Daily report for 11 May 1993
2nd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Dr. Fred Sai, the Chair of the ICPD PrepCom, opened Tuesdaymorning's session by announcing that he had received the followingnominations for the PrepCom Bureau: Jerzy Holzer of Poland, TaunoKri of Finland, Nicolaas H. Biegman of the Netherlands, adelegate from Senegal, and Nabil A. Elaraby of Egypt, the hostcountry, as ex officio member. He was still awaiting twonominations each from the Latin America and Caribbean Group and theAsian Group, and a second nomination from the Eastern EuropeanGroup. Later in the day, Dr. Sai announced that the Asian Group hadnominated a delegate from India and Abdulah Cholil of Indonesia.
ACCREDITATION OF NGOS
The second item on the agenda was the accreditation of 404 NGOs whohad applied for accreditation, as reported by the Secretariat indocuments A/CONF.84/PC/10, PC/10/Add.1 and Add.2. There were noobjections and all of the NGOs on the list were accredited.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE
COLOMBIA: The first speaker of the day was Colombia onbehalf of the Group of 77. Commenting on the expert group reports,he said that: a more profound and concrete consideration of thefinancing for population activities must be undertaken; a moresystematic formulation of the recommendations is needed; and,ultimately, each State has the responsibility to choose theimplementation criteria to cope with its particular needs. The G-77also submitted two operative proposals: an increase in theresources devoted to intergovernmental and secretariat work; andextending PrepCom III, scheduled to be held in April 1994.
BRAZIL: Mauro Sergio Couto emphasized that the Cairodocument must ensure the sovereignty of all States when dealingwith population matters. He supported drafting a new plan of actiontaking into consideration the changes that have occurred in thelast 20 years. On the issue of reproductive rights, he said thatadolescents and the poorer strata of the population should be ableto curtail unintended pregnancy.
SWITZERLAND: M. Jacques Martin called for increasedrecognition by Northern countries of the role that poverty and lackof development play in the population crisis. He also stated thatsustainable development requires that both unsustainableconsumption and production in the North, and poverty and socialinjustice in the South must be dealt with. He further stated thatin dealing with international migration it is imperative to addressthe causes of such population flows.
UNITED STATES: Timothy Wirth's intervention stressed thechanges in US policy since President Clinton took office. Hementioned that the US is developing a comprehensive new approach tointernational population issues, including: freedom of choiceregarding family size; access to quality reproductive health care;the empowerment of women; preservation of the natural environment;and sustainable development. He mentioned three major concerns tobe addressed by the Conference: women's health and status;population and the environment; and migration. Finally, he saidthat the US supports reproductive choice, including access to safeabortion. This last comment generated a round of applause.
CHINA: Mr. Chang Chongxuan mentioned that population on theChinese mainland will approach 1.3 billion by the end of thecentury, far exceeding the figure projected in the early 1980s.This is a grave situation since China is a developing country witha comparatively weak economic foundation. He also highlightednational preparations for the ICPD.
SECRETARIAT OF THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN: Therepresentative from the Women's Conference Secretariat focussed onthe close linkages between the ICPD and the Women's Conference. Inpreparing for the Women's Conference, he noted that developmentissues are increasingly being examined from a gender perspective.Rather than focussing on women per se, the respective roles of menand women, how these are balanced and how they are being altered inthe face of global changes must be addressed.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION: The representative fromthe ILO stressed the relationship between labor and employmentissues and population. He commented that in 1976 the ILO set atarget of full employment by the year 2000 and now this seems moreremote than ever before. Rapid population and labor force growthmakes it difficult to make employment opportunities and socialservices available. He urged the Secretariat to examine existingConventions, including ILO conventions on child labor andemployment discrimination, when drafting the document to be adoptedin Cairo.
INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF POPULATION:The representative of this organization, which includes 2000professional demographers, mentioned that they participated in theexpert group meetings held in preparation for the ICPD and areresponsible for many of the views reflected in the finalrecommendations. He also outlined some of the other activities theUnion is planning in preparation for the Cairo Conference.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S HEALTH COALITION: Bene E. Madunaguspoke on behalf of members of this alliance of African women andwomen of African descent. Her speech emphasized the negative impactthat structural adjustment policies have on population programs.She also said that there is a need for programs to end harmfultraditional practices such as genital mutilation through femalecircumcision, but that those traditional practices that have apositive impact on health and culture should be preserved.
FINLAND: The representative of Finland specificallymentioned the expert group meeting on population and women. Hecommended it for its holistic approach in addressing the relevantareas of health and education, equality, family planning,reproductive rights, quality of services, adolescents' needs andthe involvement of men.
CANADA: Michael Shenstone identified the fundamental issuesbefore the Conference as including population and development,reproductive health, migration and ageing. He also referred to theGovernment of Canada's national preparations that includes aNational Advisory Council comprised of a cross-section of NGOs.
PAKISTAN: Sher Afghan Khan urged that gender-based analysisbecome an essential instrument in all development activities. Hestated that the real contribution of women to the economy has notbeen recognized. He called for greater assistance from theinternational community and stressed the critical role that NGOsmust play in the development and provision of social services.
MEXICO: The delegate from Mexico summarized the results ofthe Latin America and Caribbean regional conference that was heldin Mexico City earlier this month. He said that they achievedconsensus on the prevailing situation of population anddevelopment, established priorities and a set of relevantrecommendations.
NORWAY: Birgit Schjerven reaffirmed the difficult challengeof balancing individual rights and responsibilities with theoverall obligations of society. She also stated that to makereproductive choices a reality, both men and women have to showresponsibility in their sexual relations. She expressed concernthat some of the conclusions presented by the Expert Groups weresomewhat simplistic and required further elaboration. She echoedPrime Minister Brundtland's speech at the Earth Summit thatinternational conferences run by consensus can only advance at thepace of the most reluctant mover in each field.
JACQUES COUSTEAU: Jacques Cousteau went into great detailabout the disparities between rich and poor. He used a personalexample to show how the decrease in fertility can take fourgenerations or 100 years. Finally, he stressed that necessary fundsfor population programs could be mobilized from existing militarybudgets and the drug trade.
POPULATION INSTITUTE: Werner Fornos summarized the resultsof a meeting held in Santo Domingo where 30 NGOs reviewed theresults of the ICPD expert group meetings. These organizationscalled for a doubling of population expenditures from US$4.5billion annually to US$9 billion by the year 2000. They also calledfor the ICPD to establish as its primary goal the achievement ofpopulation stabilization at 8 billion. To meet this goal, a 21%increase in contraceptive usage in the developing world isessential. The other recommendations can be found in the "SantoDomingo Declaration," which was distributed in the conference room.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF ESCAP: The Executive Secretary of theUN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific reviewedthe results of the Asian regional meeting and the resulting BaliDeclaration on Population and Sustainable Development. He commentedthat the ESCAP region has 3/5 of the world's population in 1/4 ofthe world's land mass. ESCAP is also trying to develop an approachfor planned urbanization, access to family planning andreproductive health services and the development dimension ofpopulation.
WOMEN'S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION: BellaAbzug stressed that every issue before the PrepCom must address thewomen's perspective as well as the impact of the issues in questionon women. She emphasized that women must have the individual rightand social responsibility to decide whether, how and when to havechildren, and how many to have. She expressed hope that themajority of heads of delegation in Cairo will "appear in their silkand cotton dresses, their robes and saris, their turbans andhand-crafted jewelry to report to a conference composed of equalnumbers of men and women. That's the way it was in Noah's ark andthat's the way it should be in the future."
PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA: Sally Pattersonfrom the PPFA called on governments to guarantee all individualsthe right to decide for themselves the number and spacing of theirchildren. Other recommendations to governments included: ensuringthat personal and private decisions regarding childbearing remainvoluntary; providing and ensuring access to fertility regulationservices, including abortion; and making family planning anintegral part of all foreign assistance programs.
NOT IN THE CORRIDORS
The tables holding NGO and other publications (including theEarth Negotiations Bulletin) disappeared mysteriouslyyesterday morning from outside Conference Room 2 and reappearedthree rooms away from the PrepCom. This decision was reportedlytaken as a "security measure."
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
THE BUREAU: Dr. Sai will convene the first meeting of thePrepCom Bureau at 9:00 am this morning, despite the fact that threepositions have yet to be filled (two from Latin America/Caribbeanand one from Eastern Europe). One item of discussion may be theorganization of work for the remainder of the session. Dr. Sai maydesignate issue coordinators from the Bureau to conduct informalsessions around the six thematic areas plus possible groups to dealspecifically with the issues of women and human rights. Anotherpossible option would be to hold informal consultations of thewhole where all the issues would be discussed.
PLENARY: Morning and afternoon sessions of the Plenary willcontinue in Conference Room 2 putatively scheduled to begin at10:00 am. The tentative speaker's list for this morning's sessionwill possibly include the Economic Commission for Africa, NewZealand, Austria, the Economic and Social Commission for WesternAsia, the Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the EconomicCommission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Center forReproductive Law and Policy, and the Center for Development andPopulation Activities. Speakers for the afternoon may include theWorld Health Organization, UNICEF, Mali, Nicaragua, Nepal, theRussian Federation and the National Wildlife Federation.
INDEPENDENT UNFPA EVALUATION BRIEFING: There will be an openbriefing at 6:00 pm in Conference Room 5 to present an advancedcopy of the executive summary of an independent evaluation ofUNFPA. The final report of the evaluation, due out in severalweeks, was financed by Canada, Finland and Germany and undertakenby consultants from the three donor countries. There is a strongpossibility that this report will be critical of UNFPA's strategicapproach to dealing with population problems, given their limitedresources, and will call for more accountability at the Fund.
NGO ACTIVITIES: The Women's Caucus will meet at 9:00 am inConference Room C. Three regional NGO meetings are scheduled: LatinAmerican/Caribbean NGOs at 12:30 pm in Conference Room D; NorthAmerican & European NGOs on the 8th floor of the Church Center at4:00 pm; and the African NGOs in Conference Room D at 5:00 pm. TheNGO Briefing/Panel Session on "Gender, Equity & Empowerment ofWomen" will begin at 6:30 pm in Conference Room 2.