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The International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, approved a Programme of Action (PoA) by consensus by 179 countries to improve the quality of life for all people across the world. Spelled out in its objectives are that (a) there is universal access to education, especially closing the gender gap in primary and secondary school education; (b) universal access to primary healthcare; (c) universal access to a full range of comprehensive reproductive health care services, including family planning; (d) reductions in infant, child and maternal mortality; and (e) increased life expectancy. The ICPD PoA laid down the framework for population issues to be factored into all development strategies, and to eliminate gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices, especially female genital mutilation. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly convened a special session (known asICPD+5) at which governments not only affirmed their renewed and sustained commitment to the principles, goals and objectives of the Programme of Action, but they recommended a set of key actions for the further implementation of the ICPD PoA.

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