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Dr. Sadik said that she had been surprised by the recent controversies raised by the Programme of Action and the negotiating process. She explained that each country will decide for itself which recommendations in the text are relevant to its needs, and how to interpret them. She also said the principle of sovereignty underlies the whole text and the language of the document is framed so as to be acceptable to the widest possible spectrum of approaches to population. She hoped that all countries represented will reach full agreement. She added that the significance of this Conference would depend on the effectiveness with which commitments are translated into action.

General statements were then delivered by the representatives of Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, Germany, on behalf of the EU, Mexico, China, Kenya, Argentina, the IMF, Tuvalu, Chile and Spain. These countries highlighted the changes in the population situation since the last Population Conference and referred to: the centrality of the human being; the globalization of the situation; and their social and cultural particularities. A number of delegations reiterated their opposition to abortion.