Daily report for 12 May 1993
2nd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee
PrepCom Chair Dr. Fred Sai reported that the Bureau had met anddiscussed the possibility of establishing a parallel working groupof the whole, chaired by the Vice Chairs from India and theNetherlands. Dr. Sadik then outlined the five sets of decisionsthat the PrepCom must take: 1) NGO accreditation; 2) theorganization of issues; 3) rules of procedure; 4) the length of andagenda for the third PrepCom; and 5) the instructions and guidanceto the Secretariat on the conceptual framework for the outcome ofthe Cairo conference. At the end of the day, Dr. Sai announced thenominations of Amb. Lionel Alexander Hurst of Antigua and Barbudaand Amb. Mauro Sergio Couto of Brazil to the Bureau from the LatinAmerica and the Caribbean region.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE
NEW ZEALAND: Amb. Terence O'Brien reaffirmed that thestarting point of this Conference must be about people andsurvival. He expressed his dissatisfaction on the lack ofcomprehensive examination of indigenous issues in any of the expertgroup reports and commented that this marks a step back from Rio,where efforts had been made to incorporate indigenous perspectivesthroughout Agenda 21.
AUSTRIA: The delegate from Austria, Wolfgang Petritsch,supported Dr. Sadik's proposal to include in the Conferencerecommendations a set of goals to be achieved by all countrieswithin the next 20 years. He also mentioned that Austria will behosting a roundtable discussion on the role of communications inthe context of population policies this fall.
SUDAN: The delegate from the Sudan mentioned a number ofpopulation programmes that his government has undertaken, includinga census and the plan to spend more money on education and otherprogrammes in the coming decade. He said that the preparations forthe ICPD provided an opportunity to develop a national populationpolicy and establish a national population council.
MALAYSIA: Dr. Johari Mat reaffirmed the right of countriesto develop their own population policies in accordance withnational needs and objectives. He highlighted the steps that theMalaysian Government has taken to reassess its own populationpolicies in light of changing socio-economic conditions, such asthe development of its strategic National Population Plan ofAction. Mat commented that moral and ethical perspectives onpopulation and development have received inadequate attention.
INDONESIA: Dr. Abdullah Cholil stated that Indonesian lawsstipulate that citizens have certain rights, obligations andresponsibilities that are linked to quality, quantity and mobilityof the population. Cholil urged that the issue of povertyalleviation be included in the PrepCom agenda. He insisted thatbasic human rights must be acknowledged in family planning and thatactive community participation is essential to successfulpopulation programmes.
SRI LANKA: The representative from Sri Lanka cited a numberof national figures regarding population and reported theestablishment of a committee to coordinate the preparation of thenational report on population. He said that there is a need toestablish a coordinating body to harness scarce resources atnational and international levels.
CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND POPULATION ACTIVITIES: PeggyCurlin, President of this network of over 900 NGOS worldwide, saidthat women's participation is central to economic, social anddemocratic processes and improving the quality of life on aninterdependent planet. She focussed on the problems that women faceas a result of early and frequent pregnancies and urged efforts topromote education for girls, especially in rural areas. She urgedaccess to safe and effective contraception, safe abortion, pre- andpost-natal care and safe deliveries.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: The delegate from Equatorial Guineamentioned that his government had set up a national committee onpopulation issues. The population problems that remain are due inlarge part to traditional customs and religious practices relatedto family planning. He said that there must be an effort to includepopulation issues in primary school text books.
CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE LAW AND POLICY: The representativefrom this international legal organization on women's reproductivehealth urged governments to seek consensus on the respect for humanrights and the rights of women. She called on governments tosupport the principle that reproductive heath andself-determination are universal needs for women and to improveaccess to health care, education, appropriate methods ofcontraception, and safe abortion. She also called on governments toenforce even-handed condemnation of coercion and discriminationwith regard to family planning.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR WESTERN ASIA: TheExecutive-Secretary of ESCWA discussed the high rate of populationgrowth in Arab countries and specific problems including highfertility and mortality rates, internal and external migration, andtragic events in the region. He summarized the results of the ArabConference and pointed out that the Amman Declaration states thatamong the basic rights of individuals is the freedom of bothspouses to decide the number and spacing of children.
ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Therepresentative from ECLAC reviewed the regional meeting held inMexico City last week. He said that there was enhanced awareness ofthe need to bring population into development planning.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The representative from the WHOcited the close links between WHO goals and the issues consideredby the ICPD. WHO has focussed on a number of programmes, includingextending family planning care to under-served populations. Sheexpressed concern for the lack of resources for these issues.
UNICEF: Dr. Richard Jolly, Deputy Executive Director ofUNICEF, stated that there are six areas where UNICEF can contributeto improving family planning: enhancing the role and status ofwomen; furthering safe motherhood; support of breast-feeding; basiceducation and literacy; information, education and communication;and direct support for family planning services. He supported theemphasis on linkages in the proposed conceptual framework betweenenhancing the roles and socio-economic status of women andpopulation dynamics, with particular reference to the access ofwomen to resources and the provision of services.
NICARAGUA: The delegate from Nicaragua urged that theintegrity of the family as a universal support unit must be fullyensured and that countries must identify children's rights at allstages of development. She expressed the need to assess the workcarried out by women in both the economic and cultural dimension.
NEPAL: The delegate from Nepal expressed his government'scommitment to reverse environmental degradation trends; to ensurenew roles for women; to raise life expectancy and lower mortalityrates; and to manage internal migration. He also affirmed thatpeople have the right to remain in their homes and homelands withpeace and dignity.
UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA: The Executive Secretaryfrom ECA stated that the report of the Third African Conference onPopulation, the Family and Sustainable Development compels arethinking of certain preconceived ideas about Africa. He statedthat despite its urgent problems, Africa has reached an amazingconsensus on population. He also urged that while sub-SaharanAfrica requires increased international support, Africa should beseen as a region in transition, not one to be helped forever.
BANGLADESH: The representative from Bangladesh noted thathis country is the ninth most populous with 800 persons per squarekilometer. His government has identified population as its primaryproblem. He noted the government's strategy to mainstream women andthat fertility decline in Bangladesh was unique.
RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The delegate from the Russian Federationmentioned a number of population-related problems in his country,including: a drop in the birth-rate; tensions in society; uncertainprospects and a sharp deterioration in living conditions; a highermortality rate; and sharp changes in migration patterns. He addedthat the only way to overcome these negative trends is to developa state policy and that the Russian Government has recently begunto do just that.
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION: Lynn Greenwalt, therepresentative from one of the largest environmental organizationsin the world, said that continual living beyond our environmentalmeans can lead only to catastrophe. He urged that financialresources for population programmes from donor nations reach afigure of US$9-10.5 billion annually. He also requested that theSecretariat provide cost estimates for women's health care andeducation so that these matters can be dealt with in an effectiveframework.
LESOTHO: The delegate from Lesotho said that his governmenthas set up a national preparatory committee that includes NGOs. Healso mentioned that his government will submit its national reportone year in advance of the Conference.
LIBERIA: The delegate from Liberia mentioned that theinterim Government of National Unity is reconstituting its nationalpopulation commission. He identified some of his government'snational preparatory activities and stressed the need for financialand technical resources for population programmes.
RWANDA: The delegate from Rwanda emphasized the specialproblem faced by his country as recovers from war and addressedproblems with displaced persons. He stressed the linkage betweenthe improvement in the quality of life and the alleviation ofpopulation problems.
AFGHANISTAN: The delegate from Afghanistan noted that thecivil war in his country has uprooted the population and has causedboth economic and demographic problems. He stressed the need forhumanitarian assistance in a programme for repatriation andresettlement.
MALI: The delegate from Mali stated that his country, likeother Sahelian countries, faces a lack of resources in dealing withpopulation in the context of development. He stressed the role ofNGOs in the implementation of national population policies,especially maternal health, and noted that his delegation includesthree NGOs.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will continue work on Agenda Item 4,"Preparations for the Conference," sometime after 10:00 am. Thespeakers' list for this morning includes: India, Burkina Faso,Iran, Thailand, Population Action International, Peru, Kenya, Cted'Ivoire, Burundi, Romania, a representative of the African NGOsand Senegal. Jamaica, Tunisia, Morocco and Japan will speak in theafternoon.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE WHOLE (ICW): At the end of theday yesterday, PrepCom Chair Dr. Fred Sai circulated a "non-paper",prepared by the Bureau that proposes the establishment of aninformal consultative process to be led by Nicholaas Biegman of theNetherlands and Usha Vohra of India. Following the final speaker inthis afternoon's Plenary session, the meeting will be transformedinto an informal session. Beginning on Friday morning, the ICW willmeet parallel to the Plenary and hold both morning and afternoonsessions. It will discuss specific issues and draft decisions thatare submitted by both the Bureau and the PrepCom participants.According to this non-paper, the possible agenda for the ICWincludes: draft decisions on organizational issues presented underAgenda Item 4; the structure and format of the final document; theguiding principles; the major clusters of issues to be discussed bythe Conference; and proposals from the Secretary-General of theICPD for agreement on 20-year goals. It was decided by the Bureauthat NGOs will be permitted to attend the meetings of the ICW asobservers and may be allowed to address the informal sessionsduring designated times, at the discretion of the Chair.
DRAFT DECISION ON PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE: It ispossible that the G-77 will circulate a draft decision document atthe ICW this afternoon. This draft is likely to include proposalson elevating the ICPD to the status of a General Assemblyconference; allocating resources from the regular UN budget to theConference; and extending the length of PrepCom III or making otherarrangements.
NGO ACTIVITIES: The Women's Caucus will meet in ConferenceRoom 6 at 9:00 am. Both the Asia and the Latin American/CaribbeanNGO Group meetings will take place in Conference Room D at 12:30 pmand the Africa Group in the same room at 5:00 pm. The daily USDelegation Briefing for US NGOs takes will be held in ConferenceRoom 9 at 1:45 pm. Today's NGO Panel Session on "Human Rights" isscheduled for 1:30 pm in Conference Room 6 and the NGO Briefingwith Dr. Fred Sai and Billie Miller, Chair of the NGO PlanningCommittee, will take place in Conference Room 3 at 6:30 pm.