Meeting International Goals
The Islamic Republic of Iran has shown considerable
commitment to meeting international development goals. It has already
surpassed targets set at the International
Conference on Population and Development in the areas in maternal
and infant mortality, family planning and contraceptive prevalence.
Great strides are being made toward universal
literacy and primary education. UNFPA, the United Nations Population
Fund, has provided considerable technical support to these efforts
and has now embarked on its fourth five-year
programme in the country.
The country is also on track for meeting many
of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
However, the national averages mask significant disparities between
rich and poor, young and old, men and women and inhabitants of different
regions. Improving the country's statistical capacity so it can
better measure these disparities is high on the list of priorities
identified in the UN Common Country Assessment (2003) and the 2005-2009
UN Development Assistance Framework. Initiatives that tackle poverty
among vulnerable groups, such as ethnic minorities and refugees,
are also priorities.
The goal of gender
equality remains problematic. Women have made steady progress
in educational attainment (more women than men have entered universities
in each year since 2000, and the literacy rate of women and girls
has increased from 25.5 per cent in 1976 to 76.2 per cent in 2002).
Their access to jobs and careers, especially in the public sector,
has improved and most women have greater control over their fertility
than in the past. Nevertheless, cultural traditions and strict social
norms, as well as existing laws, keep women from full participation
and equity. UNFPA is continuing
its dialogue with policy makers, religious leaders and the media
to integrate gender
concerns into reproductive health policies and to address violence
against women. Within the UN Country Team, the Fund plays a lead
role in addressing gender issues as the Chair of the Gender Theme
Another huge challenge is to fulfil the MDG target related to decent and productive work for youth. The productivity, as well as the reproductive behaviour, of this large group will be a major force shaping the future of the country.
Keeping HIV from spreading to the general population
is also a key priority, which is overseen by the National HIV/AIDS
Control Committee. While the estimate of adult HIV prevalence in
the Islamic Republic of Iran is low (0.1 percent), the number of
reported cases has increased significantly, with injecting drug
use (the country is located on a drug transit route) as the main
route of transmission.
Page last updated: 9 February 2006