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The third session of the Preparatory Committee was held in New York from 4-22 April 1994. Delegates tried to reach agreement on as much of the draft final Programme of Action as possible. During the first week of the PrepCom, delegates proposed amendments to the Secretariat"s draft text (A/CONF.171/PC/5). Two working groups, under the chairmanship of Nicolaas Biegman (Netherlands) and Lionel Hurst (Antigua and Barbuda) were responsible for negotiating the chapters in the draft Programme of Action. During the second and third weeks, the Working Group Chairs produced revised versions of each chapter for the consideration of delegations. During the last three days of the PrepCom, delegates considered each chapter one final time in Plenary. Although the Chair had hoped to remove as many of the remaining brackets as possible, some of the more divisive issues could not be resolved. Thus, the PrepCom adopted the final draft Programme of Action and sent the text, brackets and all, to the Conference in Cairo.

PrepCom III made a number of concrete advances during its three-week session. These include: the focus shifted from family planning to overall reproductive health; population is placed in the overall development context; the chapter on empowerment of women (Chapter IV) is much stronger than anyone had ever expected, in fact it is considerably stronger than any of the draft language for the upcoming Women"s Conference in Beijing; it contains reference to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; and it recognizes the special needs and rights of indigenous people.

Nevertheless, a number of key issues were left to be resolved in Cairo: the definition of family planning, reproductive and sexual health and rights, and safe motherhood; the reproductive and sexual health needs of adolescents; the preamble and principles (Chapters I and II); and the resource requirements needed for implementation.

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