The ICPD Plan of Action

The Five thematic pillars of Population and Development

Dignity and Human Righs

The primary attention to dignity and human rights is motivated by the assertion that completing the unfinished agenda of the International Conference will require a focused and shared commitment to human rights, non-discrimination and expanding opportunities for all. Any development agenda that aims at individual and collective well-being and sustainability has to guarantee dignity and human rights to all persons.


The right to the highest attainable standard of health, the significance of good health to the enjoyment of dignity and human rights and the importance of healthy populations to sustainable development are undeniable. The International Conference recognized the centrality of sexual and reproductive health and rights to health and development. Sexual and reproductive health and rights spans the lives of both women and men, offering individuals and couples the right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexual and reproductive health, and to do so free from violence and coercion.

Place and Mobility

Place and mobility encompasses the social and spatial environments that we live in and move between. The importance of place and mobility as a thematic pillar resides in linking the large-scale trends and dynamics of population — household formation and composition, internal mobility and urbanization, international migration and land and displacement — to the achievement of both individual dignity and well-being and sustainable development.

Governance and Accountability

Governance and accountability is the primary means of achieving these goals. The world has seen important shifts in the diffusion of authority and leadership since 1994, with a growing multiplicity of national, municipal, civil society, private sector and other non-State actors. The International Conference generated momentum at the national level for the creation and renewal of institutions to address population dynamics, sustainable development, sexual and reproductive health, the needs of adolescents and youth, and gender equality.


Sustainability reaffirms the intrinsic linkages between the goals elaborated in the preceding paragraphs on dignity and human rights, health, place and mobility, and governance, and underscores that discrimination and inequality must be prioritized in both the beyond 2014 and post-2015 agendas for the well-being of the human population and our common home, the planet. The current development model has improved living standards and expanded opportunity for many, yet the economic and social gains have been distributed unequally and have come at great cost to the environment.