For information only – not an official document

9 July 2024

The Secretary-General

Message for World Population Day

11 July 2024

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. It must also be the year we resolve to accelerate efforts and investments to turn its promises into a reality.

Central to the ICPD Programme of Action is the recognition that women’s sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are cornerstones of sustainable development. 

In the decades since it was adopted, we have made progress. More women than ever have access to modern contraception. Maternal deaths have fallen thirty-four per cent since the year 2000.  The women’s movements and civil society have been critical to driving change. 

But progress has been unequal and unsteady. It is outrageous that well into the 21st century, around 800 women die needlessly every day in pregnancy and childbirth – the vast majority in developing countries. And in some places, legislative advances in tackling vital issues such as female genital mutilation risk going into reverse.

As the theme of this year’s World Population Day reminds us, investing in data collection is important to understanding problems, tailoring solutions, and driving progress. So is finance. I urge countries to make the most of the Summit of the Future this year to unleash affordable capital for sustainable development.

Let’s deliver on the ICPD Programme of Action for everyone, everywhere.

* *** *

More press releases