Revitalizing Population and Development in the 21st Century:
International Conference on Population and Development 30 Years On

Thirty years ago, delegates from 179 countries agreed on a broad set of priorities and actions to advance human rights, including reproductive rights, in the context of population and development concerns. The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was groundbreaking in its assertion that empowering women and girls was both the right thing to do and one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development and improved wellbeing for all.

ICPD was important because of the consensus reached on the value and importance of reproductive autonomy. However, the agreement in its totality covered a remarkable breadth of population and development topics. It recognized the fundamental importance of population trends in shaping our future and highlighted how these trends result from the rights and opportunities afforded to individuals. The ICPD’s Programme of Action captures a comprehensive overview of the vital links between reproductive autonomy, population trends, and development.

These interconnections demand a lens that incorporates this dynamism, and yet in recent years discussions of population trends and their implications have been largely relegated to the sidelines of reproductive rights discourse. This volume of essays reminds us of the variety of important commitments from the 1994 Programme of Action, many of which have been forgotten or overlooked. And the volume demonstrates the growing pertinence of these historic commitments in the 21st century.

The Population Institute invited a group of thought leaders to reflect on seven key themes and to respond with their insights on the relevancy of each theme, at the time of the agreement and today, and to suggest commitments and actions needed to fulfill the ICPD Programme of Action.

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