In her welcome address, Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General, Global and Sectoral Policies at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) remembered the history of the Cairo Conference. “The ICPD marked a paradigm shift in the field of population and development,” she said. “Since the 1994 Cairo conference, we have focused on people as individuals – and on their needs. The Cairo program of action was the first document to recognize each and every person’s right to sexual and reproductive health.”

She noted a number of successes since then, including halving maternal and child mortality rates, and outlined Germany’s commitment to keeping that momentum going.  “Germany will be doing everything it can to make sure that the post-2015 agenda lays the foundation for a more just peaceful and sustainable world,” she told delegates. “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are an important part of that. One example of [our] support is our initiative on rights-based family planning and maternal health. The aim is to enable women to decide themselves on the number of children they have and the spacing of their pregnancies. This impacts positively on children’s health and education, the economic prospects of the entire family, and population trends as a whole.“