National leaders from across the globe - reflecting a diverse coalition united by their concern about population and development - today joined their voices in support of plans laid out at landmark conference on the issue held in Cairo in 1994, drawing immediate praise from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Ten years ago, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 179 nations agreed on a 20-year Programme of Action setting targets for promoting sexual and reproductive health, women's empowerment, human rights and resource mobilization.
In their statement today, the leaders hail 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," they say, pledging also to do their part in this endeavour.
UNFPA chief Thoraya Ahmed Obaid called the declaration "most welcome and priceless."
"Based on the resolute, universal commitment of governments at the regional meetings and the exciting support mobilized through this statement, we are more confident than ever that the hopes of Cairo will be fulfilled and the dreams of the hundreds of millions of women and men in need of health, rights and development will be realized in the coming decade," she said.
Signatories include Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, Mexican President Vicente Fox, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
Also signing were Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Botswana?s President, Festus Mogae, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany; Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Peru?s President, Alejandro Toledo, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and Khaleda Zia, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Among the other luminaries who endorsed the declaration are Oscar Arias, the former President of Costa Rica, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway, former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and Nobel Laureates Nadine Gordimer and Desmond Tutu.