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PLENARY: The third session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee, which begins today and continues for three weeks at United Nations Headquarters in New York, will be opened by the Chair of the Preparatory Committee, Dr. Fred Sai (Ghana), this morning. Following the Chair's opening remarks, Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund and Secretary-General of the Conference, will introduce the documentation for this session. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, Jean-Claude Milleron, is expected to speak, followed by Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, Nitin Desai.

The Chair will then turn to Agenda Item 1, adoption of the agenda and programme of work. It is expected that the Plenary will meet today and Tuesday (with a possible evening session on Tuesday) to hear general statements. Look for the establishment of two working groups that may begin meeting as early as Tuesday. If there is no agreement today on the clustering of chapters for consideration by the working groups, look for the Chair to assign one of the Vice-Chairs to find consensus on this matter. The Chair will likely announce that the working groups will meet throughout the next three weeks with the objective of bringing unbracketed text back to the Plenary by the conclusion of this session.

The next item of the agenda will be the accreditation of NGOs. Two documents have been prepared by the Secretariat that recommend the accreditation of approximately 230 additional NGOs to the PrepCom process. The Chair is likely to announce that there will be additional lists of NGOs to be accredited at this session.

Sadik will then introduce the draft final document of the Conference (A/CONF.171/PC/5) and the Chair will open the floor for general debate. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, is expected to open the discussion, followed by Greece, on behalf of the European Union (EU). Other speakers include Dr. Maher Mahran, the Egyptian Minister of State for Population and Family Welfare, Australia and Japan. Speakers for the afternoon session may include the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, UNESCO, the NGO Planning Committee, Population Council, Population Action International, Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), International Food Policy Research Institute, Japanese Federation of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Ecology Taskforce, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and Afghanistan.

Speakers will be reminded that interventions at this stage in the negotiating process should focus on substantive contributions to the draft final document. Governments have been asked to limit their interventions to ten minutes and NGOs will be allowed to speak for five minutes each.

CANADIAN PROPOSAL ON FOLLOW-UP TO CAIRO: Look for the release of a Canadian proposal on ICPD follow-up within the United Nations system. Some preliminary ideas on this subject were tabled at the last informal intersessional meeting on the draft document, which was held at the end of March. This document is likely to suggest mechanisms for coordination among the 23 United Nations system units, bodies and organizations involved in population activities.

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