Daily report for 18 May 1993
2nd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee
PLENARY: PROPOSED CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
The final day of debate on the proposed conceptual framework openedwith BURUNDI, who stressed that recognition of theimportance of the family should be addressed in the essentialprinciples section. He also recommended reversing the order ofchapters I and II to address the population situation before thelinkages with development. ARGENTINA mentioned that the term"reproductive rights" in Chapter IV should be replaced with"reproductive health." He added that abortion should not beconsidered an appropriate method of family planning.
NEPAL stated that Chapter I should address the question ofpopulation and sustainable development and economic growth in anintegrated manner. ROMANIA stressed the ageing problem andsuggested reversing the order of Chapters II and III, mergingChapters IV and V, and merging Chapters VIII, IX, and X in light oftheir interrelatedness. LATVIA outlined his country's uniquedemographic problems that stem from Soviet occupation including:death from unnatural causes; poor maternal and infant health; andthe loss of 40% of ethnic Latvians.
DENMARK commented on the specific point of adolescentsexuality and fertility. TANZANIA stated that the paragraphon family planning programmes, should promote both modern andtraditional methods of family planning. The MALDIVES calledfor promotion of the voluntary use of family planning and theimportance of creating awareness by involving spiritual andpolitical leaders.
The BANGLADESH INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH FOR PROMOTION OFREPRODUCTIVE HEALTH spoke on behalf of Asian NGOs and describedthe major Asian problems related to population and development. TheASSOCIATION FOR VOLUNTARY SURGICAL CONTRACEPTION called forthe articulation of standards for the provision of family planningservices. The THIRD WORLD NETWORK urged consideration of: unsustainable consumption; poverty elimination; democratic and safefamily planning; the empowerment of women; and the importance ofensuring that population reduction is not a conditionality for aid.
SWEDEN urged the donor community to be more active in thepopulation field, but added that aid is not a substitute formalfunctioning government policies. THAILAND suggested thatthe preamble of the final document include the Rio Declaration,Agenda 21 and regional declarations on population and development.He added that the issue of "health and mortality" should form aseparate chapter. NIGER stressed the need to buildinstitutional capacity to implement effective population policies.
BOLIVIA focused on national population issues and urged thatthe conceptual framework reflect indigenous issues. NORWAYurged the need for legislation that protects women from sexualdiscrimination. BURKINA FASO said there is a need to stressthe eradication of hunger and food security in Chapter I(b) and thelink between poverty and the environment in Chapter I(c). She alsourged promotion of the community approach in Chapter V (health andmortality).
The UNITED KINGDOM stated that each section of the documentstart with the underlying rights, obligations and responsibilitiesand that the section on reproductive health should examine themeans by which people can have informed contraceptive choice.Echoing the US, he requested that a first draft of the maindocument for PrepCom III be circulated to governments and NGOsduring the 48th session of the General Assembly. NEW ZEALANDsaid that Chapter II must focus on securing the involvement ofwomen at all levels of decision making and supported the DominicanRepublic's comments on ageing issues in Chapter III. JAPANsaid that the Preamble and Chapter I should emphasizepopulation growth. He supported the EC's suggestion for fourclusters of guiding principles. He suggested that Chapter IV(b) onfamily planning should highlight successful strategies.JAMAICA said it was disturbing that as biomedical advancesoffer women more options, religious fundamentalists impose theirviews on secular society and deny women their reproductive choice.
MOROCCO stated that the international community mustincrease financial resources for population programmes and hestressed that the family is too important to only be addressed inone small section. NICARAGUA stated that demographic growthis not the principle factor of environmental degradation. Shestressed the need in Chapter III(d) for commitment of both men andwomen to the family unit. The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLICmentioned a number of points that must be addressed in the finaldocument including: education for girls; effects of structuraladjustment; abortion; and that family planning is a matter ofeducation and information.
UGANDA stressed the importance of family life education,primary health care, and the role of NGOs in effective populationprogrammes. ZAIRE stated that: reducing illiteracy rateswill help ensure the success of family planning programmes;mechanisms are needed to create new employment; and strengtheningnational institutional frameworks. DISABLED PEOPLES'INTERNATIONAL pointed out the omission of people withdisabilities in the conceptual framework. She stated succinctly,among other things, that people with disabilities are not asexualand need access to family planning information.
COICA, an Amazon indigenous peoples' organization, calledfor an end to genocide of indigenous peoples. The WORLDPOPULATION FOUNDATION, on behalf of European NGOs, stated thatit will only cost US$2 per year to protect women from unwantedpregnancies and urged access to contraception, especially in poorcountries. The COMMONWEALTH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION focussed onadolescent fertility issues and related health problems.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE WHOLE (ICW)
The ICW met yesterday to discuss the first three cluster papersprepared by the Secretariat. The ICPD Secretariat stated that PC/11had not been replaced by the cluster papers but that they werebeing tabled to solicit guidance from the delegates on the fiveproposed clusters of issues. The Secretariat explained that thepapers were not exhaustive but had been an attempt to stimulatediscussion.
Cluster 1: Interrelationships between population, development,environment and related matters: Colombia said that thepaper had too much emphasis on environmental concerns and lackedfocus on the problems of development. He also expressed the G-77decision that PC/11 should be the basis for negotiation.Canada stressed the links needed between populationactivities and the Commission on Sustainable Development andgreater inter-agency links to environment and development throughthe Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development.India, supported by Ghana, stated that focus of theConference should not be lost and that other matters should benegotiated in appropriate fora. Sweden mentioned theinter-relationships and cross-cutting aspects within this clusterand the need for strategies based on the individual and developedfrom the bottom-up. Zimbabwe spoke of the lack of emphasison employment in the document. France mentioned the lack ofreference to the conflict between the rights of the individual andthose of the community. The UK asked why the cluster themesin Agenda 21 were not referenced and urged reaffirmation ofcommitments made at UNCED. The Holy See emphasized theimportance of people and human resource development and that theelimination of poverty can be brought about through education andnot necessarily through the reduction of population growth.Pakistan said that linkages of population and developmentmust be strengthened and supported the example of Agenda 21 wherethe problems were placed within the context of the largerinternational economic environment with specific reference to meansof implementation in each chapter.
Cluster 2: [Gender issues, particularly] the role and status ofwomen: Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, stated that amore systematic and focussed approach was needed in the chapter andthat some of the strategies read more like principles. Theyproposed a separate chapter on the family. They later added thatwomen, as victims of aggression during war, must be protected.Several countries recommended that a reference to prostitution beincluded in the cluster. Sweden, supported byMalaysia, suggested a change in the title to reflect genderequality for women and added that the issues of genital mutilationand the minimum age of marriage be included. Malaysiasuggested that the empowerment of the girl child and facilities forthe employment of women be included. Norway noted thelinkages between population and breast-feeding. The USagreed with Sweden that questions of gender equity should becentral to the chapter and supported gender equality in schoolattendance and in institutions; an end to pornography and violenceagainst women; and the negative stereotypes of women's roles insociety. The WHO emphasized the importance of contraceptiveresearch.
Cluster 3: Reproductive rights, reproductive health and familyplanning [including maternal and infant mortality, abortion, AIDS,STD and adolescents]: India noted the lack of linkagesbetween the many points consolidated in this cluster.Argentina supported India and suggested that thetitle be left as in PC/11 since abortion is not a family planningmeasure. This suggestion was later echoed by Switzerland,Brazil, Algeria, Iran, and the Holy See.Switzerland supported India's suggestion that Cluster3 lacks structure in the strategies section and that there is novisible or logical articulation between the strategies.France stated that reproductive health cannot be taken inisolation from general health. Brazil suggested thatmorbidity rates be included and that family planning assistanceshould be delivered in the context of family health programmes.This brought up the reference to the reproductive rights of"individuals" and many countries, including Algeria,Colombia, and the Holy See felt that this should bereplaced by "couples" or "individuals and couples," as was agreedto in Bucharest. The US called for reference to condoms andvasectomy in the male strategy section. Sweden suggested theuse of the WHO definition of reproductive rights for the headingand that safe and legal abortion should be an option as a back-upto failed contraception. Sweden also stressed the needs ofadolescents, and the importance of sex education andbreast-feeding. The Holy See said that abortion should notbe mentioned in the context of family planning and that infantmortality can be related to, but not necessarily caused by, highfertility rates. Ghana, on a lighter note, wondered whatwould happen to the abortion issue if men could get pregnant.Belgium stressed the importance of recognizing the variationin family forms and, in response to Iran, explained thatthere were many one-parent, unmarried or physically separatedfamilies in Belgium.
NGO Interventions during the ICW: In an unprecedented move,NGOs were allowed to speak during the informal session. TheWomen's Caucus suggested that the primary focus in Cluster1 should be to enhance the quality of life; that nations recommitto actions in Rio, including reaching 0.7% of GNP for ODA by 2000.For Cluster 2, they supported a change in the title to reflectgender equity and the need to close the gap between male and femaleliteracy. On Cluster 3, they stated that women have the right todecide when and how to have a child free from coercion and withuniversal access to safe abortion services. The Four DirectionsCouncil called for a separate chapter on indigenous peoples.The Disabled People's International noted the lack ofreference to disabled people.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Both delegates and Secretariat members informally discussed thefinal output from this session of the PrepCom. Many want anegotiated decision, however, with time running out this optiondoes not appear feasible. Instead, the PrepCom may have to settlefor a Chair's summary. There is still concern, however, that thissummary will not provide the concrete guidelines needed by theSecretariat to draft the final document.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE WHOLE (ICW): The ICW isscheduled to meet today at 10:00 am in Conference Room 3 to beginwork on the draft proposal by the Secretary-General of "Goals for2015", followed by Cluster 4, "[Population distribution,] internaland international migration." Delegations will then be able topoint out issues missing from the cluster papers. The morningsession will continue with discussion on paper 5, resourceallocation. In the afternoon, the group will discuss the preambleand other outstanding issues.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON FORMAT AND STRUCTURE: This groupis scheduled to meet all day in Conference Room 6. Discussion willbegin where last night's session left off.
NGO ACTIVITIES: The Women's Caucus will meet in ConferenceRoom 6 at 9:00 am. The Asian and Pacific Island NGOs, as well asthe Latin America/Caribbean NGOs will meet in Conference Room D at12:30 pm. The Southern Forum of NGOs will meet in the same room at2:00 followed by the Africa Group of NGOs at 5:00 pm.