NAIROBI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) opened in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday with a rallying call for governments and multilateral institutions to promote access to modern contraceptives for women of childbearing age.
Thousands of delegates including world leaders, ministers, heads of multilateral agencies, campaigners and researchers attended the summit that is expected to revitalize the global birth control agenda.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his opening remarks said that investments in reproductive health for women and girls are key to reduce maternal deaths and foster sustainable growth.
"Advancing women's rights, their choices and well-being is the path to creation of prosperous and resilient societies," said Kenyatta, adding that birth control will impact positively on gender parity and poverty reduction.
Kenya has partnered with the government of Denmark and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to host the Nov. 12-14 summit that will reinvigorate political and financial commitments required to ensure contraceptives are available to women of reproductive age.
President Kenyatta said that Kenya will rally behind global efforts to address policy, socio-cultural and financing bottlenecks that have undermined efforts to provide modern family planning services.
"We must increase the level of domestic financing towards reproductive health services for women and girls, while leveraging on research, technology and innovations to achieve better outcomes," said Kenyatta.
Amina Mohamed, the United Nations deputy secretary-general said that governments and multilateral lenders should place the reproductive health rights of women and girls at the heart of sustainable development programs.
"We should come up with a bold vision of a rights-based approach to provision of family planning services as part of women empowerment," said Mohamed.
Access to modern contraceptives that are affordable and efficacious is key to achieve gender equality, eradicate poverty and achieve peace, inclusiveness and stability, she added.
Her Royal Highness Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark said that governments should leverage on strategic partnerships, innovative financing and engagement with women and youth to promote the reproductive health agenda.
"New and innovative partnerships are required to bridge access gap for contraceptives," she said.
She said that governments must prioritize education for girls and provide them with vocational skills to minimize their vulnerability to harmful practices like early pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
Natalia Kanem, the executive director of UNFPA said that tackling unmet needs for modern birth control methods will boost efforts to end hunger, poverty and resource-based conflicts.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted a landmark Programme of Action which set out to empower women and girls for their sake, and for the benefit of their families, communities and nations.