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The meeting that did not happen: Cairo, 10 years on.

Gillespie DG
Lancet. 2004 Oct 30; 364:1566-1567.

Since 1974, the UN has held meetings every 10 years to consider population and development. The last meeting took place in September, 1994, in Cairo. Thousands of government officials, health providers, activists, young people, and a few heads of state hammered out a Programme of Action, which reshaped the way we think about population. Instead of viewing population through a narrow lens, as something to be controlled by reducing fertility by widespread contraceptive use, population was recast as reproductive health, or “the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”, implying, among other things, the ability for everyone to have a safe and satisfying sex life. There was no 2004 international conference on population and development. Instead, 700 people, mostly from non-governmental organisations, met in London, in September, 2004, to recapture the spirit of Cairo. One less UN meeting rarely gives cause for remorse. Yet, the reasons behind the decision not to hold a meeting on reproductive and sexual health are troubling. Potential organisers and supporters feared that the USA and ultraconservative governments and activists would use the meeting as a staging point to launch an attack against the consensus reached by 179 countries in Cairo. (excerpt)

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