New York – Morocco’s inter-ministerial delegate for human rights, Mahjoub El Haiba, is taking part in New York in the 47th session of the UN Commission on population and development (Apr.7-11) “to assess the status of implementation of the program of action of the international conference of population and development, held in Cairo in 1994.The week-long forum will assess action taken over the past 20 years to improve people’s lives and address population issues amid changes in ageing, fertility, mortality, migration and urbanization, since the landmark Cairo international conference.That conference established that increasing access to health and education, and protecting human rights, especially those of women and teenagers, would help secure a better social and economic future and lead to more sustainable population trends. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that with the ICPD Program of Action, Governments set out an ambitious agenda to deliver inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. “Over the past two decades, this agenda has contributed to significant advances,” he said in a message to the Commission.“Fewer people are living in extreme poverty. Gender equality and the empowerment of women are gaining ground worldwide. More people are living longer, healthier lives. More girls are in school. Fewer women are dying in pregnancy and childbirth. There are more laws to protect and uphold human rights.”Yet, in the midst of this human progress, the continued exclusion of some groups and the potential for serious environmental damage put these gains at risk, Ban continued. Moreover, changing age, household and family structures as well as rapid urbanization and migration pose new challenges for human development.“We have an urgent responsibility, to invest in creating opportunities and a supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship for persons of all ages, in particular for young people. It is crucial to invest in their health and education and to review legislation, standards and practices that restrict their full participation in and access to sexual and reproductive health services.”The IPCD Global Review Report, issued by the UN in February, pointed out that much remains to be done on a range of issues, including the enormous inequalities that remain in the realization of human rights and access to vital services, as well as new challenges and opportunities related to population growth, changing age structures, rapid urbanization and migration.Since 1994, the global population has grown from 5.7 to 7.2 billion. Despite slowing population growth, UN projections suggest the world’s population could reach 9.6 billion by 2050, with most of the increase concentrated in the poorest countries.According to a report prepared by the Secretary-General for the Commission, the current state of the world’s population is one of unprecedented diversity and change, as reflected in new patterns of ageing, fertility, mortality, migration and urbanization.According to a news release on the Commission’s opening, older persons are the world’s fastest growing age group. The number of people over age 60 almost doubled between 1994 and 2014, and older persons today outnumber children under the age of five. Globally, the share of older persons is expected to reach 21 per cent by 2050.