How Has the World Changed in the Last 20 Years?

UNITED NATIONS, New York – Twenty years ago, the international community gathered in Cairo, Egypt, to explore how the world was changing and how those changes were affecting the most vulnerable. At the 1994 meeting, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the world agreed that population issues – including voluntary family planning, maternal and child health, migration, and gender equality – are not just about counting people, but about making sure that every person counts.

At the conference, 179 governments signed on to the ICPD Programme of Action, which recognises that women, their rights and equality are global development priorities. The governments committed to: providing universal access to voluntary family planning, sexual and reproductive health services and rights; delivering gender equality and equal access to education; addressing the impacts of urbanization and migration; and supporting sustainable development.

Today, the world is very different, transformed by the digital revolution and advances in medicine and human knowledge. But has it changed in the ways we hoped it would?

In this set of amazing data there are lots of positives. Shown here are just some of the figures. Read more here about how the UNFPA sees some of the biggest ways our world is different, and what more must be done.

Adolescent childbearing has dropped by half in some countries
Deaths in child birth have dropped
Life expectancy has increased

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