Fifteen Years Later: International Conference on Population and Development

Posted by Melanne Verveer
January 8, 2010
Woman Holds Child in Liberia

About the Author: Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer serves as director of the Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues.

Fifteen years ago, representatives from 179 nations came together at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and agreed that, by the year 2015, all governments would make access to reproductive health care and family planning services a basic right. They agreed that governments would dramatically reduce maternal, infant, and child mortality, and ensure that girls and women have access to education.

Fifteen years ago, at this forum, the world first made the connections explicit between women's health, the quality of women's lives, and human progress and development.

Fifteen years later, the deadline set at ICPD is nearly here. And while we've made progress in a lot of areas, we have far too much to do to meet those goals.

We know what needs to be done. We have the tools but need to increase funding and attention to maternal, infant and child health and family planning. There is a direct connection between a woman's ability to plan her family, space her pregnancies, and give birth safely, and her ability to get an education, work outside the home, support her family, and participate fully in the life of her community.

In the United States, we're recommitting ourselves to that priority. As Secretary Clinton said, our Global Health Initiative dedicates $63 billion over the next six years to improve global health -- largely by addressing the unmet needs of women and children. This is a moral and humanitarian issue, but it's also one of international development -- educated, healthy mothers have educated, healthy families -- and of international stability and security.



sandra h.
January 17, 2010

Sandra H. writes:

thank you sec. clinton for your recent speeches about the rights of women and girls world wide.

Dale C.
January 24, 2010

Dale C. writes:

While we pray and give to Haiti, let's not forget the plight of women across the planet. This type of brutality of teenage girls from the justice system of a nation cannot go with our our State Departments most forceful actions.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A teenage girl has been sentenced to a 90-lash flogging and two months in prison as punishment for assaulting a teacher, a Saudi judge said in an interview published Sunday.

Human rights group Amnesty International said the assault happened after the girl was caught with a camera phone at school.

The teenager's name was not immediately available. She could be spared with a pardon from King Abdullah, said Judge Riyadh al-Meihdib.

"The verdict was read out to her at the court and she did not object," al-Meihdib told Al-Watan, a national Saudi daily newspaper.

He said the teacher refused to forgive the girl, who will not appeal the case. Camera phones are banned at the school.

Al-Watan quoted the school headmaster describing the girl as "about twenty" years old.

However, Amnesty said the girl is 13.

In a statement Friday, the London-based rights watchdog urged Abdullah to "intervene immediately to ensure that the flogging sentence is rescinded.""He must also take steps to reform Saudi Arabian law and criminal procedure to ban the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in particular floggings of children," Amnesty interim Secretary General Claudio Cordone said.

Judge al-Meihdib said his court will issue instructions to local authorities in Jubail to carry out the sentence within two days.

Jubail is located on the Red Sea. Its court sentenced the teenager with the harsh punishment Tuesday.

May 24, 2010

Yason writes:

We know what needs to be done. We have the tools but need to increase funding and attention to maternal, infant and child health and family planning.


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