At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, representatives from governments, civil society, UN Agencies, and international institutions worked together on a Programme of Action (PoA) that was to be a landmark document in the history of international development. In adopting the ICPD PoA, 179 countries, including those of the Asia-Pacific, committed to actions that were intended to bring about transformational change over the next 20 years.
However, in spite of repeated reaffirmation of its goals and objectives, its implementation has been uneven, globally and within the region. Among the many reasons for this inconsistent and disappointing progress was the omission of “universal access to reproductive health”, the central goal of the ICPD, from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This decision, made at a late stage of planning after the Millennium Declaration had been agreed, defied the expectation that this global development framework would include the goals of all the major UN conferences of the 1990s.