Daily report for 10 May 1993

2nd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee


The second session of the Preparatory Committee for theInternational Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) beganyesterday. The first item on the agenda was the election ofofficers. Dr. Fred Sai of Ghana was elected Chair of the PrepCom.Dr. Sai has been president of the International Planned ParenthoodFederation since 1989 and is the Chair of the Ghana NationalPopulation Council. Elections for the Bureau were postponed untilthe regional groups could meet to select their candidates. Dr. Saiexpressed hope that the rest of the Bureau could be elected firstthing Tuesday morning.


Dr. Nafis Sadik, Secretary-General of the Conference then addressedthe Plenary. She stated that the purpose of this session is to givethe Conference Secretariat clear guidance and the mandate to draftthe final Conference documents that will be the basis for PrepComIII negotiations. In terms of the broader context, Sadik commentedon the positive fact that more and more countries are willing toaddress population issues openly within the context of nationaleconomic, social and political policies and priorities. She alsoreferred to the fact that the Cairo Conference will contribute toboth the Social Summit and the Women's Conference in 1995. Sadikpraised the work of the expert group meetings as well as theregional conferences and noted the importance of new partnershipswith NGOs. She closed by noting key concerns such as the centralityof the individual, greater investment in women and girls, theinvolvement of men in all aspects of population activities, and theneed to involve women on an equal basis in local government anddevelopment. Sadik expressed hope that the Conference would adoptgoals for the next 20 years on such issues as maternal and infantmortality, education for women and girls, gender equality andfamily planning.

Jean-Claude Milleron, Under-Secretary-General for Economic andSocial Information and Policy Analysis, stated the need to considerpopulation issues not just in quantitative terms but in the overalldevelopment context. He referred to enhanced development as theonly guarantee of peace and to the spatial dimension that has beenneglected in analyses of development processes. He said that in thepopulation arena, the spatial dimension emerges most directly interms of "migration issues, issues of localization of people andactivities, tensions between poles of growth and theirhinterlands."


Dr. Sai then asked the PrepCom for comments on the provisionalagenda (A/CONF.84/PC/3/Rev.1). Colombia, on behalf of the Group of77, requested that Agenda Item 3, accreditation of NGOs, beconsidered on Tuesday morning because the G-77 wanted theopportunity to review collectively the list of NGOs applying foraccreditation (A/CONF.84/PC/10 and PC/10/Add.1). Specifically, theG-77 is concerned that the list is procedurally consistent with theongoing revision of ECOSOC rules of procedure regarding theparticipation of NGOs. With the amendment suggested by Colombia,the PrepCom then adopted the agenda.


The afternoon Plenary opened with discussion on Agenda Item 4,Preparation for the Conference. The first speaker was JosephChamie, Officer-in-Charge of the Population Division of the UNDepartment of Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis.Chamie reviewed the six expert group meetings held in preparationfor the ICPD. He highlighted common themes, including: poverty andsocial inequality; the human rights dimension of populationprogrammes; the central role women play in development; the vitalimportance of the family as the cornerstone of society;accessibility to services, particularly in the area of reproductivehealth; rights and needs of sub-populations, such as children,adolescents, the elderly and the very old, women and migrants; andissues related to AIDS.

DENMARK: Denmark, on behalf of the European Community,commented that in many developing countries, rapidly increasingpopulations impose growing constraints on social and economicdevelopment. In addition to the linkages between population andsustainable development, population policies must be focussed onthe individual. The fundamental human rights of individuals andcouples to decide freely on the size of their family must berecognized. Denmark also stressed the need to strengthen theparticipation of women, pay attention to the role of men, andstrengthen the provision and improvement of quality reproductivehealth systems. Governments should also seek to redress the causesof immigration in order to alleviate the massive and uncontrolledinternational migration flows.

EGYPT: The delegate from Egypt stressed that many of theconcepts relating to population have changed over the past fewyears, largely as a result of the Rio Conference, Agenda 21, UNrestructuring and a recognition of the relationship betweenpopulation, environment and economic development. He urgedgovernments to prepare for the Conference at the national level andto raise the level of public awareness. He also referred to theGovernment of Egypt's preparations for the Conference, includingthe establishment of a National Preparatory Committee.

SWEDEN: The delegate from Sweden maintained that the size ofa population is itself not the problem. Rather it is when the rateof population growth outstrips the available resources thatproblems arise. He also emphasized the unsustainable nature ofNorthern consumption and production patterns and that bothpopulation and consumption issues have global implications. Heurged that the advancement of women in all spheres is anotherelement of development that has a profound influence on populationissues. The Swedish delegate also referred to the importance ofNGOs and to the worrisome fact that population aid is still quitelow and limited to the same donor group as 10-15 years ago. Hefurther urged that the result of the Cairo Conference should be aprogramme that focuses on the causes of population imbalancesrather than the effects.

ARGENTINA: The delegate from Argentina called for theConference to be elevated to the General Assembly level instead ofthe ECOSOC level to ensure greater political impact. He also calledfor the ICPD Secretariat to be funded by the regular UN budget. Herecommended that the length of PrepCom III, to be held in April1994, be increased from two to four weeks. He mentioned a number ofsubstantive issues, including: humans as the center of policies;aging populations; the need for integrated family planning; theneed to mobilize resources; and the key role of NGOs.

POPULATION COUNCIL: In its address, the Population Councilidentified three important issues: consideration of the new issuesthat have emerged since the 1984 Mexico Conference; integration ofthese new issues into the population/family planning context; andthe need for a wider NGO partnership. Key factors essential to theimprovement of population programmes were identified as: thelimitations of technology alone; the need for higher quality familyplanning services; and the role that women must play in thedevelopment and implementation of programmes and policies. Shedenounced all forms of coercive or abusive measures in familyplanning.

UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE: The delegate from theUNECE discussed the regional meeting for Europe and North Americaand highlighted some of the concerns raised at that meeting, suchas the needs of countries in transition in Eastern and CentralEurope; the need to provide a climate of sustainable economic anddevelopment growth for developing countries; and the need toimprove the status of women at all social, economic and politicallevels.

INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION: Therepresentative from this NGO, which includes grassroots nationalfamily planning organizations in over 140 countries, summarized itsVision 2000 document adopted in October 1992. The IPPF urged thePrepCom to ensure that the Conference brings together governments,NGOs, the private sector and donors to meet the immense familyplanning needs. Other issues raised included the promotion ofsexual and reproduction health; the fact that 99 percent ofmaternal deaths due to unsafe abortions occur in developingcountries; empowerment of women; and access of youth tocontraceptives.

NGO PLANNING AND STEERING COMMITTEES FOR THE ICPD: Therepresentative from the NGO Committee invited government delegatesto participate in the NGO activities organized during the next twoweeks at the UN and at the Church Center. She emphasized the largenumber of NGOs from women's groups, family planning organizations,environmental groups, professional associations and othersrepresented at the PrepCom.

Dr. Sai concluded the day's meeting by congratulating the PrepComfor assuming a level of cogency right from the start and expressedhope that this bodes well for the rest of the session.


Some of the problems associated with accommodating NGOs at PrepComII have been alleviated through the contribution of funds by theNon-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) to the NGO PlanningCommittee for a photocopying machine and a computer center at theChurch Center. Contributions have been received by the NGO PlanningCenter from NGLS (US$15,000) and UNFPA (US$10,000) towardsproviding interpretive services for NGO meetings. Severalgovernments from developing countries have or are in the process ofbringing NGO representatives onto their delegations. Finally,observers have noted that the conference room shows genderbalance since 90% of the NGOs are women and 90% of thedelegates are male.


PLENARY: This morning's session should begin with two quickprocedural matters: the accreditation of NGOs and the election ofthe PrepCom Bureau. The G-77 is not expected to have a groupposition on NGO accreditation (PC/10 and PC/10/Add. 1). The fiveregional groups may announce their candidates to the Bureau,following yesterday's meetings.

In today's speeches, look for Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, tosupport the recommendations of the expert group meetings and callfor their incorporation into the framework of the Conferencedocument. The G-77 may also support Argentina's proposal that theICPD be given a higher profile by elevating it to the status of aGeneral Assembly conference and extending the length of the thirdPrepCom session. Brazil will speak next, followed by Switzerland.The US intervention will follow and particular attention should bepaid to possible references to reproductive health issues,commitments to population funding, the leadership role of the US onpopulation matters and linkages to population and consumptionpatterns. China, in its address, may respond to accusationsregarding coercive family planning measures. These statements willbe followed by a representative of the Secretary-General of the1995 Women's Conference and the International Union for theScientific Study of Population. The speaker's list for theafternoon includes Finland, on behalf of the Nordic Group, Canadafor CANZ, Pakistan, Mexico for the Latin America and CaribbeanGroup as well as Jacques Cousteau. Other interventions will be madeby the Population Institute, the Economic and Social Commission forAsia and the Pacific, Women's Environment and DevelopmentOrganization, and UNICEF.

NGO ACTIVITIES: NGO meetings during the day will begin withthe Women's Caucus in Conference Room 6 at 9:00 am. There will bean NGO panel session on migration from 1:30 - 3:00 pm. inConference Room 6. Following a very successful meeting yesterday,the US delegation will continue to provide daily briefings to USNGOs and others who are interested from 1:45 - 2:15 p.m inConference Room E. The evening NGO briefing on the RegionalConferences will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Conference Room 2.

IN THE CORRIDORS: While PrepCom Chair Dr. Fred Sai calledyesterday for "funding, funding, funding", listen for talk in thecorridors about which governments have actually "anteed up". Threetrust funds have been established for the ICPD. The UN GeneralTrust Fund for the ICPD preparatory activities has deposited atotal of US$1,179.173. Contributions have been received fromDenmark (US$108,210), France (US$33,963), India (US$37,000), theNetherlands (US$250,000), Sweden (US$250,000 and the United States(US$500,000). The second fund, the Voluntary Fund for SupportingDeveloping Countries' Participation in the ICPD, has received atotal of US$101,585. Contributions have been made by Finland(US$96,585) and Spain (US$5,000). Pledges have been made by Sweden(US$250,000), France (US$90,909) and Austria (US$25,000). The thirdfund is the UNFPA Trust Fund for the ICPD for national-levelactivities. This fund has received a total of US$875,516, includingcontributions from Belgium (US$89,525), Canada (US$396,825),Finland (US$235,320), and Norway (US$153,846) and a pledge fromSweden (US$250,000). Both Canada and Finland have also providedofficers to work in the ICPD Secretariat.