You are here

UNFPA & the Government of Iraq celebrate the 25 years of the International Conference on Population and Development

BAGHDAD, Iraq, 1 August 2019 – Twenty-five years ago, 179 world leaders promised women to empower and protect them and improve their access to reproductive health services at the International Conference on Population & Development, ICPD, in Cairo.

On 28 July 2019, under the patronage and attendance of His Excellency, Dr Qusay Al-Suhail, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Iraqi Statistical Association, in collaboration with UNFPA, hosted a seminar on the 25 years of ICPD, in presence of UNFPA Regional Director for the Arab States, Dr Luay Shabaneh.

Throughout the seminar, academics, experts, and demographers discussed the progress made in Iraq and the ways forward to guarantee women, youth and adolescents have access quality education and reproductive health services, including family planning, and ensure all forms of discrimination against women and girls are eliminated.

The most important findings from the research papers submitted were the decrease of infant and child under five mortalities, the decrease in the fertility rate from 7 to 3.6. The papers acknowledged the major steps taken in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq which put further restrictions on polygamy and suspended the use Iraqi’s Penal Code’s article 111 regarding “honour” killings.

Celebrations continued the next evening under the patronage of His Excellency, Adil Abdul Mahdi, Prime Minister of Iraq.

On 29 July, UNFPA and the Ministry of Planning, under the guidance and attendance of His Excellency, Minister of Planning, Dr Noori Sabah al-Dulaimi, held a conference and dinner at the PM’s Guest House to celebrate not only 25 years of the ICPD, but also World Population Day and 50 years since the establishment of UNFPA.

During the event, Mr Abdul Mahdi announced the launch of the planning process of the 2020 census, noting that it has been more than 30 years since the last comprehensive census. He also declared that the census would be conducted using digital technology for accuracy of data to help the Government initiate programmes aimed at improving the quality of life of the population in Iraq.

UNFPA Regional Director, Dr Shabaneh, who was also present at the conference, applauded the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government for the efforts exerted to conduct the census and reiterated UNFPA’s commitment to providing technical support during all stages of the 2020 census, and ensure the data are widely utilized and disseminated for development.

Dr Shabaneh promised to continue to work with both governments, donors, and civil society to achieve zero preventable maternal death, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.

The event was attended by representatives from ministries, parliamentary committees, diplomats, donor community, civil society, and UN agencies, including Mr Ayman Gharaybeh, UNHCR Representative to Iraq, on behalf of Ms Marta Ruedas, the UN Resident Coordinator in Iraq, and the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance, Ms. Alice Walpole.


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For more information or media inquiries please contact: Salwa Moussa, Communications Specialist,