4.24. Changes in both men's and women's knowledge, attitudes and behaviour are necessary conditions for achieving the harmonious partnership of men and women. Men play a key role in bringing about gender equality since, in most societies, men exercise preponderant power in nearly every sphere of life, ranging from personal decisions regarding the size of families to the policy and programme decisions taken at all levels of Government. It is essential to improve communication between men and women on issues of sexuality and reproductive health, and the understanding of their joint responsibilities, so that men and women are equal partners in public and private life.


    4.25. The objective is to promote gender equality in all spheres of life, including family and community life, and to encourage and enable men to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behaviour and their social and family roles.


    4.26. The equal participation of women and men in all areas of family and household responsibilities, including family planning, child-rearing and housework, should be promoted and encouraged by Governments. This should be pursued by means of information, education, communication, employment legislation and by fostering an economically enabling environment, such as family leave for men and women so that they may have more choice regarding the balance of their domestic and public responsibilities.

    4.27. Special efforts should be made to emphasize men's shared responsibility and promote their active involvement in responsible parenthood, sexual and reproductive behaviour, including family planning; prenatal, maternal and child health; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV; prevention of unwanted and high-risk pregnancies; shared control and contribution to family income, children's education, health and nutrition; and recognition and promotion of the equal value of children of both sexes. Male responsibilities in family life must be included in the education of children from the earliest ages. Special emphasis should be placed on the prevention of violence against women and children.

    4.28. Governments should take steps to ensure that children receive appropriate financial support from their parents by, among other measures, enforcing child-support laws. Governments should consider changes in law and policy to ensure men's responsibility to and financial support for their children and families. Such laws and policies should also encourage maintenance or reconstitution of the family unit. The safety of women in abusive relationships should be protected.

    4.29. National and community leaders should promote the full involvement of men in family life and the full integration of women in community life. Parents and schools should ensure that attitudes that are respectful of women and girls as equals are instilled in boys from the earliest possible age, along with an understanding of their shared responsibilities in all aspects of a safe, secure and harmonious family life. Relevant programmes to reach boys before they become sexually active are urgently needed.

    Chapter V

    The Family, Its Roles, Rights, Composition and Structure

    A. Diversity of family structure and composition

    Basis for action

    5.1. While various forms of the family exist in different social, cultural, legal and political systems, the family is the basic unit of society and as such is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. The process of rapid demographic and socio-economic change throughout the world has influenced patterns of family formation and family life, generating considerable change in family composition and structure. Traditional notions of gender-based division of parental and domestic functions and participation in the paid labour force do not reflect current realities and aspirations, as more and more women in all parts of the world take up paid employment outside the home. At the same time, widespread migration, forced shifts of population caused by violent conflicts and wars, urbanization, poverty, natural disasters and other causes of displacement have placed greater strains on the family, since assistance from extended family support networks is often no longer available. Parents are often more dependent on assistance from third parties than they used to be in order to reconcile work and family responsibilities. This is particularly the case when policies and programmes that affect the family ignore the existing diversity of family forms, or are insufficiently sensitive to the needs and rights of women and children.


    5.2. The objectives are:

    1. To develop policies and laws that better support the family, contribute to its stability and take into account its plurality of forms, particularly the growing number of single-parent households;

    2. To establish social security measures that address the social, cultural and economic factors behind the increasing costs of child-rearing;

    3. To promote equality of opportunity for family members, especially the rights of women and children in the family.


    5.3. Governments, in cooperation with employers, should provide and promote means to facilitate compatibility between labour force participation and parental responsibilities, especially for single-parent households with young children. Such means could include health insurance and social security, day-care centres and facilities for breast-feeding mothers within the work premises, kindergartens, part-time jobs, paid parental leave, paid maternity leave, flexible work schedules, and reproductive and child health services.

    5.4. When formulating socio-economic development policies, special consideration should be given to increasing the earning power of all adult members of economically deprived families, including the elderly and women who work in the home, and to enabling children to be educated rather than compelled to work. Particular attention should be paid to needy single parents, especially those who are responsible wholly or in part for the support of children and other dependants, through ensuring payment of at least minimum wages and allowances, credit, education, funding for women's self-help groups and stronger legal enforcement of male parental financial responsibilities.

    5.5. Governments should take effective action to eliminate all forms of coercion and discrimination in policies and practices. Measures should be adopted and enforced to eliminate child marriages and female genital mutilation. Assistance should be provided to persons with disabilities in the exercise of their family and reproductive rights and responsibilities.

    5.6. Governments should maintain and further develop mechanisms to document changes and undertake studies on family composition and structure, especially on the prevalence of one-person households, and single-parent and multigenerational families.

    B. Socio-economic support to the family

    Basis for action

    5.7. Families are sensitive to strains induced by social and economic changes. It is essential to grant particular assistance to families in difficult life situations. Conditions have worsened for many families in recent years, owing to lack of gainful employment and measures taken by Governments seeking to balance their budget by reducing social expenditures. There are increasing numbers of vulnerable families, including single-parent families headed by women, poor families with elderly members or those with disabilities, refugee and displaced families, and families with members affected by AIDS or other terminal diseases, substance dependence, child abuse and domestic violence. Increased labour migrations and refugee movements are an additional source of family tension and disintegration and are contributing to increased responsibilities for women. In many urban environments, millions of children and youths are left to their own devices as family ties break down, and hence are increasingly exposed to risks such as dropping out of school, labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.


    5.8. The objective is to ensure that all social and economic development policies are fully responsive to the diverse and changing needs and to the rights of families and their individual members, and provide necessary support and protection, particularly to the most vulnerable families and the most vulnerable family members.


    5.9. Governments should formulate family-sensitive policies in the field of housing, work, health, social security and education in order to create an environment supportive of the family, taking into account its various forms and functions, and should support educational programmes concerning parental roles, parental skills and child development. Governments should, in conjunction with other relevant parties, develop the capacity to monitor the impact of social and economic decisions and actions on the well-being of families, on the status of women within families, and on the ability of families to meet the basic needs of their members.

    5.10. All levels of Government, non-governmental organizations and concerned community organizations should develop innovative ways to provide more effective assistance to families and the individuals within them who may be affected by specific problems, such as extreme poverty, chronic unemployment, illness, domestic and sexual violence, dowry payments, drug or alcohol dependence, incest, and child abuse, neglect or abandonment.

    5.11. Governments should support and develop the appropriate mechanisms to assist families caring for children, the dependent elderly and family members with disabilities, including those resulting from HIV/AIDS, encourage the sharing of those responsibilities by men and women, and support the viability of multigenerational families.

    5.12. Governments and the international community should give greater attention to, and manifest greater solidarity with, poor families and families that have been victimized by war, drought, famine, natural disasters and racial and ethnic discrimination or violence. Every effort should be made to keep their members together, to reunite them in case of separation and to ensure access to government programmes designed to support and assist those vulnerable families.

    5.13. Governments should assist single-parent families, and pay special attention to the needs of widows and orphans. All efforts should be made to assist the building of family-like ties in especially difficult circumstances, for example, those involving street children.

    Chapter VI

    Population Growth and Structure

    A. Fertility, mortality and population growth rates

    Basis for action

    6.1. The growth of the world population is at an all-time high in absolute numbers, with current increments approaching 90 million persons annually. According to United Nations projections, annual population increments are likely to remain close to 90 million until the year 2015. While it had taken 123 years for world population to increase from 1 billion to 2 billion, succeeding increments of 1 billion took 33 years, 14 years and 13 years. The transition from the fifth to the sixth billion, currently under way, is expected to take only 11 years and to be completed by 1998.

    World population grew at the rate of 1.7 per cent per annum during the period 1985-1990, but is expected to decrease during the following decades and reach 1.0 per cent per annum by the period 2020-2025. Nevertheless, the attainment of population stabilization during the twenty-first century will require the implementation of all the policies and recommendations in the present Programme of Action.

    6.2. The majority of the world's countries are converging towards a pattern of low birth and death rates, but since those countries are proceeding at different speeds, the emerging picture is that of a world facing increasingly diverse demographic situations. In terms of national averages, during the period 1985-1990, fertility ranged from an estimated 8.5 children per woman in Rwanda to 1.3 children per woman in Italy, while expectation of life at birth, an indicator of mortality conditions, ranged from an estimated 41 years in Sierra Leone to 78.3 years in Japan. In many regions, including some countries with economies in transition, it is estimated that life expectancy at birth has decreased. During the period 1985-1990, 44 per cent of the world population were living in the 114 countries that had growth rates of more than 2 per cent per annum. These included nearly all the countries in Africa, whose population-doubling time averages about 24 years, two thirds of those in Asia and one third of those in Latin America. On the other hand, 66 countries (the majority of them in Europe), representing 23 per cent of the world population, had growth rates of less than 1 per cent per annum. Europe's population would take more than 380 years to double at current rates. These disparate levels and differentials have implications for the ultimate size and regional distribution of the world population and for the prospects for sustainable development. It is projected that between 1995 and 2015 the population of the more developed regions will increase by some 120 million, while the population of the less developed regions will increase by 1,727 million.


    6.3. Recognizing that the ultimate goal is the improvement of the quality of life of present and future generations, the objective is to facilitate the demographic transition as soon as possible in countries where there is an imbalance between demographic rates and social, economic and environmental goals, while fully respecting human rights. This process will contribute to the stabilization of the world population, and, together with changes in unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, to sustainable development and economic growth.


    6.4. Countries should give greater attention to the importance of population trends for development. Countries that have not completed their demographic transition should take effective steps in this regard within the context of their social and economic development and with full respect of human rights. Countries that have concluded the demographic transition should take necessary steps to optimize their demographic trends within the context of their social and economic development. These steps include economic development and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas, improvement of women's status, ensuring of universal access to quality primary education and primary health care, including reproductive health and family-planning services, and educational strategies regarding responsible parenthood and sexual education. Countries should mobilize all sectors of society in these efforts, including non-governmental organizations, local community groups and the private sector.

    6.5. In attempting to address population growth concerns, countries should recognize the interrelationships between fertility and mortality levels and aim to reduce high levels of infant, child and maternal mortality so as to lessen the need for high fertility and reduce the occurrence of high-risk births.

    B. Children and youth

    Basis for action

    6.6. Owing to declining mortality levels and the persistence of high fertility levels, a large number of developing countries continue to have very large proportions of children and young people in their populations. For the less developed regions as a whole, 36 per cent of the population is under age 15, and even with projected fertility declines, that proportion will still be about 30 per cent by the year 2015. In Africa, the proportion of the population under age 15 is 45 per cent, a figure that is projected to decline only slightly, to 40 per cent, in the year 2015. Poverty has a devastating impact on children's health and welfare. Children in poverty are at high risk for malnutrition and disease and for falling prey to labour exploitation, trafficking, neglect, sexual abuse and drug addiction. The ongoing and future demands created by large young populations, particularly in terms of health, education and employment, represent major challenges and responsibilities for families, local communities, countries and the international community. First and foremost among these responsibilities is to ensure that every child is a wanted child. The second responsibility is to recognize that children are the most important resource for the future and that greater investments in them by parents and societies are essential to the achievement of sustained economic growth and development.


    6.7. The objectives are:

    1. To promote to the fullest extent the health, well-being and potential of all children, adolescents and youth as representing the world's future human resources, in line with the commitments made in this respect at the World Summit for Children and in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

    2. To meet the special needs of adolescents and youth, especially young women, with due regard for their own creative capabilities, for social, family and community support, employment opportunities, participation in the political process, and access to education, health, counselling and high-quality reproductive health services;

    3. To encourage children, adolescents and youth, particularly young women, to continue their education in order to equip them for a better life, to increase their human potential, to help prevent early marriages and high-risk child-bearing and to reduce associated mortality and morbidity.


    6.8. Countries should give high priority and attention to all dimensions of the protection, survival and development of children and youth, particularly street children and youth, and should make every effort to eliminate the adverse effects of poverty on children and youth, including malnutrition and preventable diseases. Equal educational opportunities must be ensured for boys and girls at every level.

    6.9. Countries should take effective steps to address the neglect, as well as all types of exploitation and abuse, of children, adolescents and youth, such as abduction, rape and incest, pornography, trafficking, abandonment and prostitution. In particular, countries should take appropriate action to eliminate sexual abuse of children both within and outside their borders.

    6.10. All countries must enact and strictly enforce laws against economic exploitation, physical and mental abuse or neglect of children in keeping with commitments made under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant United Nations instruments. Countries should provide support and rehabilitation services to those who fall victims to such abuses.

    6.11. Countries should create a socio-economic environment conducive to the elimination of all child marriages and other unions as a matter of urgency, and should discourage early marriage. The social responsibilities that marriage entails should be reinforced in countries' educational programmes. Governments should take action to eliminate discrimination against young pregnant women.

    6.12. All countries must adopt collective measures to alleviate the suffering of children in armed conflicts and other disasters, and provide assistance for the rehabilitation of children who become victims of those conflicts and disasters.

    6.13. Countries should aim to meet the needs and aspirations of youth, particularly in the areas of formal and non-formal education, training, employment opportunities, housing and health, thereby ensuring their integration and participation in all spheres of society, including participation in the political process and preparation for leadership roles.

    6.14. Governments should formulate, with the active support of non-governmental organizations and the private sector, training and employment programmes. Primary importance should be given to meeting the basic needs of young people, improving their quality of life, and increasing their contribution to sustainable development.

    6.15. Youth should be actively involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of development activities that have a direct impact on their daily lives. This is especially important with respect to information, education and communication activities and services concerning reproductive and sexual health, including the prevention of early pregnancies, sex education and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Access to, as well as confidentiality and privacy of, these services must be ensured with the support and guidance of their parents and in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In addition, there is a need for educational programmes in favour of life planning skills, healthy lifestyles and the active discouragement of substance abuse.

    C. Elderly people

    Basis for action

    6.16. The decline in fertility levels, reinforced by continued declines in mortality levels, is producing fundamental changes in the age structure of the population of most societies, most notably record increases in the proportion and number of elderly persons, including a growing number of very elderly persons. In the more developed regions, approximately one person in every six is at least 60 years old, and this proportion will be close to one person in every four by the year 2025. The situation of developing countries that have experienced very rapid declines in their levels of fertility deserves particular attention. In most societies, women, because they live longer than men, constitute the majority of the elderly population and, in many countries, elderly poor women are especially vulnerable. The steady increase of older age groups in national populations, both in absolute numbers and in relation to the working-age population, has significant implications for a majority of countries, particularly with regard to the future viability of existing formal and informal modalities for assistance to elderly people. The economic and social impact of this "ageing of populations" is both an opportunity and a challenge to all societies. Many countries are currently re-examining their policies in the light of the principle that elderly people constitute a valuable and important component of a society's human resources. They are also seeking to identify how best to assist elderly people with long-term support needs.


    6.17. The objectives are:

    1. To enhance, through appropriate mechanisms, the self-reliance of elderly people, and to create conditions that promote quality of life and enable them to work and live independently in their own communities as long as possible or as desired;

    2. To develop systems of health care as well as systems of economic and social security in old age, where appropriate, paying special attention to the needs of women;

    3. To develop a social support system, both formal and informal, with a view to enhancing the ability of families to take care of elderly people within the family.


    6.18. All levels of government in medium- and long-term socio-economic planning should take into account the increasing numbers and proportions of elderly people in the population. Governments should develop social security systems that ensure greater intergenerational and intragenerational equity and solidarity and that provide support to elderly people through the encouragement of multigenerational families, and the provision of long-term support and services for growing numbers of frail older people.

    6.19. Governments should seek to enhance the self-reliance of elderly people to facilitate their continued participation in society. In consultation with elderly people, Governments should ensure that the necessary conditions are developed to enable elderly people to lead self-determined, healthy and productive lives and to make full use of the skills and abilities they have acquired in their lives for the benefit of society. The valuable contribution that elderly people make to families and society, especially as volunteers and caregivers, should be given due recognition and encouragement.

    6.20. Governments, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and the private sector, should strengthen formal and informal support systems and safety nets for elderly people and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against elderly people in all countries, paying special attention to the needs of elderly women.

    D. Indigenous people

    Basis for action

    6.21. Indigenous people have a distinct and important perspective on population and development relationships, frequently quite different from those of the populations with which they interrelate within national boundaries. In some regions of the world, indigenous people, after long periods of population loss, are experiencing steady and in some places rapid population growth resulting from declining mortality, although morbidity and mortality are generally still much higher than for other sections of the national population. In other regions, however, they are still experiencing a steady population decline as a result of contact with external diseases, loss of land and resources, ecological destruction, displacement, resettlement and disruption of their families, communities and social systems.

    6.22. The situation of many indigenous groups is often characterized by discrimination and oppression, which are sometimes even institutionalized in national laws and structures of governance. In many cases, unsustainable patterns of production and consumption in the society at large are a key factor in the ongoing destruction of the ecological stability of their lands, as well as in an ongoing exertion of pressure to displace them from those lands. Indigenous people believe that recognition of their rights to their ancestral lands is inextricably linked to sustainable development. Indigenous people call for increased respect for indigenous culture, spirituality, lifestyles and sustainable development models, including traditional systems of land tenure, gender relations, use of resources and knowledge and practice of family planning. At national, regional and international levels, the perspectives of indigenous people have gained increasing recognition, as reflected, inter alia, in the presence of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and the proclamation by the General Assembly of the year 1993 as the International Year of the World's Indigenous People.

    6.23. The decision of the international community to proclaim an International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, to commence on 10 December 1994, represents a further important step towards fulfilment of the aspirations of indigenous people. The goal of the Decade, which is the strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health, is acknowledged as directly related to the purpose of the International Conference on Population and Development and the present Programme of Action. Accordingly, the distinct perspectives of indigenous people are incorporated throughout the present Programme of Action within the context of its specific chapters.


    6.24. The objectives are:

    1. To incorporate the perspectives and needs of indigenous communities into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the population, development and environment programmes that affect them;

    2. To ensure that indigenous people receive population-and development-related services that they deem socially, culturally and ecologically appropriate;

    3. To address social and economic factors that act to disadvantage indigenous people.


    6.25. Governments and other important institutions in society should recognize the distinct perspective of indigenous people on aspects of population and development and, in consultation with indigenous people and in collaboration with concerned non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, should address their specific needs, including needs for primary health care and reproductive health services. All human rights violations and discrimination, especially all forms of coercion, must be eliminated.

    6.26. Within the context of the activities of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, the United Nations should, in full cooperation and collaboration with indigenous people and their relevant organizations, develop an enhanced understanding of indigenous people and compile data on their demographic characteristics, both current and historical, as a means of improving the understanding of the population status of indigenous people. Special efforts are necessary to integrate statistics pertaining to indigenous populations into the national data-collection system.

    6.27. Governments should respect the cultures of indigenous people and enable them to have tenure and manage their lands, protect and restore the natural resources and ecosystems on which indigenous communities depend for their survival and well-being and, in consultation with indigenous people, take this into account in the formulation of national population and development policies.

    E. Persons with disabilities

    Basis for action

    6.28. Persons with disabilities constitute a significant proportion of the population. The implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (1983-1992) contributed towards increased awareness and expanded knowledge of disability issues, increased the role played by persons with disabilities and by concerned organizations, and contributed towards the improvement and expansion of disability legislation. However, there remains a pressing need for continued action to promote effective measures for the prevention of disability, for rehabilitation and for the realization of the goals of full participation and equality for persons with disabilities. In its resolution 47/88 of 16 December 1992, the General Assembly encouraged the consideration by, inter alia, the International Conference on Population and Development, of disability issues relevant to the subject-matter of the Conference.


    6.29. The objectives are:

    1. To ensure the realization of the rights of all persons with disabilities, and their participation in all aspects of social, economic and cultural life;

    2. To create, improve and develop necessary conditions that will ensure equal opportunities for persons with disabilities and the valuing of their capabilities in the process of economic and social development;

    3. To ensure the dignity and promote the self-reliance of persons with disabilities.


    6.30. Governments at all levels should consider the needs of persons with disabilities in terms of ethical and human rights dimensions. Governments should recognize needs concerning, inter alia, reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health, HIV/AIDS, information, education and communication. Governments should eliminate specific forms of discrimination that persons with disabilities may face with regard to reproductive rights, household and family formation, and international migration, while taking into account health and other considerations relevant under national immigration regulations.

    6.31. Governments at all levels should develop the infrastructure to address the needs of persons with disabilities, in particular with regard to their education, training and rehabilitation.

    6.32. Governments at all levels should promote mechanisms ensuring the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and reinforce their capabilities of integration.

    6.33. Governments at all levels should implement and promote a system of follow-up of social and economic integration of persons with disabilities.

    Chapter VII

    Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health

    7.1. This chapter is especially guided by the principles contained in chapter II and in particular the introductory paragraphs.

    A. Reproductive rights and reproductive health

    Basis for action

    7.2. Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant. In line with the above definition of reproductive health, reproductive health care is defined as the constellation of methods, techniques and services that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations, and not merely counselling and care related to reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases.

    7.3. Bearing in mind the above definition, reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents. In the exercise of this right, they should take into account the needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities towards the community. The promotion of the responsible exercise of these rights for all people should be the fundamental basis for government- and community-supported policies and programmes in the area of reproductive health, including family planning. As part of their commitment, full attention should be given to the promotion of mutually respectful and equitable gender relations and particularly to meeting the educational and service needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality. Reproductive health eludes many of the world's people because of such factors as: inadequate levels of knowledge about human sexuality and inappropriate or poor-quality reproductive health information and services; the prevalence of high-risk sexual behaviour; discriminatory social practices; negative attitudes towards women and girls; and the limited power many women and girls have over their sexual and reproductive lives. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable because of their lack of information and access to relevant services in most countries. Older women and men have distinct reproductive and sexual health issues which are often inadequately addressed.

    7.4. The implementation of the present Programme of Action is to be guided by the above comprehensive definition of reproductive health, which includes sexual health.


    7.5. The objectives are:

    1. To ensure that comprehensive and factual information and a full range of reproductive health-care services, including family planning, are accessible, affordable, acceptable and convenient to all users;

    2. To enable and support responsible voluntary decisions about child-bearing and methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law and to have the information, education and means to do so;

    3. To meet changing reproductive health needs over the life cycle and to do so in ways sensitive to the diversity of circumstances of local communities.


    7.6. All countries should strive to make accessible through the primary health-care system, reproductive health to all individuals of appropriate ages as soon as possible and no later than the year 2015. Reproductive health care in the context of primary health care should, inter alia, include: family-planning counselling, information, education, communication and services; education and services for prenatal care, safe delivery and post-natal care, especially breast-feeding and infant and women's health care; prevention and appropriate treatment of infertility; abortion as specified in paragraph 8.25, including prevention of abortion and the management of the consequences of abortion; treatment of reproductive tract infections; sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive health conditions; and information, education and counselling, as appropriate, on human sexuality, reproductive health and responsible parenthood. Referral for family-planning services and further diagnosis and treatment for complications of pregnancy, delivery and abortion, infertility, reproductive tract infections, breast cancer and cancers of the reproductive system, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS should always be available, as required. Active discouragement of harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, should also be an integral component of primary health care, including reproductive health-care programmes.

    7.7. Reproductive health-care programmes should be designed to serve the needs of women, including adolescents, and must involve women in the leadership, planning, decision-making, management, implementation, organization and evaluation of services. Governments and other organizations should take positive steps to include women at all levels of the health-care system.

    7.8. Innovative programmes must be developed to make information, counselling and services for reproductive health accessible to adolescents and adult men. Such programmes must both educate and enable men to share more equally in family planning and in domestic and child-rearing responsibilities and to accept the major responsibility for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

    Programmes must reach men in their workplaces, at home and where they gather for recreation. Boys and adolescents, with the support and guidance of their parents, and in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, should also be reached through schools, youth organizations and wherever they congregate. Voluntary and appropriate male methods for contraception, as well as for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, should be promoted and made accessible with adequate information and counselling.

    7.9. Governments should promote much greater community participation in reproductive health-care services by decentralizing the management of public health programmes and by forming partnerships in cooperation with local non-governmental organizations and private health-care providers. All types of non-governmental organizations, including local women's groups, trade unions, cooperatives, youth programmes and religious groups, should be encouraged to become involved in the promotion of better reproductive health.

    7.10. Without jeopardizing international support for programmes in developing countries, the international community should, upon request, give consideration to the training, technical assistance, short-term contraceptive supply needs and the needs of the countries in transition from centrally managed to market economies, where reproductive health is poor and in some cases deteriorating. Those countries, at the same time, must themselves give higher priority to reproductive health services, including a comprehensive range of contraceptive means, and must address their current reliance on abortion for fertility regulation by meeting the need of women in those countries for better information and more choices on an urgent basis.

    7.11. Migrants and displaced persons in many parts of the world have limited access to reproductive health care and may face specific serious threats to their reproductive health and rights. Services must be particularly sensitive to the needs of individual women and adolescents and responsive to their often powerless situation, with particular attention to those who are victims of sexual violence.

    B. Family planning

    Basis for action

    7.12. The aim of family-planning programmes must be to enable couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to do so and to ensure informed choices and make available a full range of safe and effective methods. The success of population education and family-planning programmes in a variety of settings demonstrates that informed individuals everywhere can and will act responsibly in the light of their own needs and those of their families and communities. The principle of informed free choice is essential to the long-term success of family-planning programmes. Any form of coercion has no part to play. In every society there are many social and economic incentives and disincentives that affect individual decisions about child-bearing and family size. Over the past century, many Governments have experimented with such schemes, including specific incentives and disincentives, in order to lower or raise fertility. Most such schemes have had only marginal impact on fertility and in some cases have been counterproductive. Governmental goals for family planning should be defined in terms of unmet needs for information and services. Demographic goals, while legitimately the subject of government development strategies, should not be imposed on family-planning providers in the form of targets or quotas for the recruitment of clients.

    7.13. Over the past three decades, the increasing availability of safer methods of modern contraception, although still in some respects inadequate, has permitted greater opportunities for individual choice and responsible decision-making in matters of reproduction throughout much of the world. Currently, about 55 per cent of couples in developing regions use some method of family planning. This figure represents nearly a fivefold increase since the 1960s. Family-planning programmes have contributed considerably to the decline in average fertility rates for developing countries, from about six to seven children per woman in the 1960s to about three to four children at present. However, the full range of modern family-planning methods still remains unavailable to at least 350 million couples world wide, many of whom say they want to space or prevent another pregnancy. Survey data suggest that approximately 120 million additional women world wide would be currently using a modern family-planning method if more accurate information and affordable services were easily available, and if partners, extended families and the community were more supportive. These numbers do not include the substantial and growing numbers of sexually active unmarried individuals wanting and in need of information and services. During the decade of the 1990s, the number of couples of reproductive age will grow by about 18 million per annum. To meet their needs and close the existing large gaps in services, family planning and contraceptive supplies will need to expand very rapidly over the next several years. The quality of family-planning programmes is often directly related to the level and continuity of contraceptive use and to the growth in demand for services. Family-planning programmes work best when they are part of or linked to broader reproductive health programmes that address closely related health needs and when women are fully involved in the design, provision, management and evaluation of services.


    7.14. The objectives are:

    1. To help couples and individuals meet their reproductive goals in a framework that promotes optimum health, responsibility and family well-being, and respects the dignity of all persons and their right to choose the number, spacing and timing of the birth of their children;

    2. To prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the incidence of high-risk pregnancies and morbidity and mortality;

    3. To make quality family-planning services affordable, acceptable and accessible to all who need and want them, while maintaining confidentiality;

    4. To improve the quality of family-planning advice, information, education, communication, counselling and services;

    5. To increase the participation and sharing of responsibility of men in the actual practice of family planning;

    6. To promote breast-feeding to enhance birth spacing.


    7.15. Governments and the international community should use the full means at their disposal to support the principle of voluntary choice in family planning.

    7.16. All countries should, over the next several years, assess the extent of national unmet need for good-quality family-planning services and its integration in the reproductive health context, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable and underserved groups in the population. All countries should take steps to meet the family-planning needs of their populations as soon as possible and should, in all cases by the year 2015, seek to provide universal access to a full range of safe and reliable family-planning methods and to related reproductive health services which are not against the law. The aim should be to assist couples and individuals to achieve their reproductive goals and give them the full opportunity to exercise the right to have children by choice.

    7.17. Governments at all levels are urged to institute systems of monitoring and evaluation of user-centred services with a view to detecting, preventing and controlling abuses by family-planning managers and providers and to ensure a continuing improvement in the quality of services. To this end, Governments should secure conformity to human rights and to ethical and professional standards in the delivery of family planning and related reproductive health services aimed at ensuring responsible, voluntary and informed consent and also regarding service provision. In-vitro fertilization techniques should be provided in accordance with appropriate ethical guidelines and medical standards.

    7.18. Non-governmental organizations should play an active role in mobilizing community and family support, in increasing access and acceptability of reproductive health services including family planning, and cooperate with Governments in the process of preparation and provision of care, based on informed choice, and in helping to monitor public- and private-sector programmes, including their own.

    7.19. As part of the effort to meet unmet needs, all countries should seek to identify and remove all the major remaining barriers to the utilization of family-planning services. Some of those barriers are related to the inadequacy, poor quality and cost of existing family-planning services. It should be the goal of public, private and non-governmental family-planning organizations to remove all programme-related barriers to family-planning use by the year 2005 through the redesign or expansion of information and services and other ways to increase the ability of couples and individuals to make free and informed decisions about the number, spacing and timing of births and protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

    7.20. Specifically, Governments should make it easier for couples and individuals to take responsibility for their own reproductive health by removing unnecessary legal, medical, clinical and regulatory barriers to information and to access to family-planning services and methods.

    7.21. All political and community leaders are urged to play a strong, sustained and highly visible role in promoting and legitimizing the provision and use of family-planning and reproductive health services. Governments at all levels are urged to provide a climate that is favourable to good-quality public and private family-planning and reproductive health information and services through all possible channels. Finally, leaders and legislators at all levels must translate their public support for reproductive health, including family planning, into adequate allocations of budgetary, human and administrative resources to help meet the needs of all those who cannot pay the full cost of services.

    7.22. Governments are encouraged to focus most of their efforts towards meeting their population and development objectives through education and voluntary measures rather than schemes involving incentives and disincentives.

    7.23. In the coming years, all family-planning programmes must make significant efforts to improve quality of care. Among other measures, programmes should:

    1. Recognize that appropriate methods for couples and individuals vary according to their age, parity, family-size preference and other factors, and ensure that women and men have information and access to the widest possible range of safe and effective family-planning methods in order to enable them to exercise free and informed choice;

    2. Provide accessible, complete and accurate information about various family-planning methods, including their health risks and benefits, possible side effects and their effectiveness in the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases;

    3. Make services safer, affordable, more convenient and accessible for clients and ensure, through strengthened logistical systems, a sufficient and continuous supply of essential high-quality contraceptives. Privacy and confidentiality should be ensured;

    4. Expand and upgrade formal and informal training in sexual and reproductive health care and family planning for all health-care providers, health educators and managers, including training in interpersonal communications and counselling;

    5. Ensure appropriate follow-up care, including treatment for side effects of contraceptive use;

    6. Ensure availability of related reproductive health services on site or through a strong referral mechanism;

    7. In addition to quantitative measures of performance, give more emphasis to qualitative ones that take into account the perspectives of current and potential users of services through such means as effective management information systems and survey techniques for the timely evaluation of services;

    8. Family-planning and reproductive health programmes should emphasize breast-feeding education and support services, which can simultaneously contribute to birth spacing, better maternal and child health and higher child survival.

    7.24. Governments should take appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion, which in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning, and in all cases provide for the humane treatment and counselling of women who have had recourse to abortion.

    7.25. In order to meet the substantial increase in demand for contraceptives over the next decade and beyond, the international community should move, on an immediate basis, to establish an efficient coordination system and global, regional and subregional facilities for the procurement of contraceptives and other commodities essential to reproductive health programmes of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The international community should also consider such measures as the transfer of technology to developing countries to enable them to produce and distribute high-quality contraceptives and other commodities essential to reproductive health services, in order to strengthen the self-reliance of those countries. At the request of the countries concerned, the World Health Organization should continue to provide advice on the quality, safety and efficacy of family-planning methods.

    7.26. Provision of reproductive health-care services should not be confined to the public sector but should involve the private sector and non-governmental organizations, in accordance with the needs and resources of their communities, and include, where appropriate, effective strategies for cost recovery and service delivery, including social marketing and community-based services. Special efforts should be made to improve accessibility through outreach services.

    C. Sexually transmitted diseases and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

    Basis for action

    7.27. The world-wide incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is high and increasing. The situation has worsened considerably with the emergence of the HIV epidemic. Although the incidence of some sexually transmitted diseases has stabilized in parts of the world, there have been increasing cases in many regions.

    7.28. The social and economic disadvantages that women face make them especially vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, as illustrated, for example, by their exposure to the high-risk sexual behaviour of their partners. For women, the symptoms of infections from sexually transmitted diseases are often hidden, making them more difficult to diagnose than in men, and the health consequences are often greater, including increased risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The risk of transmission from infected men to women is also greater than from infected women to men, and many women are powerless to take steps to protect themselves.


    7.29. The objective is to prevent, reduce the incidence of, and provide treatment for, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and the complications of sexually transmitted diseases such as infertility, with special attention to girls and women.


    7.30. Reproductive health programmes should increase their efforts to prevent, detect and treat sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive tract infections, especially at the primary health-care level. Special outreach efforts should be made to those who do not have access to reproductive health-care programmes.

    7.31. All health-care providers, including all family-planning providers, should be given specialized training in the prevention and detection of, and counselling on, sexually transmitted diseases, especially infections in women and youth, including HIV/AIDS.

    7.32. Information, education and counselling for responsible sexual behaviour and effective prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, should become integral components of all reproductive and sexual health services.

    7.33. Promotion and the reliable supply and distribution of high-quality condoms should become integral components of all reproductive health-care services. All relevant international organizations, especially the World Health Organization, should significantly increase their procurement. Governments and the international community should provide all means to reduce the spread and the rate of transmission of HIV/AIDS infection.

    D. Human sexuality and gender relations

    Basis for action

    7.34. Human sexuality and gender relations are closely interrelated and together affect the ability of men and women to achieve and maintain sexual health and manage their reproductive lives. Equal relationships between men and women in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the physical integrity of the human body, require mutual respect and willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of sexual behaviour. Responsible sexual behaviour, sensitivity and equity in gender relations, particularly when instilled during the formative years, enhance and promote respectful and harmonious partnerships between men and women.

    7.35. Violence against women, particularly domestic violence and rape, is widespread, and rising numbers of women are at risk from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases as a result of high-risk sexual behaviour on the part of their partners. In a number of countries, harmful practices meant to control women's sexuality have led to great suffering. Among them is the practice of female genital mutilation, which is a violation of basic rights and a major lifelong risk to women's health.


    7.36. The objectives are:

    1. To promote adequate development of responsible sexuality, permitting relations of equity and mutual respect between the genders and contributing to improving the quality of life of individuals;

    2. To ensure that women and men have access to the information, education and services needed to achieve good sexual health and exercise their reproductive rights and responsibilities.


    7.37. Support should be given to integral sexual education and services for young people, with the support and guidance of their parents and in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that stress responsibility of males for their own sexual health and fertility and that help them exercise those responsibilities. Educational efforts should begin within the family unit, in the community and in the schools at an appropriate age, but must also reach adults, in particular men, through non-formal education and a variety of community-based efforts.

    7.38. In the light of the urgent need to prevent unwanted pregnancies, the rapid spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence, Governments should base national policies on a better understanding of the need for responsible human sexuality and the realities of current sexual behaviour.

    7.39. Active and open discussion of the need to protect women, youth and children from any abuse, including sexual abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence, must be encouraged and supported by educational programmes at both national and community levels. Governments should set the necessary conditions and procedures to encourage victims to report violations of their rights. Laws addressing those concerns should be enacted where they do not exist, made explicit, strengthened and enforced, and appropriate rehabilitation services provided. Governments should also prohibit the production and the trade of child pornography.

    7.40. Governments and communities should urgently take steps to stop the practice of female genital mutilation and protect women and girls from all such similar unnecessary and dangerous practices. Steps to eliminate the practice should include strong community outreach programmes involving village and religious leaders, education and counselling about its impact on girls' and women's health, and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation for girls and women who have suffered mutilation. Services should include counselling for women and men to discourage the practice.

    E. Adolescents

    Basis for action

    7.41. The reproductive health needs of adolescents as a group have been largely ignored to date by existing reproductive health services. The response of societies to the reproductive health needs of adolescents should be based on information that helps them attain a level of maturity required to make responsible decisions. In particular, information and services should be made available to adolescents to help them understand their sexuality and protect them from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and subsequent risk of infertility. This should be combined with the education of young men to respect women's self-determination and to share responsibility with women in matters of sexuality and reproduction. This effort is uniquely important for the health of young women and their children, for women's self-determination and, in many countries, for efforts to slow the momentum of population growth. Motherhood at a very young age entails a risk of maternal death that is much greater than average, and the children of young mothers have higher levels of morbidity and mortality. Early child-bearing continues to be an impediment to improvements in the educational, economic and social status of women in all parts of the world. Overall for young women, early marriage and early motherhood can severely curtail educational and employment opportunities and are likely to have a long-term, adverse impact on their and their children's quality of life.

    7.42. Poor educational and economic opportunities and sexual exploitation are important factors in the high levels of adolescent child-bearing. In both developed and developing countries, adolescents faced with few apparent life choices have little incentive to avoid pregnancy and child-bearing.

    7.43. In many societies, adolescents face pressures to engage in sexual activity. Young women, particularly low-income adolescents, are especially vulnerable. Sexually active adolescents of both sexes are increasingly at high risk of contracting and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and they are typically poorly informed about how to protect themselves. Programmes for adolescents have proven most effective when they secure the full involvement of adolescents in identifying their reproductive and sexual health needs and in designing programmes that respond to those needs.


    7.44. The objectives are:

    1. To address adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues, including unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion/20 and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, through the promotion of responsible and healthy reproductive and sexual behaviour, including voluntary abstinence, and the provision of appropriate services and counselling specifically suitable for that age group;

    2. To substantially reduce all adolescent pregnancies.


    7.45. Recognizing the rights, duties and responsibiliti N1

    Chapter IX

    EPopulation Distribution, Urbanization and Internal Migration


    A. Population distribution and

    Chapter IX

    Population Distribution, Urbanization and Internal Migration

    A. Population distribution and sustainable development

    Basis for action

    9.1. In the early 1990s, approximately half of the Governments in the world, mostly those of developing countries, considered the patterns of population distribution in their territories to be unsatisfactory and wished to modify them. A key issue was the rapid growth of urban areas, which are expected to house more than half of the world population by 2005. Consequently, attention has mostly been paid to rural-urban migration, although rural-rural and urban-urban migration are in fact the dominant forms of spatial mobility in many countries. The process of urbanization is an intrinsic dimension of economic and social development and, in consequence, both developed and developing countries are going through the process of shifting from predominantly rural to predominantly urban societies. For individuals, migration is often a rational and dynamic effort to seek new opportunities in life. Cities are centres of economic growth, providing the impetus for socio-economic innovation and change. However, migration is also prompted by push factors, such as inequitable allocation of development resources, adoption of inappropriate technologies and lack of access to available land. The alarming consequences of urbanization visible in many countries are related to its rapid pace, to which Governments have been unable to respond with their current management capacities and practices. Even in developing countries, however, there are already signs of a changing pattern of population distribution, in the sense that the trend towards concentration in a few large cities is giving way to a more widespread distribution in medium-sized urban centres. This movement is also found in some developed countries, with people indicating preference for living in smaller places. Effective population distribution policies are those that, while respecting the right of individuals to live and work in the community of their choice, take into account the effects of development strategies on population distribution. Urbanization has profound implications for the livelihood, way of life and values of individuals. At the same time, migration has economic, social and environmental implications - both positive and negative - for the places of origin and destination.


    9.2. The objectives are:

    1. To foster a more balanced spatial distribution of the population by promoting in an integrated manner the equitable and ecologically sustainable development of major sending and receiving areas, with particular emphasis on the promotion of economic, social and gender equity based on respect for human rights, especially the right to development;

    2. To reduce the role of the various push factors as they relate to migration flows.


    9.3. Governments formulating population distribution policies should ensure that the objectives and goals of those policies are consistent with other development goals, policies and basic human rights. Governments, assisted by interested local, regional and intergovernmental agencies, should assess on a regular basis how the consequences of their economic and environmental policies, sectoral priorities, infrastructure investment and balance of resources among regional, central, provincial and local authorities influence population distribution and internal migration, both permanent and temporary.

    9.4. In order to achieve a balanced spatial distribution of production employment and population, countries should adopt sustainable regional development strategies and strategies for the encouragement of urban consolidation, the growth of small or medium-sized urban centres and the sustainable development of rural areas, including the adoption of labour-intensive projects, training for non-farming jobs for youth and effective transport and communication systems. To create an enabling context for local development, including the provision of services, Governments should consider decentralizing their administrative systems. This also involves giving responsibility for expenditure and the right to raise revenue to regional, district and local authorities. While vast improvements to the urban infrastructure and environmental strategies are essential in many developing countries to provide a healthy environment for urban residents, similar activities should also be pursued in rural areas.

    9.5. To reduce urban bias and isolated rural development, Governments should examine the feasibility of providing incentives to encourage the redistribution and relocation of industries and businesses from urban to rural areas and to encourage the establishment of new businesses, industrial units and income-generating projects in rural areas.

    9.6. Governments wishing to create alternatives to out-migration from rural areas should establish the preconditions for development in rural areas, actively support access to ownership or use of land and access to water resources, especially for family units, make and encourage investments to enhance rural productivity, improve rural infrastructure and social services and facilitate the establishment of credit, production and marketing cooperatives and other grass-roots organizations that give people greater control over resources and improve their livelihoods. Particular attention is needed to ensure that these opportunities are also made available to migrants' families remaining in the areas of origin.

    9.7. Governments should pursue development strategies offering tangible benefits to investors in rural areas and to rural producers. Governments should also seek to reduce restrictions on international trade in agricultural products.

    9.8. Governments should strengthen their capacities to respond to the pressures caused by rapid urbanization by revising and reorienting the agencies and mechanisms for urban management as necessary and ensuring the wide participation of all population groups in planning and decision-making on local development. Particular attention should be paid to land management in order to ensure economical land use, protect fragile ecosystems and facilitate the access of the poor to land in both urban and rural areas.

    9.9. Countries are urged to recognize that the lands of indigenous people and their communities should be protected from activities that are environmentally unsound or that the indigenous people concerned consider to be socially and culturally inappropriate. The term "lands" is understood to include the environment of the areas which the people concerned traditionally occupy.

    9.10. Countries should increase information and training on conservation practices and foster the creation of sustainable off-farm rural employment opportunities in order to limit the further expansion of human settlements to areas with fragile ecosystems.

    9.11. Population distribution policies should be consistent with such international instruments, when applicable, as the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949), including article 49.

    B. Population growth in large urban agglomerations

    Basis for action

    9.12. In many countries, the urban system is characterized by the overwhelming preponderance of a single major city or agglomeration.

    The tendency towards population concentration, fostered by the concentration of public and private resources in some cities, has also contributed to the rising number and size of mega-cities. In 1992, there were 13 cities with at least 10 million inhabitants and their number is expected to double by 2010, when most mega-cities will be located in the developing countries. The continued concentration of population in primate cities, and in mega-cities in particular, poses specific economic, social and environmental challenges for Governments. Yet large agglomerations also represent the most dynamic centres of economic and cultural activity in many countries. It is therefore essential that the specific problems of large cities be analysed and addressed, in full awareness of the positive contribution that large cities make to national economic and social development. The challenges faced by cities are often exacerbated by weak management capacities at the local level to address the consequences of population concentration, socio-economic development, environmental impacts and their interrelations.


    9.13. The objective is to enhance the management of urban agglomerations through more participatory and resource-conscious planning and management, review and revise the policies and mechanisms that contribute to the excessive concentration of population in large cities, and improve the security and quality of life of both rural and urban low-income residents.


    9.14. Governments should increase the capacity and competence of city and municipal authorities to manage urban development, to safeguard the environment, to respond to the need of all citizens, including urban squatters, for personal safety, basic infrastructure and services, to eliminate health and social problems, including problems of drugs and criminality, and problems resulting from overcrowding and disasters, and to provide people with alternatives to living in areas prone to natural and man-made disasters.

    9.15. In order to improve the plight of the urban poor, many of whom work in the informal sector of the economy, Governments are urged to promote the integration of migrants from rural areas into urban areas and to develop and improve their income-earning capability by facilitating their access to employment, credit, production, marketing opportunities, basic education, health services, vocational training and transportation, with special attention to the situation of women workers and women heads of households. Child-care centres and special protection and rehabilitation programmes for street children should be established.

    9.16. To finance the needed infrastructure and services in a balanced manner, taking into account the interests of the poor segments of society, local and national government agencies should consider introducing equitable cost-recovery schemes and increasing revenues by appropriate measures.

    9.17. Governments should strengthen the capacity for land management, including urban planning, at all levels in order to take into account demographic trends and encourage the search for innovative approaches to address the challenges facing cities, with special attention to the pressures and needs resulting from the growth of their populations.

    9.18. Governments should promote the development and implementation of effective environmental management strategies for urban agglomerations, giving special attention to water, waste and air management, as well as to environmentally sound energy and transport systems.

    C. Internally displaced persons

    Basis for action

    9.19. During the past decade, awareness of the situation of persons who are forced to leave their places of usual residence for a variety of reasons has been rising. Because there is no single definition of internally displaced persons, estimates of their number vary, as do the causes of their migration. However, it is generally accepted that these causes range from environmental degradation to natural disasters and internal conflicts that destroy human settlements and force people to flee from one area of the country to another. Indigenous people, in particular, are in many cases subject to displacement. Given the forced nature of their movement, internally displaced persons often find themselves in particularly vulnerable situations, especially women, who may be subjected to rape and sexual assault in situations of armed conflict. Internal displacement is often a precursor of outflows of refugees and externally displaced persons. Returning refugees may also be internally displaced.


    9.20. The objectives are:

    1. To offer adequate protection and assistance to persons displaced within their country, particularly women, children and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable, and to find solutions to the root causes of their displacement in view of preventing it and, when appropriate, to facilitate return or resettlement;

    2. To put an end to all forms of forced migration, including "ethnic cleansing".


    9.21. Countries should address the causes of internal displacement, including environmental degradation, natural disasters, armed conflict and forced resettlement, and establish the necessary mechanisms to protect and assist displaced persons, including, where possible, compensation for damages, especially those who are not able to return to their normal place of residence in the short term. Adequate capacities for disaster preparedness should be developed. The United Nations, through dialogue with Governments and all intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, is encouraged to continue to review the need for protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, the root causes of internal displacement, prevention and long-term solutions, taking into account specific situations.

    9.22. Measures should be taken to ensure that internally displaced persons receive basic education, employment opportunities, vocational training and basic health-care services, including reproductive health services and family planning.

    9.23. In order to reverse declining environmental quality and minimize conflict over access to grazing land, the modernization of the pastoralist economic system should be pursued, with assistance provided as necessary through bilateral and multilateral arrangements.

    9.24. Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations are encouraged to strengthen development assistance for internally displaced persons so that they can return to their places of origin.

    9.25. Measures should be taken, at the national level with international cooperation, as appropriate, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to find lasting solutions to questions related to internally displaced persons, including their right to voluntary and safe return to their home of origin. ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter X

    International Migration

    A. International migration and development

    Basis for action

    10.1. International economic, political and cultural interrelations play an important role in the flow of people between countries, whether they are developing, developed or with economies in transition. In its diverse types, international migration is linked to such interrelations and both affects and is affected by the development process. International economic imbalances, poverty and environmental degradation, combined with the absence of peace and security, human rights violations and the varying degrees of development of judicial and democratic institutions are all factors affecting international migration. Although most international migration flows occur between neighbouring countries, interregional migration, particularly that directed to developed countries, has been growing. It is estimated that the number of international migrants in the world, including refugees, is in excess of 125 million, about half of them in the developing countries. In recent years, the main receiving countries in the developed world registered a net migration intake of approximately 1.4 million persons annually, about two thirds of whom originated in developing countries. Orderly international migration can have positive impacts on both the communities of origin and the communities of destination, providing the former with remittances and the latter with needed human resources. International migration also has the potential of facilitating the transfer of skills and contributing to cultural enrichment. However, international migration entails the loss of human resources for many countries of origin and may give rise to political, economic or social tensions in countries of destination. To be effective, international migration policies need to take into account the economic constraints of the receiving country, the impact of migration on the host society and its effects on countries of origin. The long-term manageability of international migration hinges on making the option to remain in one's country a viable one for all people. Sustainable economic growth with equity and development strategies consistent with this aim are a necessary means to that end. In addition, more effective use can be made of the potential contribution that expatriate nationals can make to the economic development of their countries of origin.


    10.2. The objectives are:

    1. To address the root causes of migration, especially those related to poverty;

    2. To encourage more cooperation and dialogue between countries of origin and countries of destination in order to maximize the benefits of migration to those concerned and increase the likelihood that migration has positive consequences for the development of both sending and receiving countries;

    3. To facilitate the reintegration process of returning migrants.


    10.3. Governments of countries of origin and of countries of destination should seek to make the option of remaining in one's country viable for all people. To that end, efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social development, ensuring a better economic balance between developed and developing countries and countries with economies in transition, should be strengthened. It is also necessary to increase efforts to defuse international and internal conflicts before they escalate; to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, and indigenous people are respected; and to respect the rule of law, promote good governance, strengthen democracy and promote human rights. Furthermore, greater support should be provided for the attainment of national and household food security, for education, nutrition, health and population-related programmes and to ensure effective environmental protection. Such efforts may require national and international financial assistance, reassessment of commercial and tariff relations, increased access to world markets and stepped-up efforts on the part of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to create a domestic framework for sustainable economic growth with an emphasis on job creation. The economic situation in those countries is likely to improve only gradually and, therefore, migration flows from those countries are likely to decline only in the long term; in the interim, the acute problems currently observed will cause migration flows to continue for the short-to-medium term, and Governments are accordingly urged to adopt transparent international migration policies and programmes to manage those flows.

    10.4. Governments of countries of origin wishing to foster the inflow of remittances and their productive use for development should adopt sound exchange rate, monetary and economic policies, facilitate the provision of banking facilities that enable the safe and timely transfer of migrants' funds, and promote the conditions necessary to increase domestic savings and channel them into productive investment.

    10.5. Governments of countries of destination are invited to consider the use of certain forms of temporary migration, such as short-term and project-related migration, as a means of improving the skills of nationals of countries of origin, especially developing countries and countries with economies in transition. To that end, they should consider, as appropriate, entering into bilateral or multilateral agreements. Appropriate steps should be taken to safeguard the wages and working conditions of both migrant and native workers in the affected sectors. Governments of countries of origin are urged to facilitate the return of migrants and their reintegration into their home communities, and to devise ways of using their skills. Governments of countries of origin should consider collaborating with countries of destination and engaging the support of appropriate international organizations in promoting the return on a voluntary basis of qualified migrants who can play a crucial role in the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology. Countries of destination are encouraged to facilitate return migration by adopting flexible policies, such as the transferability of pensions and other work benefits.

    10.6. Governments of countries affected by international migration are invited to cooperate, with a view to integrating the issue into their political and economic agendas and engaging in technical cooperation to aid developing countries and countries with economies in transition in addressing the impact of international migration. Governments are urged to exchange information regarding their international migration policies and the regulations governing the admission and stay of migrants in their territories. States that have not already done so are invited to consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

    10.7. Governments are encouraged to consider requests for migration from countries whose existence, according to available scientific evidence, is imminently threatened by global warming and climate change.

    10.8. In cooperation with international and non-governmental organizations and research institutions, Governments should support the gathering of data on flows and stocks of international migrants and on factors causing migration, as well as the monitoring of international migration. The identification of strategies to ensure that migration contributes to development and international relations should also be supported. The role of international organizations with mandates in the area of migration should be strengthened so that they can deliver adequate technical support to developing countries, advise in the management of international migration flows and promote intergovernmental cooperation through, inter alia, bilateral and multilateral negotiations, as appropriate.

    B. Documented migrants

    Basis for action

    10.9. Documented migrants are those who satisfy all the legal requirements to enter, stay and, if applicable, hold employment in the country of destination. In some countries, many documented migrants have, over time, acquired the right to long-term residence. In such cases, the integration of documented migrants into the host society is generally desirable, and for that purpose it is important to extend to them the same social, economic and legal rights as those enjoyed by citizens, in accordance with national legislation. The family reunification of documented migrants is an important factor in international migration. It is also important to protect documented migrants and their families from racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, and to respect their physical integrity, dignity, religious beliefs and cultural values.

    Documented migration is generally beneficial to the host country, since migrants are in general concentrated in the most productive ages and have skills needed by the receiving country, and their admission is congruent with the policies of the Government. The remittances of documented migrants to their countries of origin often constitute a very important source of foreign exchange and are instrumental in improving the well-being of relatives left behind.


    10.10. The objectives are:

    1. To ensure the social and economic integration of documented migrants, especially of those who have acquired the right to long-term residence in the country of destination, and their equal treatment before the law;

    2. To eliminate discriminatory practices against documented migrants, especially women, children and the elderly;

    3. To ensure protection against racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia;

    4. To promote the welfare of documented migrants and members of their families;

    5. To ensure the respect of the cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices of documented migrants, in so far as they accord with national legislation and universally recognized human rights;

    6. To take into account the special needs and circumstances of temporary migrants.


    10.11. Governments of receiving countries are urged to consider extending to documented migrants who meet appropriate length-of-stay requirements, and to members of their families whose stay in the receiving country is regular, treatment equal to that accorded their own nationals with regard to the enjoyment of basic human rights, including equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of religious practices, working conditions, social security, participation in trade unions, access to health, education, cultural and other social services, as well as equal access to the judicial system and equal treatment before the law. Governments of receiving countries are further urged to take appropriate steps to avoid all forms of discrimination against migrants, including eliminating discriminatory practices concerning their nationality and the nationality of their children, and to protect their rights and safety. Women and children who migrate as family members should be protected from abuse or denial of their human rights by their sponsors, and Governments are asked to consider extending their stay should the family relationship dissolve, within the limits of national legislation.

    10.12. In order to promote the integration of documented migrants having the right to long-term residence, Governments of receiving countries are urged to consider giving them civil and political rights and responsibilities, as appropriate, and facilitating their naturalization. Special efforts should be made to enhance the integration of the children of long-term migrants by providing them with educational and training opportunities equal to those of nationals, allowing them to exercise an economic activity, and facilitating the naturalization of those who have been raised in the receiving country. Consistent with article 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and all other relevant universally recognized human rights instruments, all Governments, particularly those of receiving countries, must recognize the vital importance of family reunification and promote its integration into their national legislation in order to ensure the protection of the unity of the families of documented migrants. Governments of receiving countries must ensure the protection of migrants and their families, giving priority to programmes and strategies that combat religious intolerance, racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia and gender discrimination and that generate the necessary public sensitivity in that regard.

    10.13. Governments of countries of destination should respect the basic human rights of documented migrants as those Governments assert their right to regulate access to their territory and adopt policies that respond to and shape immigration flows. With regard to the admission of migrants, Governments should avoid discriminating on the basis of race, religion, sex and disability, while taking into account health and other considerations relevant under national immigration regulations, particularly considering the special needs of the elderly and children. Governments are urged to promote, through family reunion, the normalization of the family life of legal migrants who have the right to long-term residence.

    10.14. Governments should consider providing assistance and cooperation for programmes that would address the adverse social and economic consequences of forced migration.

    C. Undocumented migrants

    Basis for action

    10.15. It is the right of every nation State to decide who can enter and stay in its territory and under what conditions. Such right, however, should be exercised taking care to avoid racist or xenophobic actions and policies. Undocumented or irregular migrants are persons who do not fulfil the requirements established by the country of destination to enter, stay or exercise an economic activity. Given that the pressures for migration are growing in a number of developing countries, especially since their labour force continues to increase, undocumented or irregular migration is expected to rise.


    10.16. The objectives are:

    1. To address the root causes of undocumented migration;

    2. To reduce substantially the number of undocumented migrants, while ensuring that those in need of international protection receive it; to prevent the exploitation of undocumented migrants and to ensure that their basic human rights are protected;

    3. To prevent all international trafficking in migrants, especially for the purposes of prostitution;

    4. To ensure protection against racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia.


    10.17. Governments of countries of origin and countries of destination are urged to cooperate in reducing the causes of undocumented migration, safeguarding the basic human rights of undocumented migrants including the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution, and preventing their exploitation. Governments should identify the causes of undocumented migration and its economic, social and demographic impact as well as its implications for the formulation of social, economic and international migration policies.

    10.18. Governments of both receiving countries and countries of origin should adopt effective sanctions against those who organize undocumented migration, exploit undocumented migrants or engage in trafficking in undocumented migrants, especially those who engage in any form of international traffic in women, youth and children. Governments of countries of origin, where the activities of agents or other intermediaries in the migration process are legal, should regulate such activities in order to prevent abuses, especially exploitation, prostitution and coercive adoption.

    10.19. Governments, with the assistance of appropriate international organizations, should deter undocumented migration by making potential migrants aware of the legal conditions for entry, stay and employment in host countries through information activities in the countries of origin.

    10.20. Governments of countries of origin of undocumented migrants and persons whose asylum claims have been rejected have the responsibility to accept the return and reintegration of those persons, and should not penalize such persons on their return. In addition, Governments of countries of origin and countries of destination should try to find satisfactory solutions to the problems caused by undocumented migration through bilateral or multilateral negotiations on, inter alia, readmission agreements that protect the basic human rights of the persons involved in accordance with relevant international instruments.

    D. Refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons

    Basis for action

    10.21. In less than 10 years, from 1985 to 1993, the number of refugees has more than doubled, from 8.5 million to 19 million. This has been caused by multiple and complex factors, including massive violations of human rights. Most of those refugees find asylum in developing countries, often imposing great burdens on those States. The institution of asylum is under severe strain in industrialized countries for a variety of reasons, including the growing numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers and the misuse of asylum procedures by migrants attempting to circumvent immigration restrictions. While two thirds of all countries in the world have ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or the 1967 Protocol, which establish standards for the protection of refugees, there is a need to strengthen the support for international protection of and assistance to refugees, especially refugee women and refugee children, who are particularly vulnerable. Displaced persons, who do not qualify for refugee status and are in some cases outside their country, are also vulnerable and need international assistance. Regional agreements to provide protection to persons fleeing war should be considered.


    10.22. The objectives are:

    1. To reduce pressures leading to refugee movements and displacement by combating their root causes at all levels and undertaking related preventive action;

    2. To find and implement durable solutions to the plight of refugees and displaced persons;

    3. To ensure effective protection of and assistance to refugee populations, with particular attention to the needs and physical security of refugee women and refugee children;

    4. To prevent the erosion of the institution of asylum;

    5. To provide adequate health, education and social services for refugees and displaced persons;

    6. To integrate refugee and returnee assistance and rehabilitation programmes into development planning, with due attention to gender equity.


    10.23. Governments are urged to address the root causes of movements of refugees and displaced persons by taking appropriate measures, particularly with respect to conflict resolution; the promotion of peace and reconciliation; respect for human rights, including those of persons belonging to minorities; respect for independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of States. Moreover, factors that contribute to forced displacements need to be addressed through initiatives related to the alleviation of poverty, democratization, good governance and the prevention of environmental degradation. Governments and all other entities should respect and safeguard the right of people to remain in safety in their homes and should refrain from policies or practices that force people to flee.

    10.24. Governments are urged to strengthen their support for international protection and assistance activities on behalf of refugees and, as appropriate, displaced persons and to promote the search for durable solutions to their plight. In doing so, Governments are encouraged to enhance regional and international mechanisms that promote appropriate shared responsibility for the protection and assistance needs of refugees. All necessary measures should be taken to ensure the physical protection of refugees - in particular, that of refugee women and refugee children - especially against exploitation, abuse and all forms of violence.

    10.25. Adequate international support should be extended to countries of asylum to meet the basic needs of refugees and to assist in the search for durable solutions. Refugee populations should be assisted in achieving self-sufficiency. Refugees, particularly refugee women, should be involved in the planning of refugee assistance activities and in their implementation. In planning and implementing refugee assistance activities, special attention should be given to the specific needs of refugee women and refugee children. Refugees should be provided with access to adequate accommodation, education, health services, including family planning, and other necessary social services. Refugees are invited to respect the laws and regulations of their countries of asylum.

    10.26. Governments should create conditions that would allow for the voluntary repatriation of refugees in safety and dignity. Rehabilitation assistance to repatriating refugees should, where possible, be linked to long-term reconstruction and development plans. The international community should provide assistance for refugee repatriation and rehabilitation programmes and for the removal of land mines and other unexploded devices that constitute a serious threat to the safety of returnees and the local population.

    10.27. Governments are urged to abide by international law concerning refugees. States that have not already done so are invited to consider acceding to the international instruments concerning refugees - in particular, the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. Governments are furthermore urged to respect the principle of non-refoulement (i.e., the principle of no forcible return of persons to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion). Governments should ensure that asylum-seekers in the Government's territory have access to a fair hearing and should facilitate the expeditious processing of asylum requests, ensuring that guidelines and procedures for the determination of refugee status are sensitive to the particular situation of women.

    10.28. In cases of sudden and massive arrivals of refugees and displaced persons in need of international protection, Governments of receiving countries should consider according to them at least temporary protection and treatment in accordance with internationally recognized standards and with national law, practices and regulations, until a solution to their plight can be found. Persons in need of protection should be encouraged to stay in safe areas and, to the extent possible and as appropriate, near their countries of origin. Governments should strengthen protection mechanisms and provide aid to assist the population in such areas. The principles of collective cooperation and international solidarity should be followed in assisting host countries, upon their request.

    10.29. The problems of refugees and displaced persons arising from forced migration, including their right to repatriation, should be settled in accordance with the relevant principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international instruments and relevant United Nations resolutions.

    Chapter XI

    Population, Development and Education

    A. Education, population and sustainable development


    Basis for action* The Holy See expressed a general reservation on chapters 15 and 16. The reservation is to be interpreted in terms of the statement made by the representative of the Holy See at the 14th plenary meeting, on 13 September 1994.

    11.1. In the past 20 years, the world has experienced a rise in educational levels. Although the differences in educational attainment between males and females have shrunk, 75 per cent of illiterate persons in the world are women. Lack of basic education and low levels of literacy of adults continue to inhibit the development process in every area. The world community has a special responsibility to ensure that all children receive an education of improved quality and that they complete primary school. Education is an indispensable tool for the improvement of the quality of life. However, it is more difficult to meet educational needs when there is rapid population growth.1/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992, vol. I, Resolutions Adopted by the Conference (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigenda), resolution 1, annex II.

    11.2. Education is a key factor in sustainable development: it is at the same time a component of well-being and a factor in the development of well-being through its links with demographic as well as economic and social factors. Education is also a means to enable the individual to gain access to knowledge, which is a precondition for coping, by anyone wishing to do so, with today's complex world. The reduction of fertility, morbidity and mortality rates, the empowerment of women, the improvement in the quality of the working population and the promotion of genuine democracy are largely assisted by progress in education. The integration of migrants is also facilitated by universal access to education, which respects the religious and cultural backgrounds of migrants.2/ The source for the population figures in paragraphs 1.3 and 1.4 is World Population Prospects: The 1994 Revision (United Nations publication, forthcoming).

    11.3. The relationship between education and demographic and social changes is one of interdependence. There is a close and complex relationship among education, marriage age, fertility, mortality, mobility and activity. The increase in the education of women and girls contributes to greater empowerment of women, to a postponement of the age of marriage and to a reduction in the size of families. When mothers are better educated, their children's survival rate tends to increase. Broader access to education is also a factor in internal migration and the composition of the working population.3/ See Report of the United Nations World Population Conference, Bucharest, 19-30 August 1974 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.75.XIII.3).

    11.4. The education and training of young people should prepare them for career development and professional life in order to cope with today's complex world. It is on the content of the educational curricula and the nature of the training received that the prospects of gainful employment opportunities depend. Inadequacies in and discrepancies between the educational system and the production system can lead to unemployment and underemployment, a devaluing of qualifications and, in some cases, the exodus of qualified people from rural to urban areas and to "brain drain". It is therefore essential to promote harmonious development of educational systems and economic and social systems conducive to sustainable development.4/ See Report of the International Conference on Population, Mexico City, 6-14 August 1984 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.84.XIII.8 and corrigenda).

    Objectives5/ See Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.85.IV.10).

    11.5. The objectives are:6/ See First Call for Children (New York, United Nations Children's Fund, 1990).

      7/ See Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigenda).
    1. To achieve universal access to quality education, with particular priority being given to primary and technical education and job training, to combat illiteracy and to eliminate gender disparities in access to, retention in, and support for, education;

      8/ See The Final Report of the International Conference on Nutrition, Rome, 5-11 December 1992 (Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1993).

    2. To promote non-formal education for young people, guaranteeing equal access for women and men to literacy centres;

      9/ See Report of the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14-25 June 1993 (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I)).

    3. To introduce and improve the content of the curriculum so as to promote greater responsibility and awareness on the interrelationships between population and sustainable development; health issues, including reproductive health; and gender equity.

    10/ General Assembly resolution 47/75.

    Actions11/ General Assembly resolution 48/163.

    11.6. The eradication of illiteracy is one of the prerequisites for human development. All countries should consolidate the progress made in the 1990s towards providing universal access to primary education, as agreed upon at the World Conference on Education for All, held at Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990. All countries should further strive to ensure the complete access to primary school or an equivalent level of education by both girls and boys as quickly as possible, and in any case before the year 2015. Attention should also be given to the quality and type of education, including recognition of traditional values. Countries that have achieved the goal of universal primary education are urged to extend education and training to, and facilitate access to and completion of education at secondary school and higher levels.12/ See Report of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, Bridgetown, Barbados, 25 April-6 May 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No. 94.I.18 and corrigenda).

    11.7. Investments in education and job training should be given high priority in development budgets at all levels, and should take into account the range and level of future workforce skill requirements.13/ General Assembly resolution 44/82.

    11.8. Countries should take affirmative steps to keep girls and adolescents in school by building more community schools, by training teachers to be more gender sensitive, by providing scholarships and other appropriate incentives and by sensitizing parents to the value of educating girls, with a view to closing the gender gap in primary and secondary school education by the year 2005. Countries should also supplement those efforts by making full use of non-formal education opportunities. Pregnant adolescents should be enabled to continue their schooling.14/ General Assembly resolution 47/92.

    11.9. To be most effective, education about population issues must begin in primary school and continue through all levels of formal and non-formal education, taking into account the rights and responsibilities of parents and the needs of children and adolescents. Where such programmes already exist, curricula should be reviewed, updated and broadened with a view to ensuring adequate coverage of such important concerns as gender sensitivity, reproductive choices and responsibilities, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. To ensure acceptance of population education programmes by the community, population education projects should emphasize consultation with parents and community leaders.15/ Resolutions 36/8 and 37/7 of the Commission on the Status of Women (Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1992, Supplement No. 4 (E/1992/24), chap. I, sect. C, and ibid., 1993, Supplement No. 7 (E/1993/27), chap. I, sect. C).

    11.10. Efforts in the training of population specialists at the university level should be strengthened and the incorporation of content relating to demographic variables and their interrelationships with development planning in the social and economic disciplines, as well as to health and the environment, should be encouraged.16/ General Assembly resolution 45/199, annex.

    B. Population information, education and communication

    17/ See Report of the Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, Paris, 3-14 September 1990 (A/CONF.147/18), part one.

    Basis for action18/ General Assembly resolution 46/151, annex, sect. II.

    11.11. Greater public knowledge, understanding and commitment at all levels, from the individual to the international, are vital to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the present Programme of Action. In all countries and among all groups, therefore, information, education and communication activities concerning population and sustainable development issues must be strengthened. This includes the establishment of gender- and culturally sensitive information, education and communication plans and strategies related to population and development. At the national level, more adequate and appropriate information enables planners and policy makers to make more appropriate plans and decisions in relation to population and sustainable development. At the most basic level, more adequate and appropriate information is conducive to informed, responsible decision-making concerning health, sexual and reproductive behaviour, family life, and patterns of production and consumption. In addition, more and better information about the causes and benefits of migration can create a more positive environment for societies to address and respond to migration challenges.19/ Children, as appropriate, adolescents, women, the aged, the disabled, indigenous people, rural populations, urban populations, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and slum-dwellers.

    11.12. Effective information, education and communication are prerequisites for sustainable human development and pave the way for attitudinal and behavioural change. Indeed, this begins with the recognition that decisions must be made freely, responsibly and in an informed manner, on the number and spacing of children and in all other aspects of daily life, including sexual and reproductive behaviour. Greater public knowledge and commitment in a democratic setting create a climate conducive to responsible and informed decisions and behaviour. Most important, they also pave the way for democratic public discussion and thereby make possible strong political commitment and popular support for needed action at the local, national and international levels.20/ Unsafe abortion is defined as a procedure for terminating an unwanted pregnancy either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking the minimal medical standards or both (based on World Health Organization, The Prevention and Management of Unsafe Abortion, Report of a Technical Working Group, Geneva, April 1992 (WHO/MSM/92.5)).

    11.13. Effective information, education and communication activities include a range of communication channels, from the most intimate levels of interpersonal communication to formal school curricula, from traditional folk arts to modern mass entertainment, and from seminars for local community leaders to coverage of global issues by the national and international news media. Multichannel approaches are usually more effective than any single communication channel. All these channels of communication have an important role to play in promoting an understanding of the interrelationships between population and sustainable development. Schools and religious institutions, taking into account their values and teachings, may be important vehicles in all countries for instilling gender and racial sensitivity, respect, tolerance and equity, family responsibility and other important attitudes at all ages. Effective networks also exist in many countries for non-formal education on population and sustainable development issues through the workplace, health facilities, trade unions, community centres, youth groups, religious institutions, women's organizations and other non-governmental organizations. Such issues may also be included in more structured adult education, vocational training and literacy programmes, particularly for women. These networks are critical to reaching the entire population, especially men, adolescents and young couples. Parliamentarians, teachers, religious and other community leaders, traditional healers, health professionals, parents and older relatives are influential in forming public opinion and should be consulted during the preparation of information, education and communication activities. The media also offer many potentially powerful role models.21/ Safe motherhood aims at attaining optimal maternal and newborn health. It implies reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity and enhancement of the health of newborn infants through equitable access to primary health care, including family planning, prenatal, delivery and post-natal care for the mother and infant, and access to essential obstetric and neonatal care (World Health Organization, Health Population and Development, WHO Position Paper, Geneva, 1994 (WHO/FHE/94.1)).

    11.14. Current information, education and communication technologies, such as global interlinked telephone, television and data transmission networks, compact discs and new multimedia technologies, can help bridge the geographical, social and economic gaps that currently exist in access to information around the world. They can help ensure that the vast majority of the world's people are involved in debates at the local, national and global levels about demographic changes and sustainable human development, economic and social inequities, the importance of empowering women, reproductive health and family planning, health promotion, ageing populations, rapid urbanization and migration. Greater public involvement of national authorities and the community ensure the widespread diffusion of such technologies and the freer flow of information within and between countries. It is essential that parliaments have full access to the information necessary for decision-making.22/ Which could include children, adolescents, women, the aged, the disabled, indigenous people, rural populations, urban populations, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and slum-dwellers.


    11.15. The objectives are: