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[Cairo and the enraged men] Kairo und die wutenden Manner.

Thoss E
PRO FAMILIA MAGAZIN. 1995 Jan-Feb; (1):24-5.

The majority of people consider the UN Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in September 1994 to have positive results, especially in strengthening of the rights of women. However, this would not be so without the systematic pressure of the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and the international women's movement. At the parallel NGO forum, 1500 NGOs took part from 133 countries. The concluding document of the conference committed the participant countries to an action program for the next 20 years without any means to enforce it. The German commission prior to the conference that was to deal with the demands and rights of women consisted of 28 members of whom only 4 were women. The situation was similar in Cairo, except for the American delegation that had over 50% women. As a result, women and NGOs must contemplate how they could influence the implementation of the conference action program. The Cairo consensus has already suffered a substantial setback, because the $5.7 billion program accepted in Cairo cannot be considered attainable in the wake of the US Congressional elections in November 1994, when the Republicans had gained the majority. They do not support the international demand for sexual and reproductive health programs. Therefore, significant curtailment of US input can be expected. The consequences of the action programs must be pondered by the Pro Familia organization, since the new orientation of international family planning towards sexual and reproductive health and rights impacts the delivery of services. The enhanced role of NGOs also poses a dilemma because they are more heterogenous, not necessarily practice-oriented, and independent from state institutions. Germany's step-by-step realization of the program on a national level requires continuous political advocacy. In addition, it is necessary to construct a strong women's lobby in German federal and provincial politics.

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