Population policy, research and the Cairo Plan of Action: new directions for the Sahel?
Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), researchers have debated the potential gains and losses which may result from the changes which underlay the Cairo Plan of Action. Population policy was redefined at the ICPD through a greater emphasis upon reproductive health and empowering women at the expense of traditional macro-level demographic rationale linking population and development. Policy emphasizing basic individual human rights with a focus upon health, especially for the least empowered, can help lead to the achievement of national demographic objectives in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. Policy and research agenda, demographics of the Sahel, and a new approach to reducing population growth rates in the region are discussed. High-quality reproductive health services need to be delivered and a better understanding of the determinants of reproductive health behavior attained.