The International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo from 5 to 13 September 1994 attracted worldwide attention, through the intensive media coverage that was devoted to it both prior and during the Conference. The Vatican, following a personal intervention of Pope John Paul II, took an extremely active role in the discussions of a document entitled «Draft Programme of Action» that was to be submitted to the various governmental delegations for approval. Vocal Islamic fundamentalist groups criticized the content of the document as contrary to the Quran and threatened the security of delegates attending the Conference. This paper documents some of the events of the Conference and provides a technical and textual presentation of some of the main areas of discussion. The role of the Vatican during the Conference is assessed in a final section of the paper.