Summary report, 31 December 1993

1993 Year End Update on ICPD

Although the next meeting of the Preparatory Committee for theInternational Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) willnot take place until April 1994, there is much to report upon theconclusion of the 48th session of the United Nations GeneralAssembly. This special year-end issue of the Earth NegotiationsBulletin will review relevant activities that have taken placesince September 1993, summarize the results of the GeneralAssembly's consideration of the ICPD, and highlight upcomingevents. This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ispublished as part of a series of year-end issues intended tosummarize the current state of play in the various conferences andnegotiations reported on by the Bulletin in 1993.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ICPD

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)was created by United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)resolution 1989/91 in 1989. The Government of Egypt will host theConference in Cairo on 5-13 September 1994. The Secretary-Generalof the Conference is Dr. Nafis Sadik, the Executive Director of theUnited Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The Preparatory Committee had its first substantive session in NewYork from 4-8 March 1991. This session defined the objectives andthemes of the Conference, and proposed convening expert groupmeetings, regional population conferences and two additionalsessions of the PrepCom. The PrepCom identified six clusters ofpriority issues: population, environment and development;population policies and programmes; population and women; familyplanning, health and family well-being; population growth anddemographic structure; and population distribution and migration.These clusters were addressed by a series of expert group meetingsorganized by the Population Division of the Department of Economicand Social Development of the United Nations Secretariat inconsultation with UNFPA. Another source of input to the Conferencepreparations was a series of regional population conferences thatwere held in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean,and the Middle East.

The second session of the Preparatory Committee was held in NewYork from 10-21 May 1993. The overriding objective was to reachagreement on the form and substance of the final document to beadopted in Cairo. Delegates agreed on a set of population anddevelopment issues to be discussed and elaborated a draft structurefor the final document. There was support for adoption of a new,free-standing document which will include action-orientedrecommendations to effectively address population and developmentchallenges into the next decade. Delegates also reached consensuson the inclusion of a number of issues in this document, includingthe relationship between population, environment, sustained growthand economic development; the empowerment of women; populationaging; health and mortality; population distribution, urbanizationand internal migration; international migration; and thepartnership between governments, NGOs and the private sector. (Formore information, see the report of the Preparatory Committee(E/1993/69) and Earth Negotiations Bulletin Vol.6 No. 11.)

SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 1993 HIGHLIGHTS

ROUNDTABLE ON POPULATION POLICIES, PROGRAMMES AND HIV/AIDS

During the second session of the ICPD PrepCom, a number ofgovernments raised the need for further dialogue on some of themost critical issues to be discussed at the 1994 Conference. As aresult the ICPD Secretary-General convened a series of roundtablediscussions, in cooperation with governments that have offered tohost the meetings.

A roundtable on population policies, programmes and HIV/AIDS tookplace in Berlin, Germany from 28 September - 1 October 1993.Approximately 40 technical experts and representatives fromdeveloping countries and selected developed countries, NGOs and UNagencies attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was toexamine the short- and medium-term demographic impact of the AIDSepidemic and to explore the implications of AIDS on population anddevelopment policies and on maternal and child health and familyplanning programmes.

Participants at the roundtable concluded that AIDS will not have asignificant impact on population growth, at global, regional ornational levels. In some African cities, however, rates of naturalpopulation increase may be reduced, although this may be offset bymigration. Participants also agreed that a more urgent issue is thenegative impact on social and economic development caused bygrowing rates of premature death among the most productive segmentsof the population -- young and middle-aged adults. In addition,within some countries' health systems, resources needed for diseaseprevention are being diverted to treat diseases that accompanyAIDS. They also concluded that family planning programmes have amajor role to play in HIV/AIDS prevention, particularly in helpingwomen and young people to better protect themselves from infection.Substantial additional resources are needed for both familyplanning and AIDS prevention.

ROUNDTABLE ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

UNFPA, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and SocialCommission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), convened a roundtableon population and development strategies from 17-19 November 1993in Bangkok, Thailand. Over 40 development experts and officialsfrom bilateral and multilateral assistance agencies debated how tobetter integrate population into development planning. Topics fordiscussion included the consequences for population policyformulation of the new planning "paradigm", the implications ofstructural adjustment policies for human resources, policy researchchallenges, divergent experiences from countries and regions, andfuture directions for population and sustainable development.

Participants at the roundtable adopted a set of recommendationsdirected at governments, international organizations and NGOs.Governments were urged to recognize the growing need for strategicthinking about population and development, particularly in thecontext of the increasing emphasis on private, market-basedinitiatives for productive growth. There was agreement thatpolicies and programmes need to be more participatory, involvelocal communities and ensure the empowerment of women. Participantsalso agreed that planning and policy making should be decentralizedas much as possible.

ROUNDTABLE ON POPULATION, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE POST-UNCED PERIOD

A roundtable on population, environment and sustainable developmentin the post-UNCED period was convened in Geneva, Switzerland from24-26 November 1993. The meeting was organized by the InternationalAcademy of the Environment, in collaboration with UNFPA, the UnitedNations Environment Programme and the Swiss Government. Theroundtable focused on five varying ecosystems where environmentaldegradation and natural resource depletion is serious and wherepoverty and population pressures appear to be significantcontributing factors: deforestation in Central America;desertification in sub-Saharan Africa; coastal and marinedegradation in the Bay of Bengal; forested uplands of Indonesia,the Philippines and Thailand; and small island States in the SouthPacific.

The roundtable, which consisted of 35 experts from governments,universities and research institutes, multilateral and regionalagencies and NGOs, endorsed the principles and guidelines foraction embodied in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 and, withoutattempting to reflect every aspect of them, elected to highlightcertain recommendations as most pertinent to restoring a balancebetween population, environment and resources in the context ofsustainable development. The participants agreed on 17recommendations covering the interrelationship between populationand the environment; the need to modify consumption patterns andlifestyles; poverty reduction; and strategies to address the needsof urban populations. Sectoral recommendations addressed the needto: encourage domestic food production; promote forestconservation, sustainable forest management, reforestation, landtenure reform and alternative energy sources; safeguardbiodiversity; prohibit harmful fishing technologies, reduce coastaland ocean pollution, preserve dwindling mangrove forests andrehabilitate depleted fish stocks; and conserve, manage anddistribute water resources. Institutional recommendations addressedthe need for: local participation and initiatives; the fullparticipation of women in decision making and project design;building institutional capacity in developing countries; revisionof policies on land ownership, tenure and use; and environmentaland population education. The roundtable also recommended expandedpolicy-oriented research and the development of innovative ways toprovide the targeted financial assistance and technologycooperation to secure a long-term balance between population,environment and natural resources.

ROUNDTABLE ON POPULATION AND COMMUNICATION

A roundtable on population and communication, hosted by the ViennaInstitute for Development and Cooperation, was held from 2-3December 1993 in Vienna, Austria. The agenda for the roundtablefocused on several main areas of concern: an assessment of currentdemographic trends and the factors influencing them; thedevelopments in population communication; and case studies on thepotential of the media for population issues, including traditionaland non-commercial media, TV soaps, songs, interactive radio, dramaand film. The roundtable also discussed strategies to strengthenpopulation communications, and explored the role of broadcastpolicies and international cooperation, the challenge of resourcemobilization, questions of marketing and community involvement, andthe need for strategic planning and coordination in the fields ofinformation, education and communication.

The roundtable adopted 37 recommendations that are being submittedto the ICPD for its consideration. These recommendations addressed:the importance of population information, education andcommunication; the need to strengthen partnerships betweengovernments and NGOs in the field of population communications; theneed to build institutional capacities in the area of populationcommunications; the role of entertainment programmes; the role ofradio and television communication; and the need to emphasize suchissues as the prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitteddiseases, safe motherhood and child survival, and family planningin population communications.

NGO ACTIVITIES

The NGO Planning Committee for the ICPD has been active during thelast quarter of 1993 in preparation for PrepCom III and the NGOForum. Over 90 NGOs have completed registration forms and suggestedprogramme activities for PrepCom III. The NGO Planning Committeehas also been working with the Egyptian National PreparatoryCommittee and the Egyptian NGO Committee to finalize details andaddress the needs of NGOs who will be in attendance at the NGOForum. The NGO Forum will take place at the National SportsComplex, a ten-minute walk from the Cairo International ConferenceCenter where the ICPD will be held. In early December, the staff ofthe NGO Planning Committee went to Cairo to outline tasks andresponsibilities critical to a successful Forum. Remaining concernsare the renovation of the Forum site, a range of hotelaccommodations appropriate for NGO budgets, and fundraising tocover the costs of the Forum.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY HIGHLIGHTS

The ICPD was considered by the 48th session of the UN GeneralAssembly on 4-5 November 1993. The discussions took place in theSecond Committee, which had before it a number of documentsincluding the Report of the Secretary-General on the implementationof General Assembly resolution 47/167 and ECOSOC resolution 1991/93(A/48/430) and the annotated outline of the final document of theConference (A/48/430/Add.1).

The outline of the annotated outline of the Cairo Document aspresented to the Second Committee, is as follows:

PART ONE. PREAMBLE AND PRINCIPLES

  • I. Preamble
  • II. Principles/fundamental considerations

PART TWO. CHOICES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • III. The interrelationships between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development
  • IV. Gender equality and empowerment of women
  • V. The family, its roles, composition and structure
  • VI. Population growth and structure
  • VII. Reproductive rights, reproductive health and family planning
  • VIII. Health and mortality
  • IX. Population distribution, urbanization and internal migration
  • X. International migration

PART THREE. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION:

  • XI. Population information, education and communication
  • XII. Capacity-building
  • XIII. Technology, research and development
  • XIV. National action
  • XV. International cooperation
  • XVI. Partnerships with non-governmental groups, including non-governmental organizations, the private sector and local community groups
  • XVII. Follow-up

In her opening statement to the Second Committee, ICPDSecretary-General Dr. Nafis Sadik asked delegates to examine andcomment on the annotated outline. She also touched briefly onseveral other aspects of the preparatory process. She mentionedthat they have been able to assist 92 developing countries (at atotal outlay of over US$760,000) in the preparation of nationalpopulation reports and in activities aimed at raising publicawareness on population and development issues. With regard tonational population reports, 50 countries have already submittedtheir reports and she encouraged delegates to both submit theirreports and make them widely available in their countries, atPrepCom III and in Cairo. In addition to asking delegates toendorse ECOSOC resolution 1993/76 (which recommends extending thethird session of the PrepCom by one week, convening two days ofpre-Conference consultations, and raising the level of thePreparatory Committee to a subsidiary body of the GeneralAssembly), Dr. Sadik asked governments for permission to conductinformal briefings during the first three months of 1994.

The annotated outline was the focus of many statements during theSecond Committee debate. During the discussion, delegates raised anumber of key points. These were summarized by Dr. Sadik in herclosing statement as follows:

  • The centrality of population issues must be maintained in the Cairo document;
  • Part II (Choices and Responsibilities) and Part III (Means of Implementation) must be more in line with one another;
  • The recommendations should be action-oriented, clear and concise;
  • There should be an emphasis on implementable activities, not just recommendations;
  • The rights of the individual must be central to the document;
  • The chapter on the empowerment of women must be strengthened;
  • The document should give more attention to sexuality and the family planning needs of youth and adolescents;
  • The 20-year goals should not establish demographic targets and quotas, but should relate more to education and access to family planning information;
  • The Secretariat should provide information on the costs of various proposals;
  • Means of implementation should be given a high priority;
  • The chapter on follow-up to the Conference is inadequate;
  • The issues of consumption and lifestyles should be given more attention;
  • The perspective and needs of countries in transition should be reflected in the document;
  • The section on indigenous peoples needs strengthening; and
  • The role of NGOs should be spelled out more carefully.

The ICPD Secretariat will be using these statements, as well as anywritten comments and reactions to the annotated outline, to assistit in its next major task -- the preparation of the full text ofthe draft final document. This draft is expected be completed inJanuary and will be the focus of discussions at the third sessionof the ICPD Preparatory Committee, to be held from 4-22 April 1994.

Second Committee resolution A/C.2/48/L.11/Rev.1, adopted on 6December, endorses the Economic and Social Council resolution1993/76 of 30 July 1993 on the preparations for the ICPD anddecides that the ICPD Preparatory Committee shall become asubsidiary body of the General Assembly, without prejudice tocurrent arrangements for participation in the Conference and itspreparatory process. The resolution also requests theSecretary-General of the Conference, in preparing the draft finaldocument of the Conference, to be guided by the views expressed bydelegations and groups of delegations on the annotated outline,including those expressed at the 48th session of the GeneralAssembly. The Secretary-General was also requested to submit to thePrepCom at its third session a report synthesizing the results ofregional and subregional population conferences. TheSecretary-General of the Conference has also been requested toconvene, within existing resources, informal consultations at UNHeadquarters, in the period prior to the third session of thePreparatory Committee, to exchange views in preparation fornegotiations on the draft final document of the Conference.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN 1994

The draft text of theCairo Document is currently being prepared by the ICPD Secretariat.This document will form the basis of negotiations at PrepCom III inApril. The Secretariat circulated the annotated outline of thedocument to delegates and NGOs in October and has been preparingthe final draft text on the basis of comments received on theoutline. The 17-chapter draft text is expected to be circulatedinformally in January before being issued in February as a formaldocument for PrepCom III. The Secretariat will circulate the draftamong delegates and the NGO Planning Committee will circulatecopies of the draft to all NGOs on its mailing list.

The Cairo Document draws upon the World Population Plan ofAction adopted at the 1974 World Population Conference and therecommendations adopted by the 1984 International Conference onPopulation. The document will include a statement of principles,projections of future population growth, and a set of 20-year goalsfor population, maternal mortality, infant mortality, lifeexpectancy, education, gender equality and contraceptive use. The17 chapters in the document will describe major population anddevelopment issues and offer recommendations for action at thelocal, national and international levels.

DRAFT TEXT OF THE CAIRO DOCUMENT:

The draft text of theCairo Document is currently being prepared by the ICPD Secretariat.This document will form the basis of negotiations at PrepCom III inApril. The Secretariat circulated the annotated outline of thedocument to delegates and NGOs in October and has been preparingthe final draft text on the basis of comments received on theoutline. The 17-chapter draft text is expected to be circulatedinformally in January before being issued in February as a formaldocument for PrepCom III. The Secretariat will circulate the draftamong delegates and the NGO Planning Committee will circulatecopies of the draft to all NGOs on its mailing list.

The Cairo Document draws upon the World Population Plan ofAction adopted at the 1974 World Population Conference and therecommendations adopted by the 1984 International Conference onPopulation. The document will include a statement of principles,projections of future population growth, and a set of 20-year goalsfor population, maternal mortality, infant mortality, lifeexpectancy, education, gender equality and contraceptive use. The17 chapters in the document will describe major population anddevelopment issues and offer recommendations for action at thelocal, national and international levels.

PREPCOM III:

The third session of the Preparatory Committeefor the International Conference on Population and Development willbe held at UN Headquarters in New York from 4-22 April 1994. ThePrepCom will focus on the negotiation of the Cairo Document -- anew action programme that is free-standing and operational innature, while building on the important achievements of the 1974and 1984 population conferences. There are still a number of issuesthat must be resolved if negotiations are to be successfullycompleted at PrepCom III. These include the definition of thefamily, as linked to the rights of the individual and couples todecide on the number and spacing of their children. Another issuethat must be resolved is reference to abortion and reproductiverights. During the General Assembly debate, governments alsostressed the importance of maintaining the centrality of populationin the final document, while addressing the interrelationshipsbetween population, sustained economic growth and sustainabledevelopment. Other outstanding issues include the needs ofcountries in transition, the issue of indigenous people, the roleof NGOs, and follow-up to the Conference.

Another focus of PrepCom III will be on the elaboration of 20 yeargoals in the Cairo Document. The proposed goals will relate toinfant, child and maternal mortality; universal access to andcompletion of primary school education; and universal access tofamily planning information and services with emphasis on meetingall unmet demands. The Secretariat is expected to begin to discussthese goals with delegations during a series of informalconsultations to be held in the first quarter of 1994.

NGO ACTIVITIES:

There are numerous national and regionalorganizing efforts underway around the world in preparation forPrepCom III and the Cairo Conference. The NGO Planning Committee isputting together a series of programmes to be held during PrepComIII. Any NGO that wishes to present or develop a programme shouldcontact the NGO Planning Committee. The Planning Committee is alsopreparing to distribute the draft text of the Cairo Document whenit becomes available and is urging NGOs to prepare their lobbyingefforts with this document in hand. NGOs that will not be able toattend PrepCom III are urged to mail in their comments to the NGOSecretariat or to share them with local colleagues who will be inNew York. NGOs participating in national organizing effortssurrounding the ICPD are urged to coordinate responses and lobbyingefforts for PrepCom III. For more information about NGO activitiesand preparations for PrepCom III, contact the NGO PlanningCommittee for the ICPD, 777 UN Plaza, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10017USA; tel: 1-212/545-7344; fax: 1-212/545-7581.

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