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‘The Future We Want’ was adopted by consensus today by all countries in the United Nations at the closing session of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, from 20 to 22 June.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, welcomes the recognition by world leaders of the importance of sexual and reproductive health and the need for integrating the theme as a priority in national strategies and programmes,” said UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

“Health and rights are vital to and at the core of sustainability,” Dr. Osotimehin continued. “We cannot promote sustainable development without promoting the health—especially reproductive health—and rights of women and girls, as well as the youth.”

The common global vision also committed to reducing maternal and child death and to improving the health of women, youth and children. As stated in ‘The Future We Want’, the leaders reaffirmed their “commitment to gender equality and to protect the rights of women, men and youth to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including access to sexual and reproductive health, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.”

World leaders further committed to working “actively to ensure that health systems provide the necessary information and services addressing the sexual and reproductive health of women, including working towards universal access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning, as essential conditions for women’s health and for advancing gender equality.” 

In their common vision, they also resolved to unlock women’s potential as drivers of sustainable development through empowerment of women and the repeal of discriminatory laws and harmful practices that act as barriers to gender equality. They committed to promoting equal access of women and girls to education and to creating an enabling environment to improve their living standards everywhere, including with gender-sensitive indicators and sex-disaggregated data in planning and policymaking.

‘The Future We Want’ recognized the importance of inclusive and human centered sustainable development that benefits youth, addressing health, participation and employment, stressing that younger generations are the custodians of the future and highlighting the importance of education in this regard.

The common vision noted the linkages between projected global population and the need to increase efforts to achieve sustainable development. Governments committed to systematically consider population trends projections in national, rural and urban development strategies and policies, noting that, through forward-looking planning, they can seize opportunities and address challenges linked to demographic change, including migration.

The Summiteers also recognized the need for integrated planning and management approaches to promote more sustainable cities and human settlements.