on population, reproductive health & ethics

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In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, the world's governments and civil society committed to an action plan to ensure universal access to reproductive health information and services, uphold fundamental human rights including sexual and reproductive rights, alleviate poverty, secure gender equality, and protect the environment.

Since 1994, both the public and private sectors have made substantial efforts to transform the ICPD's 20-year-plan into reality. Meaningful gains have been made, but much remains to be done. The largest generation of adolescents in history - more than one billion young people - are now entering adulthood in a rapidly changing world. The exponential increases in HIV/AIDS, persistently high levels of death and ill health due to preventable complications from pregnancy and childbirth, inadequate access to family planning services, and weak public health systems are still major challenges.

We are deeply concerned that the gap between rich and poor is growing and that millions of the world's people, but especially women and young people, are highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, sexual coercion and violence, discrimination, and other violations of their human rights.

We call on leaders in every walk of life to join us in reaffirming the ICPD's vision for human development, social justice, economic progress and environmental preservation. We call on the international community, national governments and private philanthropic organizations, to prioritize and fund the ICPD Programme of Action. By signing this leadership statement, we pledge to do our part.

(Dan Maguire, President of The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics, attended the summit in Cairo in 1994 and is one of the world leaders who signed this Statement of Support.)