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Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development
Chapter 12 : Technology, Research and Development
A. Basic data collection, analysis and dissemination
B. Reproductive health research
C. Social and economic research
A. Basic data collection, analysis and dissemination
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Basis for action
12.1. Valid, reliable, timely, culturally relevant and internationally comparable data
form the basis for policy and programme development, implementation, monitoring and
evaluation. While there have been marked improvements in the availability of population
and related development data following important advances made during the past two decades
in the methodologies and technology for data collection and analysis, many gaps remain
with regard to the quality and coverage of baseline information, including vital data on
births and deaths, as well as the continuity of data sets over time. Gender and
ethnicity-specific information, which is needed to enhance and monitor the sensitivity of
development policies and programmes, is still insufficient in many areas. Measurement of
migration, particularly at the regional and international levels, is also among the areas
least valid and least adequately covered. As a matter of principle, individuals,
organizations and developing countries should have access, on a no-cost basis, to the data
and findings based on research carried out in their own countries, including those
maintained by other countries and international agencies.
12.2. The objectives are:
(a) To establish a factual basis for understanding and anticipating the
interrelationships of population and socio-economic - including environmental - variables
and for improving programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation;
(b) To strengthen national capacity to seek new information and meet the need for basic
data collection, analysis and dissemination, giving particular attention to information
classified by age, sex, ethnicity and different geographical units, in order to use the
findings in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of overall
sustainable development strategies and foster international cooperation, including such
cooperation at the regional and subregional levels;
(c) To ensure political commitment to, and understanding of, the need for data
collection on a regular basis and the analysis, dissemination and full utilization of
12.3. Governments of all countries, particularly developing countries, assisted as
appropriate through bilateral cooperation and international organizations and, where
necessary, through interregional, regional and subregional cooperation, should strengthen
their national capacity to carry out sustained and comprehensive programmes on collection,
analysis, dissemination and utilization of population and development data. Particular
attention should be given to the monitoring of population trends and the preparation of
demographic projections and to the monitoring of progress towards the attainment of the
health, education, gender, ethnic and social-equity goals, and of service accessibility
and quality of care, as stated in the present Programme of Action.
12.4. Programmes for the collection, processing, analysis and timely dissemination and
utilization of population and related development data should include disaggregation,
including gender disaggregation, and coverage and presentation compatible with the needs
of effective programme implementation on population and development. Interaction between
the community of data users and data providers should be promoted in order to enable data
providers to respond better to user needs. Research should be designed to take into
account legal and ethical standards and should be carried out in consultation and
partnership with, and with the active participation of, local communities and
institutions, and the findings thereof should be made accessible and available to policy
makers, decision makers, planners and managers of programmes for their timely use.
Comparability should be ensured in all research and data collection programmes.
12.5. Comprehensive and reliable qualitative as well as quantitative databases,
allowing linkages between population, education, health, poverty, family well-being,
environment and development issues and providing information disaggregated at appropriate
and desired levels, should be established and maintained by all countries to meet the
needs of research as well as those of policy and programme development, implementation,
monitoring and evaluation. Special attention should be given to assessing and measuring
the quality and accessibility of care through the development of suitable indicators.
12.6. Demographic, socio-economic and other relevant information networks should be
created or strengthened, where appropriate, at the national, regional and global levels to
facilitate monitoring the implementation of programmes of action and activities on
population, environment and development at the national, regional and global levels.
12.7. All data collection and analysis activities should give due consideration to
gender-disaggregation, enhancing knowledge on the position and role of gender in social
and demographic processes. In particular, in order to provide a more accurate picture of
women's current and potential contribution to economic development, data collection should
delineate more precisely the nature of women's social and labour force status and make
that a basis for policy and programme decisions on improving women's income. Such data
should address, inter alia, women's unpaid economic activities in the family and in the
12.8. Training programmes in statistics, demography, and population and development
studies should be designed and implemented at the national and regional levels,
particularly in developing countries, with enhanced technical and financial support,
through international cooperation and greater national resources.
12.9. All countries, with the support of appropriate organizations, should strengthen
the collection and analysis of demographic data, including international migration data,
in order to achieve a better understanding of that phenomenon and thus support the
formulation of national and international policies on international migration.
B. Reproductive health research
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Basis for action
12.10. Research, in particular biomedical research, has been instrumental in giving
more and more people access to a greater range of safe and effective modern methods for
regulation of fertility. However, not all persons can find a family-planning method that
suits them and the range of choices available to men is more limited than that available
to women. The growing incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS,
demands substantially higher investments in new methods of prevention, diagnosis and
treatment. In spite of greatly reduced funding for reproductive health research, prospects
for developing and introducing new methods and products for contraception and regulation
of fertility have been promising. Improved collaboration and coordination of activities
internationally will increase cost-effectiveness, but a significant increase in support
from Governments and industry is needed to bring a number of potential new, safe and
affordable methods to fruition, especially barrier methods. This research needs to be
guided at all stages by gender perspectives, particularly women's, and the needs of users,
and should be carried out in strict conformity with internationally accepted legal,
ethical, medical and scientific standards for biomedical research.
12.11. The objectives are:
(a) To contribute to the understanding of factors affecting universal reproductive
health, including sexual health, and to expand reproductive choice;
(b) To ensure the initial and continued safety, quality and health aspects of methods
for regulation of fertility;
(c) To ensure that all people have the opportunity to achieve and maintain sound
reproductive and sexual health, the international community should mobilize the full
spectrum of basic biomedical, social and behavioural and programme-related research on
reproductive health and sexuality.
12.12. Governments, assisted by the international community and donor agencies, the
private sector, non-governmental organizations and the academic community, should increase
support for basic and applied biomedical, technological, clinical, epidemiological and
social science research to strengthen reproductive health services, including the
improvement of existing and the development of new methods for regulation of fertility
that meet users' needs and are acceptable, easy to use, safe, free of long- and short-term
side-effects and second-generation effects, effective, affordable and suitable for
different age and cultural groups and for different phases of the reproductive cycle.
Testing and introduction of all new technologies should be continually monitored to avoid
potential abuse. Specifically, areas that need increased attention should include barrier
methods, both male and female, for fertility control and the prevention of sexually
transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, as well as microbicides and virucides, which may
or may not prevent pregnancy.
12.13. Research on sexuality and gender roles and relationships in different cultural
settings is urgently needed, with emphasis on such areas as abuse, discrimination and
violence against women; genital mutilation, where practised; sexual behaviour and mores;
male attitudes towards sexuality and procreation, fertility, family and gender roles;
risk-taking behaviour regarding sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies;
women's and men's perceived needs for methods for regulation of fertility and sexual
health services; and reasons for non-use or ineffective use of existing services and
12.14. High priority should also be given to the development of new methods for
regulation of fertility for men. Special research should be undertaken on factors
inhibiting male participation in order to enhance male involvement and responsibility in
family planning. In conducting sexual and reproductive health research, special attention
should be given to the needs of adolescents in order to develop suitable policies and
programmes and appropriate technologies to meet their health needs. Special priority
should be given to research on sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and
research on infertility.
12.15. To expedite the availability of improved and new methods for regulation of
fertility, efforts must be made to increase the involvement of industry, including
industry in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. A new type of
partnership between the public and private sectors, including women and consumer groups,
is needed to mobilize the experience and resources of industry while protecting the public
interest. National drug and device regulatory agencies should be actively involved in all
stages of the development process to ensure that all legal and ethical standards are met.
Developed countries should assist research programmes in developing countries and
countries with economies in transition with their knowledge, experience and technical
expertise and promote the transfer of appropriate technologies to them. The international
community should facilitate the establishment of manufacturing capacities for
contraceptive commodities in developing countries, particularly the least developed among
them, and countries with economies in transition.
12.16. All research on products for regulation of fertility and sexual and reproductive
health must be carried out in adherence to internationally accepted ethical and technical
standards and cultural conditions for biomedical research. Special attention needs to be
given to the continuous surveillance of contraceptive safety and side-effects. Users', in
particular women's, perspectives and women's organizations should be incorporated into all
stages of the research and development process.
12.17. Since unsafe abortion 20/ is a major threat to the health and lives of women,
research to understand and better address the determinants and consequences of induced
abortion, including its effects on subsequent fertility, reproductive and mental health
and contraceptive practice, should be promoted, as well as research on treatment of
complications of abortions and post-abortion care.
12.18. There should be enhanced research on natural methods for regulation of
fertility, looking for more effective procedures to detect the moment of ovulation during
the menstrual cycle and after childbirth.
C. Social and economic research
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Basis for action
12.19. During the past several decades, the formulation, implementation, monitoring and
evaluation of population policies, programmes and activities have benefited from the
findings of social and economic research highlighting how population change results from
and impacts on complex interactions of social, economic and environmental factors.
Nevertheless, some aspects of those interactions are still poorly understood and knowledge
is lacking, especially with regard to developing countries, in areas relevant to a range
of population and development policies, particularly concerning indigenous practices.
Social and economic research is clearly needed to enable programmes to take into account
the views of their intended beneficiaries, especially women, the young and other less
empowered groups, and to respond to the specific needs of those groups and of communities.
Research regarding the interrelations between global or regional economic factors and
national demographic processes is required. Improved quality of services can be achieved
only where quality has been defined by both users and providers of services and where
women are actively involved in decision-making and service delivery.
12.20. The objectives are:
(a) To promote socio-cultural and economic research that assists in the design of
programmes, activities and services to improve the quality of life and meet the needs of
individuals, families and communities, in particular all underserved groups; 22/
(b) To promote the use of research findings to improve the formulation of policies and
the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects that improve the
welfare of individuals and families and the needy to enhance their quality, efficiency and
client-sensitivity, and to increase the national and international capacity for such
(c) To understand that sexual and reproductive behaviour occurs in varying
socio-cultural contexts, and to understand the importance of that context for the design
and implementation of service programmes.
12.21. Governments, funding agencies and research organizations should encourage and
promote socio-cultural and economic research on relevant population and development
policies and programmes, including indigenous practices, especially with regard to
interlinkages between population, poverty alleviation, environment, sustained economic
growth and sustainable development.
12.22. Socio-cultural and economic research should be built into population and
development programmes and strategies in order to provide guidance for programme managers
on ways and means of reaching underserved clients and responding to their needs. To this
end, programmes should provide for operations research, evaluation research and other
applied social science research. This research should be participatory in character.
Mechanisms should be established with a view to ensuring that research findings are
incorporated into the decision- making process.
12.23. Policy-oriented research, at the national and international levels, should be
undertaken on areas beset by population pressures, poverty, over-consumption patterns,
destruction of ecosystems and degradation of resources, giving particular attention to the
interactions between those factors. Research should also be done on the development and
improvement of methods with regard to sustainable food production and crop and livestock
systems in both developed and developing countries.
12.24. Governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations
concerned, funding agencies and research organizations are urged to give priority to
research on the linkages between women's roles and status and demographic and development
processes. Among the vital areas for research are changing family structures; family
well-being; the interactions between women's and men's diverse roles, including their use
of time, access to power and decision-making and control over resources; associated norms,
laws, values and beliefs; and the economic and demographic outcomes of gender inequality.
Women should be involved at all stages of gender research planning, and efforts should be
made to recruit and train more female researchers.
12.25. Given the changing nature and extent of the spatial mobility of population,
research to improve the understanding of the causes and consequences of migration and
mobility, whether internal or international, is urgently needed. To provide a sound
foundation for such research, special efforts need to be made to improve the quality,
timeliness and accessibility of data on internal and international migration levels,
trends and policies.
12.26. In the light of the persistence of significant mortality and morbidity
differentials between population subgroups within countries, it is urgent to step up
efforts to investigate the factors underlying such differentials, in order to devise more
effective policies and programmes for their reduction. Of special importance are the
causes of differentials, including gender differentials, in mortality and morbidity,
particularly at younger and older ages. Increased attention should also be paid to the
relative importance of various socio-economic and environmental factors in determining
mortality differentials by region or socio-economic and ethnic group. Causes and trends in
maternal, perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality also need further investigation.
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