Turkmenistan reviews the progress towards the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference of Population and Development
07 September 2023
Ashgabat, 6 September 2023
As the international community prepares to mark 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, in collaboration with the Government of Turkmenistan convened a high-level national conference in Ashgabat to review the progress made since the landmark ICPD conference held in Cairo in 1994 and implementation of the commitments from the Nairobi Summit in 2019.
The review of Turkmenistan’s progress towards the implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD started earlier this year with national stakeholder consultations at the sub-national conference in Turkmenabat, Lebap region. During consultations the national stakeholders recognized the need for enhancing accountability in implementation of laws, policies, and national programmes/plans related to reproductive health and rights, gender equality, youth policy and population dynamics.
At the high-level national conference in Ashgabat, national stakeholders highlighted the commitments in improving the well-being of people through a people-centered approach, specifically focusing on ensuring universal access to family planning and maternal health by improving access to quality reproductive health services, advancing gender equality and promoting demographic resilience.
The conference took the stock of progress towards ICPD Programme of Action in the course of the last decade, the contribution of the progress to achievements of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlighted steps forward in accelerating the actions towards realizing three transformative results by 2030 that can only be achieved with an increased focus on protecting and promoting the rights and inclusive participation of women, adolescent and youth as agents of change.
This comprehensive review process will be reported at the global review of the ICPD, which will take place at the 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development in April 2024.
UNFPA also shared insights about the 2030 Vision of the programme of cooperation with the government to ensure that women, girls and young people benefit from improved people-centered, rights-based, evidence-driven policies and universal access to sexual reproductive health and gender-based violence services and information. Key interventions will ensure that that UNFPA supports the government is fulfilling the 2030 aspiration by:
addressing the issue of traditional social and gender norms;
Strengthening policy work;
Improving access to services;
Increasing availability and use of data;
Improving the agency and knowledge about women and girls’ SRHR;
Ms. Florence Bauer, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia underlined that “Turkmenistan has the potential to build a demographically resilient society that has a prosperous future by further strengthening human capital and enabling people to fulfill their potentials. Our future depends on how we think about and respond to the ties between population and development. The choices we make will either pave the way for a more stable, more resilient, and ultimately more prosperous region, or lead us towards unprecedented costs and irreversible consequences at individual and collective levels''.
Ms. Myahri Byashimova, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan highlighted that “Strategic partnership between Turkmenistan and the United Nations is key for an effective collaboration in various areas such as healthcare, economy, social welfare, education, human rights and sustainable development. Within this strategic partnership, I would like to emphasize the high level of cooperation between the government of Turkmenistan and UNFPA. UNFPA’s active involvement in the promotion of maternal and reproductive health and gender equality contributed to achieving progress in these areas”.
Mr. Dmitry Shlapachenko, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan underlined that “the ICPD Programme of Action and the SDGs are interlinked and their goals overlap and complement each other, creating synergies towards sustainable development and well-being for all. The goals call for cooperation and joint action by governments, organizations and people to address problems such as addressing inequalities, environmental challenges and demographic changes. The national review of ICPD30 will contribute to the agenda of this year's SDG Summit and streamline the country’s efforts in achieving the SDGs. Building on the outcomes of the Summit, nations will consider how to lay the foundations for more effective global cooperation that can meet today's challenges as well as the new threats that lie ahead”.
In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 179 countries came together and adopted a Programme of Action, in which they agreed that population policies must be aimed at empowering couples and individuals— especially women—to make decisions about the size of their families, providing them with the information and resources to make such decisions, and enabling them to exercise their reproductive rights. For the first time in an international consensus document, states agreed that reproductive rights are human rights that are already recognized in domestic and international law.
The ICPD Programme of Action recognizes that realizing the right to reproductive health is a critical element of guaranteeing reproductive rights. The ICPD Programme of Action broadly defines reproductive health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.” In adopting the ICPD Programme of Action, states committed to take legal, policy, budgetary, and other measures to effectuate the principles and rights enshrined in the document.
Every five years since ICPD, states have come together to reaffirm this commitment, analyze the progress that has been made towards realizing sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and decide upon further actions that should be taken.