Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development

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Year of adoption: 1994
Year of entry into force:
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Principle 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone
is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind, such as race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, property, birth or other status. Everyone has the right to life,
liberty and security of person.

Principle 2
Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.
They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
People are the most important and valuable resource of any nation. Countries
should ensure that all individuals are given the opportunity to make the most of
their potential. They have the right to an adequate standard of living for
themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing, housing, water
and sanitation.

Principle 3
The right to development is a universal and inalienable right and an
integral part of fundamental human rights, and the human person is the central
subject of development. While development facilitates the enjoyment of all
human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the
abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. The right to
development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet the population,
development and environment needs of present and future generations.

Principle 4
Advancing gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women, and the
elimination of all kinds of violence against women, and ensuring women’s ability
to control their own fertility, are cornerstones of population and developmentrelated
programmes. The human rights of women and the girl child are an
inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The full
and equal participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political and
social life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the
eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex, are priority
objectives of the international community.

Principle 5
Population-related goals and policies are integral parts of cultural,
economic and social development, the principal aim of which is to improve the
quality of life of all people.

Principle 6
Sustainable development as a means to ensure human well-being, equitably
shared by all people today and in the future, requires that the
interrelationships between population, resources, the environment and
development should be fully recognized, properly managed and brought into
harmonious, dynamic balance. To achieve sustainable development and a higher
quality of life for all people, States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable
patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate policies,
including population-related policies, in order to meet the needs of current
generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
own needs.

Principle 7
All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of
eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development,
in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the
needs of the majority of the people of the world. The special situation and
needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed, shall be given
special priority. Countries with economies in transition, as well as all other
countries, need to be fully integrated into the world economy.

Principle 8
Everyone has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard
of physical and mental health. States should take all appropriate measures to
ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, universal access to health-care
services, including those related to reproductive health care, which includes
family planning and sexual health. Reproductive health-care programmes should
provide the widest range of services without any form of coercion. All couples
and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number
and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means
to do so.

Principle 9
The family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened.
It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. In different
cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the family exist.
Marriage must be entered into with the free consent of the intending spouses,
and husband and wife should be equal partners.

Principle 10
Everyone has the right to education, which shall be directed to the full
development of human resources, and human dignity and potential, with particular
attention to women and the girl child. Education should be designed to
strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those
relating to population and development. The best interests of the child shall
be the guiding principle of those responsible for his or her education and
guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with the parents.

Principle 11
All States and families should give the highest possible priority to
children. The child has the right to standards of living adequate for its
well-being and the right to the highest attainable standards of health, and the
right to education. The child has the right to be cared for, guided and
supported by parents, families and society and to be protected by appropriate
legislative, administrative, social and educational measures from all forms of
physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment,
maltreatment or exploitation, including sale, trafficking, sexual abuse, and
trafficking in its organs.

Principle 12
Countries receiving documented migrants should provide proper treatment and
adequate social welfare services for them and their families, and should ensure
their physical safety and security, bearing in mind the special circumstances
and needs of countries, in particular developing countries, attempting to meet
these objectives or requirements with regard to undocumented migrants, in
conformity with the provisions of relevant conventions and international
instruments and documents. Countries should guarantee to all migrants all basic
human rights as included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Principle 13
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from
persecution. States have responsibilities with respect to refugees as set forth
in the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

Principle 14
In considering the population and development needs of indigenous people,
States should recognize and support their identity, culture and interests, and
enable them to participate fully in the economic, political and social life of
the country, particularly where their health, education and well-being are

Principle 15
Sustained economic growth, in the context of sustainable development, and
social progress require that growth be broadly based, offering equal
opportunities to all people. All countries should recognize their common but
differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the
responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable
development, and should continue to improve their efforts to promote sustained
economic growth and to narrow imbalances in a manner that can benefit all
countries, particularly the developing countries.