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Dr. Fred Sai opened the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). He pointed out the impact that ICPD has already had on the world, and the need for further harmonization of different viewpoints in order to come up with an action programme. He also welcomed the NGOs, whose accreditation was facilitated by early submission of application, and suggested that, where early applications have not been submitted, NGOs may seek information from the ICPD Secretariat.

In her opening statement, Dr. Nafis Sadik, Secretary- General of the Conference, pointed to the unprecedented number of countries interested in the interrelated issues of population and economic sustainability. She emphasized the urgency to move from generalities to specifics in order to translate the recommendations into action. She also stressed the need to reach a balance between the rights and obligations of individuals and those of nations. She said that although 124 countries have already submitted their national reports, the remaining reports are needed to complete the final analysis document. She stated that most nations agree on the linkages between population, environmental sustainability and development, as well as on the centrality of individuals, especially women, to the planning and implementation of population policies. She further stressed that in addition to finance, development of the draft rules of procedure will also be essential for the success of Cairo conference. She invited delegates to focus on action-oriented proposals that are clear, while allowing for the diversity of national priorities, culture, and religion. She called for an appropriate title for the final document.

Jean-Claude Milleron, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis, stated that the successful implementation of ICPD recommendations hinges on government commitments to integrate population policies into all their development efforts. Specifically, they should aim at eliminating poverty and all forms of inequality, especially gender inequality. He stressed the importance of collaboration among nations for achieving the goals of the Conference. He stated that, because of the complexity of issues involved, the draft plan of action will be divided into two parts to be discussed and negotiated by two separate working groups.

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