Coming up short: struggling to implement the Cairo Programme of Action
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in September 1994, was a watershed for global population and development initiatives. One initiative that was produced was the ICPD Program of Action, which has the understanding on all sides that reproductive health, is a human right, and that it is essential to building a healthy, prosperous nation. Experience showed that population programs work and its Program of Action was realistic and achievable. To reach this achievable aim, governments agreed to increase spending on population and related programs to US$17 billion a year by the turn of the century, climbing to nearly US$22 billion by 2015, but this commitment went against the trend. Overall development assistance has fallen from the average which could possibly result in the rapid increase in population growth and on the mortality and morbidity rates. Moreover, failure to meet the commitment of Cairo will spill over into many other areas of development, placing enormous stress on education, health care, housing, water, sanitation--all the social underpinning of economic development. Therefore, to avoid this scenario, it is important to put in its proper perspective the total cost of implementing Cairo. The US$17 billion is a relatively small investment, but the effects of making it or not making it will be felt for generations to come.
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