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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, welcomes the conclusions of the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development, which reaffirmed  the groundbreaking and forward-looking Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

I particularly welcome the Commission’s emphasis on the need to promote human development and gender equality and to empower girls and young women. I also strongly support the Commission’s belief that further development progress requires the realization of human rights and full participation of young people, who are a major resource for development and key agents of social change.

We at UNFPA strongly agree with the Commission that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are not only essential to the realization of social justice, but key to sustainable development. We also join the Commission in urging the international community to give particular attention to the areas of shortfall in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action, including in universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, which includes family planning.

I particularly commend the Commission for acknowledging the critical need to address inequality and discrimination on any ground, which hamper achievement of the goals and objectives of the ICPD, especially for the most disadvantaged among us.  Addressing these issues would vastly enhance our common efforts to build a more sustainable and inclusive future beyond 2015.

I also welcome the many positive national statements delivered during the Commission, which will guide UNFPA in the further implementation of the ICPD. In particular, I am very pleased that the Commission has called on governments to build on progress made and experiences gained from the ICPD implementation in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.

UNFPA looks forward to assisting countries in implementing the decisions they have taken. By working together, we can ensure that individual dignity and human rights remain at the heart of the development agenda for the next 20 years and beyond.