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PrepCom II gave the Secretariat the mandate to prepare the draft plan of action that will be the basis for negotiations at PrepCom III. The Chair's summary on the conceptual framework (E/CONF.84/PC/L.9) is the actual document that will provide guidance to the Secretariat as it prepares the draft. The summary consolidates discussions in both formal and informal proceedings on the content and structure of the final document.

The challenge before the Secretariat is to produce a document that best reflects the discussions at PrepCom II as well as the input that governments, NGOs and IGOs will provide between now and PrepCom III. Dr. Sadik made it very clear that her door will be open to the additional input that governments and NGOs may wish to provide for inclusion in the first draft of the final document.

It is unlikely that the Secretariat will conduct informal consultations on the contentious substantive issues in the intersessional period. However, it is altogether possible that informal discussions will be carried out on matters relating to procedure as well as the actual structure of the final document.

The Secretariat's task will be to capture the consensus that was reached on such issues as gender equality and the role of women, reproductive health, international migration and aging as well as the interrelationship between population, environment and sustained economic growth. The Secretariat will have to somehow capture the middle ground on such contentious issues as abortion and "the family" in a way that will facilitate the negotiations at PrepCom III. The Secretariat has been given the mandate to prepare an annotated outline by the 48th session of the General Assembly and to produce the first draft of the final document by February 1994.

Another important task of the Secretariat will be to disseminate, as widely as possible, the results of PrepCom II. In particular, the UNFPA field offices will have to be brought up to speed on PrepCom II deliberations.

And finally, a key challenge for the Secretariat will be to raise the additional funds needed to finance PrepCom III and the Conference. Of the US$6.8 million needed, the Secretariat has received pledges in the amount of $4.28 million. During PrepCom II, Japan announced it would contribute $500,000 of the remaining $1.8 million, leaving $1.3 million to be raised. Dr. Sadik expressed her hope that this outstanding amount would come from both developed and developing countries. [Return to start of article]