Daily report for 20 May 1993

2nd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee


Discussion Thursday morning focussed on the preamble and theprinciples section of the conceptual framework document(E/CONF.84/PC/11).

PREAMBLE: Several delegations expressed their concern thatthe preamble should be drafted in a way that captivates thepublic's interest. Many delegations called for the preamble toaddress additional issues beyond those referenced in paragraph 13.The US identified three areas that should be considered: pastexperiences with population policies and programmes; how the worldhas changed during the last 20 years; and reference to key actionsnecessary to meet the needs of people and stabilize populationgrowth. The US also suggested that the preamble should referencerelevant international agreements on human rights, women's rightsand other related issues. Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, echoedthis point and further suggested that the Cartagena Declaration ofUNCTAD VIII should be included as well, particularly in light ofthe relevance of trade policies to the population issue. Otherdelegations suggested that regional instruments should also beincluded. The Holy See reiterated its concern about the inclusionof the Amsterdam Declaration. The Holy See maintained that thisinstrument does not reflect international consensus and, as such,should not be included on a par with such instruments as Agenda 21.The Chair responded that the Amsterdam Declaration had, in fact,been endorsed by the General Assembly.

The G-77 suggested that the preamble should include references torelevant demographic data. Other delegations added that thepreamble should address the resources and actions necessary toattain population objectives in the context of sustained economicgrowth and sustainable development, with reference to human rightsand developing countries. Uganda urged the inclusion of referenceto the special status of LDCs.

PRINCIPLES: The discussion on principles reflected consensuson the need for the principles to form the basis for the new planof action and to provide the guiding philosophy for global andregional action into the 21st century. Most delegations stressedthat the principles should build as much as possible on otherrelevant international agreements. Pakistan and Iran called for anadditional principle regarding the right to development.

The EC favored a group of principles that highlight the importanceof human rights in the population context. The UK expressed itsconcerns with the centrality of the individual's rights andendorsed the views of Dr. Sadik that the human development andpopulation theme is about increasing choices and opportunities. TheUS called for special attention to indigenous peoples, marginalizedindividuals and people with disabilities, as well as theunderserved. They also stated that clear reference must be made tothe importance of ensuring access to safe abortion.

Discussion also focussed on the EC proposal that identifies fourkey areas for organizing the general principles: Human Rights andPopulation; Sustainable Development and Population; and Partnershipin Population. While many European countries, as well as the US,echoed their endorsement of this proposed structure, the G-77expressed reservations on the basis that the structure did notprovide a balanced and integrated approach to the theme ofpopulation. In his summary, the Chair noted that the challengebefore the Secretariat is to produce a draft set of principles thatwill not generate acrimonious debate at PrepCom III.


At Thursday morning's meeting of this sub-group, the Chair, TaunoK„„ri„ of Finland, introduced his draft outline of the chaptertitles for the Cairo Document. This attempt by the Chair toconsolidate the concerns expressed by the participants atWednesday's session was praised by the delegates. The first notabledifference between Wednesday and Thursday's drafts was are-ordering of the chapters into four groups: Choices andResponsibilities; Means of Implementation; Partnership inPopulation - Actors and Resources; and From Commitment to Action.This new formulation was based on suggestions made by Sweden andthe EC. The first chapter title was changed to better reflect theECOSOC decision on the themes of the Conference. The title nowreads, "The interrelationships between population, sustainedeconomic growth and sustainable development." The title of ChapterIV was changed to "The family, its role and composition." This lastchange was a response to the call of many delegations for aseparate chapter on the family.

The US expressed concern over the removal of the word "environment"from the title of Chapter I. Others argued that the phrase"sustainable development," which is a concept widely understood inthe UN system, incorporates concern for the environment. Egypt,Nicaragua and India called for a separate chapter on education.

France, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, andDenmark, on behalf of the EC, expressed concern that inclusion ofthe article "the" in the title of Chapter IV implies a narrow andlimited concept of "family". Egypt pointed out that 1994 was theyear of "The Family". Several countries argued that the referenceto "the family" had been widely used in reports from the regionalconferences. Several delegates argued that the titles would befurther refined as the sub-titles were added. This would providethe governments with the option of further defining "families". TheUS reiterated its strong concern on this issue. Morocco said that"the family" as a concept represented a general notion of "family".He appealed to the group to adopt the Chair's text by consensus. Headded that if there was no agreement, he would reopen the entiretext even if this meant complicating the work of the Chair.Governments were not able to reach consensus on this point.

The Chair then explained his rationale for some of the choices hehad made in his draft outline, stressing that he was striving fora middle ground. He said that the phrase "the family" in the titleof Chapter IV was based on formulations in PC/11 and the reports ofthe regional conferences. He noted that, in his opinion, the titlewas quite "neutral". He suggested that governments might discussthis among themselves.

The sub-group then discussed how its work should be transmitted tothe ICW and on to the Plenary. Colombia suggested that the Chairprepare a summary for presentation to the Plenary where governmentswould have the opportunity to express their reservations. The UKsuggested that the two formulations for the title of Chapter IV beleft in brackets. Morocco requested that the Chair's text betransmitted to the Plenary where countries could vote on thisissue. The Chair decided to consult with the Chairs of the ICW andthe PrepCom on this point.

The Chair then circulated two other papers: an outline for theCairo Document with sub-titles, prepared on the basis ofWednesday's discussions; and a set of guidelines for theSecretariat on the structure of each chapter, based on thediscussions in the sub-group. The Chair said that these two papersmight be used by the Chairs of the ICW and the PrepCom in thepreparation of their summaries.


The afternoon session of the Plenary opened with a statement byNitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination andSustainable Development. Desai pointed out that the ICPD is abridge between the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and the 1995 SocialSummit to be held in Copenhagen and the Fourth World Conference onWomen to be held in Beijing. While the Earth Summit focussed on therelationship between humanity and nature, the Social Summit willaddress issues of poverty, employment and social integration, andthe Women's Conference will focus on the role and status of women.He summarized the role that population issues played in the UNCEDprocess and highlighted various points in Chapter 5 of Agenda 21,the chapter on population issues. Desai commented that the CairoConference will allow the international community to continue aprocess of discussion that began with UNCED -- a process thatfocusses on people as the primary concern in development.

Dr. Sai, the Chair of PrepCom II, then updated the Plenary on thestatus of various informal consultations. With regard to theconsultations on Agenda Item 5, Proposed Conceptual Framework, hesaid that there was a question of whether a separate report shouldbe prepared by the Chairs of the informal consultations. He statedthat since it is illogical to have separate reports from theinformal consultations, he had decided to incorporate these reportsinto a Chair's summary that would be available later in theafternoon.

DRAFT PROVISIONAL RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE CONFERENCE:Vice-Chair Amb. Lionel Alexander Hurst from Antigua and Barbudasummarized the results of the consultations he had held on thisdocument (E/CONF.84/PC/2/Rev.1). Hurst announced the acceptance ofa draft rule that permits associate members of the RegionalCommissions to participate in the PrepCom. Using language drawnfrom the UNCED rules of procedure, the draft rule allows suchdelegations to participate as observers without the right to vote.He went on to say that no agreement had been reached on the sizeand composition of the Conference Bureau. He said that he hopedthis issue would be resolved before PrepCom III.

Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, requested to postpone action onthis item, as the G-77 had planned to discuss the rules ofprocedure later in the afternoon. The Chair suspended furtherdiscussion until Friday.

DRAFT PROVISIONAL AGENDA FOR PREPCOM III: The Chair thenopened discussion on document E/CONF.84/PC/L.6, the draft agendafor PrepCom III. Denmark, on behalf of the EC, commented that thework on the draft final document of the conference (Agenda Item 6)should be the main topic discussed at PrepCom III and thatsufficient time should be allowed for this topic. Dr. Sadik agreedwith this comment and stated that the Secretariat could arrange theorganization of work to ensure that the draft final document willbe the primary focus of PrepCom III. As there were no othercomments, the draft agenda was adopted.


A number of Southern NGOs expressed their frustration over theG-77's refusal to meet with them yesterday afternoon. They wantedto discuss the G-77's decision to allow reference to "consumption",as proposed by the US, to be dropped from the title of Chapter I ofthe Cairo Document. Many observers have noted the irony of thismove, recalling the UNCED negotiations where positions over theissue of consumption had been reversed. Several developing countrydelegates have openly expressed their concern that NGOs appear tohave had undue influence over Northern governments at this meeting.


PLENARY: The Plenary is scheduled to convene at 10:00 am inConference Room 2. The meeting is expected to address the following outstanding agenda items:

  • 4. Preparations for the Conference: Look for a revised version of document L.7, a G-77 draft decision that addresses preparations for the Conference. Interested governments have been negotiating the final text of this document during the past week.
  • 5. Proposed conceptual framework of the draft recommendations of the Conference: A Chair's summary on this agenda item was circulated late Thursday afternoon. There is still some question about the disposition of the section on the structure, as agreement was not reached in the sub-group of the ICW. Otherwise, it is expected that the summary will be adopted without major amendments, since the document is a Chair's summary and not a negotiated decision. However, look for delegates and NGOs to comment for the record on the contents of the summary after it has been adopted.
  • 6. Draft provisional rules of procedure for the Conference: Adoption of the draft rules of procedure was postponed yesterday at the request of the G-77. One of the issues that had to be resolved within the G-77 was the number of Vice-Presidents. If the draft rules of procedure are not adopted today, this item will have to be postponed until PrepCom III.
  • 8. Adoption of the report of the Preparatory Committee: This procedural document should be adopted without much discussion.

NGO ACTIVITIES: The Population and Environment Caucus willmeet on the 8th floor of the Church Center at 8:00 am. The Women'sCaucus will convene in Conference Room 6 at 9:00 am. Four meetingsare scheduled through the afternoon in Conference Room D: LatinAmerican/Caribbean NGOs and Asia and Pacific Islands NGOs at 12:30pm; the Southern NGO Forum at 2:00 pm; and the Africa Group of NGOsat 5:00 pm.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
African Group
Group of 77 and China
Least Developed Countries
Non-state coalitions