Reproductive Health and Human Rights: The Way Forward critically reflects on the past fifteen years of international efforts aimed at improving health, alleviating poverty, diminishing gender inequality, and promoting human rights. The volume includes essays by leading scholars and practitioners that are centered on the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its resulting Programme of Action. ICPD, an agreement among 179 governments, UN agencies, and NGOs, was intended to shape population and development policy—reinterpreted and redefined as "reproductive health." More than a decade after the enthusiasm that accompanied ICPD, there is growing concern about its effectiveness in the context of global health and development. Reproductive Health and Human Rights addresses that concern.
The book grapples with fundamental questions about the relationships among population, fertility decline, reproductive health, human rights, poverty alleviation, and development and assesses the various arguments—demographic, public health, human rights-based, and economic—for and against ICPD today.
A number of the chapters address institutional challenges to ICPD and consider how the changing political, religious, academic, and disciplinary contexts matter. Other chapters engage operational and conceptual issues and whether ICPD has been able to move the reproductive health agenda forward on topics such as maternal mortality, abortion, HIV/AIDS, adolescents, reproductive technologies, and demography. Finally, several chapters examine how ICPD has been sidelined by emerging health and development agendas and what could be done in response. Unlike any book yet published, Reproductive Health and Human Rights: The Way Forward examines the state of the arguments for reproductive health and rights from a multidisciplinary perspective that provides policymakers, scholars, and activists with a better understanding of how reproductive health and rights have developed, their place in the global policy agenda, and how they might evolve most effectively in the future.