10th Anniversary of ICPD


At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, 179 countries - including the U.S. - endorsed a plan to address population growth, development, and environmental quality and to make family planning universally available by 2015. They developed a comprehensive Programme of Action that identifies basic global principles, such as support for sustainable development, eradication of poverty, promotion of education, and universal access to modern family planning. Despite the U.S. pledge of support for these principles in 1994, President Bush's administration has indicated that he will not be reaffirming our commitment this year.



Population expansion over the last 50 years has exacerbated many environmental problems, including air and water pollution, loss of wildlife and their habitat, fisheries depletion, and climate change. These are global problems that transcend national boundaries.


For the first time in human history, one billion people are between the ages of 15 and 24 - just entering their reproductive years. The choices and commitments we make today will influence whether world population in 2050 reaches 11 billion or 8 billion, and determine what the impact on our finite natural resources will be.


Voluntary family planning programs are essential to slowing rapid population growth and providing critically needed development assistance to individuals and families worldwide. Family planning slows population growth, which in turn enables developing countries to invest in their own economies and to manage their lives and their natural resources more sustainably.



The Programme of Action adopted at ICPD reconfirms the relationship between population growth, development, and the environment:


  • Meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. "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." (Principle 6)


  • Implement effective population policies in the context of the environment and family planning. "Meeting the basic human needs of growing populations is dependent on a healthy environment. Implementation of effective population policies in the context of sustainable development, including reproductive health and family planning programs, require new forms of participation by various actors at all levels in the policy-making process." (Para. 3.24,27)


  • Seek to provide universal access to a full range of safe and reliable family planning methods. "Family planning programs have contributed considerably to the decline in average fertility rates for developing countries, from about six to seven children per woman in the 1960's 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 worldwide, many of whom say they want to space or prevent another pregnancy." (Para. 7.13)


  • Enable personal responsibility. "The aim of family planning programs 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 principle of informed free choice is essential to the long-term success of family planning programs." (Para. 7.12)




In recent years, the U.S. ranked last among the top 20 donor countries in its aid contribution relative to GNP.


The international community at Cairo agreed to the target goal of 0.7 percent of the gross national product for overall official development assistance. It was estimated that, in developing countries, the implementation of the programs described by Cairo would cost $18.5 billion for the year 2005 (of which $11.5 billion would be for family planning). Up to two thirds of the costs would be met by the developing countries themselves, and the remaining one third would come from the richer donor countries.


Donor countries are not living up to their promise. As of today, donor countries (including the U.S.) have been providing less than 50 percent of their allotted one-third of the annual funding in over 140 countries, while the poorer nations have met their target by 80 percent.



The "Mother's Promise" campaign reaffirms and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Cairo Consensus. It commemorates the event where 179 countries promised to ensure that all people would have access to health care, family planning and basic education - the tools needed to make healthy decisions for themselves, their families and the environment. Over the next year, organizations and individuals around the country and around the world will be passing declarations and signing petitions calling on our government to keep its promises.


For more information about the contributors and supporters of this campaign, or for more information about the campaign itself please visit the website and sign the petition at www.amotherspromise.org.