The Nairobi Summit of International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) wrapped up in Nairobi with more than 9,500 delegates from 170 countries, adopting 12 resolutions to promote reproductive health for women and girls.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ground breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which took place in Cairo in 1994.
World is aiming to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and universal sexual and reproductive health is central to much of this agenda – ending poverty, security good health and well-being, realizing gender equality and achieving sustainable communities, among many other goals. Urgent and sustained efforts to realize reproductive health and rights are crucial.
Amid a loud domestic chorus demanding punitive actions to control population, at a global forum India reiterated to guarantee voluntary and informed choices of contraception. India also said it would increase its basket of contraceptives and improve the quality of family planning services.
Some 25 years ago, India had committed to a similar approach to population control at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. The country was among 179 countries that called for the empowerment of women and girls in all spheres.
The recent move, however, on the back of the Government of Assam announcing a two-child limit for eligibility in government jobs. This has widely been seen as a punitive measure. For a country that would surpass China and become the world’s most populous country by 2027, the idea of punitive action to control the population is not new. Despite India’s commitment at an international platform, many states have taken steps to formalise population control through penal provisions.
Measures which can reduce the birth rate
Minimum age of Marriage: As fertility depends on the age of marriage. So the minimum age of marriage should be raised. In India minimum age for marriage is 21 years for men and 18 years for women has be fixed by law. This law should be firmly implemented and people should also be made aware of this through publicity.
Raising the Status of Women: There is still discrimination to the women. They are confined to four walls of house. They are still confined to rearing and bearing of children. So women should be given opportunities to develop socially and economically. Free education should be given to them.
Spread of Education: The spread of education changes the outlook of people. The educated men prefer to delay marriage and adopt small family norms. Educated women are health conscious and avoid frequent pregnancies and thus help in lowering birth rate.
Adoption: Some parents do not have any child, despite costly medical treatment. It is advisable that they should adopt orphan children. It will be beneficial to orphan children and children couples.
Change in Social Outlook: Social outlook of the people should undergo a change. Marriage should no longer be considered a social binding. Issueless women should not be looked down upon.
More employment opportunities: The first and foremost measure is to raise, the employment avenues in rural as well as urban areas. Generally in rural areas there is disguised unemployment. So efforts should be made to migrate unemployed persons from rural side to urban side. This step can check the population growth.
Development of Agriculture and Industry: If agriculture and industry are properly developed, large number of people will get employment. When their income is increased they would improve their standard of living and adopt small family norms.
Family Planning: This method implies family by choice and not by chance. By applying preventive measures, people can regulate birth rate. This method is being used extensively; success of this method depends on the availability of cheap contraceptive devices for birth control.