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Population Growth Plan Needs Money

February 12, 1999

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ An international plan to slow global population growth needs better funding, delegates to a U.N. population forum agreed Friday.

Some 1,500 delegates from 180 countries wrapped up a week-long conference to discuss progress in the Cairo plan. The 20-year program was adopted at the 1994 Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt.

The Cairo meeting transformed the way governments look at population issues by emphasizing the empowerment of women, accessible health care and family planning services.

Delegates compiled a list of recommendations to be used at another conference next month in New York to improve the plan. The U.N. General Assembly is expected to formally adopt the recommendations in June.

``This is not just a paper. These words represent real policy change,″ said Nasif Sadik, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund.

Cairo called for spending on population programs to reach $17 billion by 2000, with industrialized countries contributing one third of the money. So far the donor nations have provided less than one third of their allocated contributions.

Unsafe abortions were highlighted as a ``major public health concern,″ and delegates said emergency contraception, meaning abortion pills, should be made available to women. The forum did not adopt a recommendation to declare a universal right to abortion.

The conference also called for the creation of goals to slow the spread of HIV and AIDS. Delegates stressed that all adolescents should have access to information about HIV and AIDS and to sexual health services.

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