Summary report, 10–21 May 1993

2nd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee

The second session of the Preparatory Committee for theInternational Conference on Population and Development wasgavelled to a close on Friday, 21 May 1993 by the Chair, Dr.Fred Sai of Ghana. After two weeks of debate involvinggovernment delegates, scores of NGOs and dozens ofrepresentatives from UN agencies and intergovernmentalorganizations, progress had been made on the elaboration ofthe structure and the substantive elements of the eventualdocument to be adopted in Cairo during September 1994.


The International Conference on Population and Development(ICPD) is being convened under the auspices of the UnitedNations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The processbegan in July 1989 when ECOSOC passed resolution 1989/91 thatcalled for an international meeting on population. In thelater resolution 1991/93, the Council decided to call themeeting the "International Conference on Population andDevelopment" and further defined the objectives and themes ofthe Conference. A third resolution, 1992/37, accepted theoffer of the Government of Egypt to host the Conference inCairo on 5-13 September 1994.

The Preparatory Committee had its first substantive session inNew York from 4-8 March 1991. This session recommended theadoption of a draft resolution that further defined theobjectives and themes of the Conference, identified groups ofpriority issues, and proposed convening expert group meetings,regional population conferences and two additional sessions ofthe PrepCom. The six groups of priority issues were addressedby a series of expert group meetings organized by thePopulation Division of the Department of Economic and SocialDevelopment of the United Nations Secretariat in consultationwith UNFPA.

The first expert group meeting focussed on population,environment and development and was held in New York from20-24 January, 1992. The second, on population policies andprograms, was hosted by the Government of Egypt in Cairo, from12-16 April, 1992. The third, on population and women, washosted by the Government of Botswana in Gaborone from 22-26June 1992. The fourth, on family planning, health, and familywell-being was hosted by the Government of India and tookplace in Bangalore from 26-29 October 1992. The fifth, onpopulation growth and demographic structure, hosted by theGovernment of France took place in Paris from 16-20 November,1992. The sixth, on population distribution and migration,hosted by the Government of Bolivia, took place in Santa Cruzfrom 18-23 January 1993. These meetings are summarized indocument E/CONF.84/PC/12, "Synthesis of Expert GroupMeetings."

Another source of input was a series of regional populationconferences that were held in Asia, Africa, Europe, LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, and the Middle East. The reports ofthese meetings have been released as conference documents.


The overriding objective of PrepCom II was to reach agreementon the form and substance of the final document(s) to beadopted at the September 1994 Conference in Cairo. There, theICPD is expected to have before it two major documents: 1) areview and appraisal of the World Population Plan of Actionand, most importantly, 2) a new plan of action that willaddress the key objectives of the Conference, givingparticular consideration to the ways and means of dealing withpopulation issues in their proper development perspective.This new plan of action will address the links betweenpopulation, sustained economic growth and sustainabledevelopment.

To this end, the ICPD Secretariat prepared a proposedconceptual framework and an outline for this new plan ofaction (E/CONF.84/PC/11). In this conceptual framework, theSecretariat recommended that the document contain two majorparts: "Essential Principles for Population and Development"and "Choices and Responsibilities". Under the second part, theSecretariat outlined thirteen chapters encompassing suchissues as integration of population concerns into development,the role and status of women, reproductive rights,international migration and population distribution.

PrepCom II opened on 10 May 1993. The first item on the agendawas the election of officers. Dr. Fred Sai of Ghana waselected Chair. The following were elected Vice-Chairs: LionelA. Hurst (Antigua and Barbuda), Mauro Couto (Brazil), TaunoK„„ri„ (Finland), a representative from Hungary, Usha Vohra(India), Abdullah Chalil (Indonesia), Nicolaas H. Biegman(Netherlands), and Maymouna Diop (Senegal). The Vice-Chair,acting as Rapporteur, is Jerzy Z. Holzer (Poland). Nabil A.El-Araby (Egypt) was elected as an ex-officio member of theBureau from the host country. After adopting the agenda andaccrediting 332 non-ECOSOC NGOs, the Committee addressed thethree major substantive issues on the agenda: Preparations forthe Conference; Proposed Conceptual Framework of the DraftRecommendations of the Conference; and the Draft ProvisionalRules of Procedure for the Conference.


Discussions on the preparations for the conference werecarried out in the plenary during the first week of thePrepCom. In her opening address, Dr. Nafis Sadik, SecretaryGeneral of the Conference, stated that the purpose of thissession was to give the Conference Secretariat clear guidanceand the mandate to draft the final conference documents thatwill be the basis for PrepCom III negotiations. Dr. Sadikcommented on the positive fact that more and more countriesare willing to address population issues openly within thecontext of national economic, social and political policiesand priorities. She also referred to the fact that the Cairoconference will contribute to both the Social Summit inCopenhagen in 1995 and the Women's Conference in Beijing in1995.

Sadik noted the importance of NGO participation and identifiedsome key concerns that should be addressed, such as thecentrality of the individual, the role of women and girls, theinvolvement of women in all aspects of population activities,and international migration. Sadik expressed hope that theConference would adopt goals for the next twenty years on suchissues as maternal and infant mortality, education for womenand girls, gender equality and family planning.

The remainder of the week was taken up with statements bynational governments, UN agencies and NGOs. These statementsfocussed on national population policies and programmes,national preparatory activities and included substantiverecommendations regarding the issues to be addressed withinthe final document. Some of the highlights and ideas presentedin this discussion are as follows.

Denmark, on behalf of the EC, stressed the need to strengthenthe participation of women, pay attention to the role of men,strengthen the provision and improvement of qualityreproductive health systems and redress the causes ofimmigration. Sweden, Switzerland and Japan mentioned theunsustainable nature of Northern consumption and productionpatterns, and that both population and consumption issues haveglobal implications. Argentina and the G-77 called for theConference to be elevated from an ECOSOC conference to thelevel of the General Assembly, and recommended that the lengthof PrepCom III be increased from two to four weeks. TheInternational Planned Parenthood Federation urged that theConference bring together governments, NGOs, the privatesector and donors to meet the immense family planning needs.Brazil and Malaysia said that the Cairo Document must ensurethe sovereignty of all States when dealing with populationmatters.

The US intervention stressed the changes in US policy sincePresident Clinton took office. He also said that the USsupports reproductive choice, including access to safeabortion. The International Labour Organization stressed therelationship between labor and employment. The InternationalWomen's Health Coalition and Kenya emphasized the negativeimpact that structural adjustment policies have on populationprogrammes. Pakistan urged that gender-based analysis becomean essential instrument in all development activities. Norwayreaffirmed the difficult challenge of balancing individualrights and responsibilities with the overall obligations ofsociety.

Jacques Cousteau stressed that necessary funds for populationprogrammes could be mobilized from existing military budgets.The Population Institute called for the ICPD to establish asits primary goal the achievement of population stabilizationat 8 billion. The Women's Environment and DevelopmentOrganization stressed that every issue before the PrepCom mustaddress the women's perspective, as well as the impact of theissues in question on women. The Planned Parenthood Federationof America, among others, called on governments to guaranteeall individuals the right to decide for themselves the numberand spacing of their children.

New Zealand mentioned the lack of any examination ofindigenous issues in any of the expert group reports.Indonesia insisted that basic human rights must beacknowledged in family planning. Equatorial Guinea said thatthere must be an effort to include population issues inprimary school textbooks. The Center for Reproductive Law andPolicy called on governments to enforce even-handedcondemnation of coercion and discrimination with regard tofamily planning. The National Wildlife Federation requestedthat the Secretariat provide cost estimates for women's healthcare and education so that these matters can be dealt with inan effective framework. Afghanistan and Rwanda mentionedpopulation issues related to war, migration and displacedpersons. Mali stressed the role of NGOs in the implementationof national population policies. Iran urged that cultural,social and religious values of countries be respected by theConference.


Discussion on the next agenda item, the proposed conceptualframework of the Cairo Document (E/CONF.84/PC/11) began onFriday, 14 May. In her introduction to this discussion, Dr.Nafis Sadik expressed her hope that Part II, "Choices andResponsibilities", would reflect the new internationalconsensus on the need to integrate population concerns intoeconomic and social activities. She stressed the centrality ofthe individual as the basis of all population policies. Sadikexpressed her determination that women's perspectives on humancentered policies and programmes should be fully reflected inthe work of the PrepCom. She urged that abortion be addressedas a health issue and she referred to the negative impacts ofstructural adjustment programmes and the need to shiftemphasis back to investment in the social sector.

Throughout the subsequent four days of interventions,governments, UN agencies and NGOs made a number of concreterecommendations on the structure, format and contents of theCairo Document. Colombia, on behalf of the Group of 77,recommended a chapter on finance for international cooperationfor population activities and suggested that more emphasis beplaced on issues such as education, empowerment of women, therole of men in family planning and migration. Denmark, onbehalf of the EC, identified four key areas for organizing theproposed section on guiding principles: Human Rights andPopulation; Human Development and Population; SustainableDevelopment and Population; and Partnership and Population.

Egypt proposed that the principles section be merged into thesection on choices and responsibilities and that the preamblebe expanded to include the right to development, nationalsovereignty, mutual responsibility and global partnership.Sweden, on behalf of the Nordic countries, stated that thedraft outline must be better articulated with regard to theinterrelationships and dynamics between population, sustainedeconomic growth and sustainable development. Sweden also urgedthat the document should address follow-up measures, andsuggested that Part II of the draft outline should givespecial emphasis to a limited number of issues or clusterssuch as: integrating population concerns into development; therole and status of women; and reproductive rights,reproductive health and family planning.

Australia urged that over-consumption and inequitabledistribution of wealth be addressed and that additionalresources are needed to improve both the quality and theavailability of reproductive health services. Zimbabwe saidthat the document needs to consider financial provisions.Canada suggested that the Commission on SustainableDevelopment should participate in the monitoring of theresults of the ICPD and that the Conference should focus moreon the causes, rather than the effects, of internationalmigration. Poland and the Russian Federation called fordistinctions to be maintained between regional and globalrecommendations, especially in light of the special socio-economic problems of countries in transition.

The United States outlined suggestions for the conceptualframework including: incorporating gender equality and equityalong with women's empowerment in Chapter II; recognizing thevariety of family forms; addressing reproductive health,reproductive rights, family planning, adolescent sexuality andfertility and gender relations in Chapter IV. A number ofdeveloping countries, including Guinea Bissau and Mali,mentioned that the document should highlight theinterdependence between demographic and development problems.Guinea and the International Confederation of Free TradeUnions suggested that a chapter be added on training andemployment.

The Holy See stated that abortion under the guise of otherperceived rights, violates the most fundamental right of anyhuman being, the right to life. It stated that the CatholicChurch does not propose procreation at any cost, but rather,it opposes demographic policies and family planning that arecontrary to the liberty, dignity and the conscience of thehuman being. India stated that the Cairo Conference should notbecome an umbrella conference that crowds the agenda withrelated important issues that are not directly related topopulation and development, such as the environment and women.India also made a number of specific recommendations for therestructuring of the conceptual framework to focus more onpopulation.

The Four Directions Council urged that indigenous people beincluded in the document. The American Association of RetiredPersons, the Dominican Republic and Romania recommended thatthe needs of older people be incorporated into the document.Disabled Peoples' International pointed out the omission ofpeople with disabilities in the conceptual framework. Moroccoand Burundi stressed the importance of the family. Japanaffirmed the importance of achieving social and economicdevelopment in a way that does not destroy the environment.Denmark commented on the specific point of adolescentsexuality and fertility.


To maximize the limited time available, the Chair proposedthat the PrepCom hold a series of informal consultations ofthe whole (ICW) to consolidate input on substantive aspects ofthe Cairo document, as well as the twenty year goals whichwere proposed by Dr. Nafis Sadik. The ICW was chaired byPrepCom Vice Chair Nicolaas H. Biegman of the Netherlands.

Discussions on the substance of the final document werecarried out in the ICW. To facilitate the discussions, theSecretariat agreed to prepare two-page discussion papers,which included sets of themes and strategies for the followingclusters of issues:

  • 1. Interrelationship between population, development and environment and related matters;
  • 2. Gender issues, particularly the role and status of women;
  • 3. Reproductive rights , reproductive health and family planning including maternal health and infant mortality, abortion, AIDS, STDs and adolescents;
  • 4. Population Distribution, Internal and International Migration; and
  • 5. Resource Allocation, resource mobilization, the role of governments and other sectors.

Cluster 1 - Interrelationships between population, development, environment and related matters:

Colombia, onbehalf of the G-77, stated that the Secretariat discussionpaper had placed too much emphasis on environmental concernsand lacked focus on the problems of development. Canadastressed the links needed between population activities andthe Commission on Sustainable Development. It furtheremphasized greater inter-agency links to environment anddevelopment through the Inter-Agency Committee on SustainableDevelopment. India, supported by Ghana, stated that focus ofthe Conference should not be lost and that other issues shouldbe negotiated in appropriate fora.

Cluster 2 - [Gender issues, particularly] the role and status of women:

Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, statedthat a more systematic and focussed approach was needed inthis cluster and that some of the strategies read more likeprinciples. The G-77 proposed a separate chapter on the familyand later added that women, as victims of aggression duringwar, must be protected. Several countries recommended that areference to prostitution should be included in this cluster.Sweden, supported by Malaysia, suggested a change in the titleto reflect gender equality for women and added that the issuesof genital mutilation and the minimum age of marriage beincluded. Malaysia also suggested that empowerment of the girlchild and facilities for the empowerment of women be included.Norway noted the linkages between population andbreast-feeding. The US agreed with Sweden that questions ofgender equity should be central to the chapter and supportedgender equality in school attendance. The US also supported anend to pornography, violence against women, and the negativestereotyping of women in society. The WHO emphasized theimportance of contraceptive research. The Women's Caucussupported a change in the title to reflect gender equity andthe need to close the gap between female and male literacy.

Cluster 3 - Reproductive rights, reproductive health and family planning [including maternal and infant mortality, abortion, AIDS, STD and adolescents]:

India noted the lackof linkages between the many points consolidated in thiscluster. Argentina suggested that the title be left as in theconceptual framework, since Argentina does not considerabortion as a family planning measure. This suggestion waslater echoed by Switzerland, Brazil, Algeria, Iran and theHoly See. Switzerland supported India's suggestion thatCluster 3 lacks structure in the strategies section and thatthere is not visible or logical articulation between thestrategies. France stated that reproductive health cannot beconsidered separately from general health.

Brazil suggested that morbidity rates be included and thatfamily planning assistance be delivered in the context offamily health programmes. Many countries, including Algeria,Colombia and the Holy See, raised the reference toreproductive rights of "individuals", expressing concern thatthis reference should be replaced by "couples" and"individuals and couples", as had been agreed to during the1974 Bucharest Conference on Population.

Cluster 4 - Population Distribution, Internal and International Migration:

Canada and Australia stressed theimportance of clarifying the difference between voluntary andforced migration. Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Australia andthe Russian Federation stated that there is a need to examinemigration that is caused by lack of economic opportunities andto recognize the necessity of job creation in countries oforigin. Argentina and Australia mentioned the relationshipbetween agricultural subsidies and migration. Brazil commentedthat the text does not stress the causes of the massive flowsof undocumented migrants from poorer to richer countries.

Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Austria suggested thatthe Secretariat should incorporate the recommendations of theEuropean Population Conference on the issue of internationalmigration. Switzerland, the Holy See, Morocco and Francestressed the need to address the issues of integration,multiculturalism and racism, as well as the need to safeguardthe human rights of migrants. The US and Brazil noted theproblems associated with illegal and undocumented migrants.The Philippines encouraged the creation of a programme where acountry receiving migrants could promise the country of originsome sort of compensatory measure, including the exchange ofscholars, transfer of technology or a temporary repatriationwith guaranteed return so the professionals could share theirexpertise with others in their native country.

Cluster 5 - Resource allocation, resource mobilization, the role of governments and other sectors:

India, the G-77,Brazil and the Women's Caucus agreed that increased attentionshould be given to population activities at the nationallevel. There was also agreement that national social sectorexpenditures should rise by 20-30%. Iran pointed out thattargets for social spending should take into account thevarying capacities of developing countries. Many governmentssuch as the US, the UK and Canada called for greaterpartnership between governments and NGOs in the implementationof population activities. Numerous developing countries,including the G-77 and Iran, called for the internationalcommunity to clarify its commitments to population funding.Sweden called on industrialized countries to do more in thisregard, but also suggested that regional funding figures wouldbe more realistic than global targets.

Morocco expressed hope that military expenditures could, inpart, be redirected to cover population activities. This wasechoed by the Women's Caucus, who added that increased sourcesof funding could be mobilized by reform of structuraladjustment programmes and debt relief.

Goals for 2015:

In her introductory statement to thePrepCom, Dr. Nafis Sadik expressed hope that the Conferencewould adopt goals for the next 20 years on such issues asmaternal and infant mortality, education for women and girls,gender equality, and family planning. The idea of includinggoals in the Cairo Document was discussed in the ICW andsupported by all delegations. A number of delegationssuggested that the 20-year time frame should not be the onlyone considered and some proposed a 10-year time frame instead.The G-77 suggested that an intermediate review could becarried out every five years to assess whether the goals arerealistic or not. Many delegations noted the need for bothquantitative and qualitative goals as well as the need forboth national and region-specific goals. Mention was also madeof the need to avoid coercion of any kind in the setting andfulfilling of population goals.

Preamble and Principles Section:

The ICW also addressedthe preamble and the proposed section on principles for theCairo Document, as described in the Secretariat's draftconceptual framework. Several delegations expressed theirconcern that the preamble should be drafted in a way thatcaptivates the public's interest. Many delegations called forthe preamble to address additional issues beyond thosereferenced in the Secretariat's draft. For example, the USsuggested three areas for further consideration: pastexperiences with population policies and programmes; how theissues have changed during the last 20 years; and reference tokey actions necessary to meet the needs of people and tostabilize population growth.

Several delegations suggested that the preamble should referto other international agreements on women, human rights andtrade and that it should include references to relevantdemographic data. There was general agreement that thepreamble should also address the resources and actionsnecessary to attain population objectives in the context ofsustained economic growth and sustainable development, withreference to human rights and developing countries.

The discussion on the principles section of the conceptualframework reflected consensus on the need for the principlesto form the basis for the new plan of action and to providethe guiding philosophy for global and regional action into the21st century. Most delegations stressed that the principlesshould build as much as possible on other relevantinternational agreements. Pakistan and Iran called for anadditional principle regarding the right to development. TheEC favored a group of principles that highlight the importanceof human rights in the population context. The UK expressedits concerns with the centrality of the individual's rightsand endorsed the view of Dr. Sadik that the theme of humandevelopment and population is about increasing choices andopportunities. The US called for special attention toindigenous peoples, marginalized individuals and peoples withdisabilities. The US also stated that clear reference must bemade to the importance of ensuring access to safe abortion.

Discussion also focussed on the EC proposal that identifiesfour areas for organizing the general principles: Human Rightsand Population; Human Development and Population; SustainableDevelopment and Population; and Partnerships in Population.While the US endorsed this proposal, the G-77 felt that thestructure did not provide a balanced and integrated approachto the theme of population.


Early in the proceedings, it was agreed that discussions onthe structure and substance of the Cairo document should beseparated. An "open-ended restricted" group on the structureand format of the final document was thus established underthe chair of PrepCom Vice-Chair Tauno K„„ri„ of Finland. Thissub-group addressed the following issues relating to thestructure of the document:

  • To reach consensus on the first level ordering of the chapters in the Cairo Document; and
  • To determine the structure within chapters for sub-headings.

Delegates spent the first few days expressing their views onthe structure of the document. Sweden suggested that theoutline, as contained in PC/11, be reformulated to restructurePart Two, "Choices and Responsibilities" into four sub-headings (demographic trends, analysis of inter-linkages,activities, and follow-up to the Conference). Finlandsuggested that the document include a preamble, essentialprinciples for population and development, a section on thelinkages and demographic trends, and three clusters ofactivities: integrating population concerns into development;the role and status of women; and reproductive rights,reproductive health and family planning. The EC, the US andthe G-77 also introduced their proposals. The group thenrequested K„„ri„ to synthesize the proposals into a Chair'snon-paper.

The Chair's non-paper, distributed on Wednesday, 19 May,introduced a draft outline of the chapter titles for the Cairodocument, in an attempt to consolidate the concerns and inputarticulated by delegates. After hearing additional commentsfrom delegates, the Chair introduced a second draft outline.In this outline, the chapters were organized into four groups:Choices and Responsibilities; Means of Implementation;Partnerships in Population -- Actors and Resources; and FromCommitment to Action. This new formulation was based onsuggestions made by Sweden and the EC.

The first chapter title was changed to better reflect theECOSOC decision on the themes of the Conference: "Theinterrelationships between population, sustained economicgrowth and sustainable development." The earlier version madespecific reference to consumption and environment. The USexpressed concern about the removal of these two terms fromthe chapter heading. The G-77 and others argued that thephrase "sustainable development" incorporates these concerns.

The title of Chapter IV, "The family, its role andcomposition," also provoked much discussion. France, Canada,Sweden, the Netherlands, the US, the UK and the EC expressedconcern that inclusion of the article "the" before "family"implies a narrow and limited concept of "family". Severaldeveloping countries, including Morocco, stated that "thefamily" as a concept represented a general notion of "family".Morocco appealed to the group to adopt the Chair's text as itappeared. He added that if there was no agreement, he wouldreopen the entire text, even if this meant complicating thework of the Chair. The sub-group was unable to reach consensuson the title of Chapter IV and, as a result, the entire draftoutline was forwarded to the Plenary in brackets.


During the PrepCom, Vice-Chair Lionel Alexander Hurst fromAntigua and Barbuda held consultations on the draftprovisional rules of procedure for the Conference(E/CONF.84/PC/2/Rev.1). Delegates agreed to include a draftrule that permits associate members of the RegionalCommissions to participate in the PrepCom. Using languagedrawn from the UNCED rules of procedure, the draft rule allowssuch delegations to participate as observers without the rightto vote. The Committee, however, was unable to adopt the draftrules of procedure because the G-77 had some serious concernswith some of the language. The G-77 suggested that during theintersessional period the Secretariat should consult withinterested delegations in the redrafting of certain rulesincluding: 1 (participation in the Conference); 2 (size ofdelegation); 6 (provisional participation of delegations); 7(election of officers, specifically the size of the Bureau); 9(voting rights of the President); 10 (composition of thegeneral committee); 12-14 (Secretariat); 16 (decisionsconcerning organization); 17 (report of the Conference); 19(powers of the President); and 62 (distribution of writtenstatements). The PrepCom agreed to postpone adoption of thedraft provisional rules of procedure until PrepCom III.


ICPD PrepCom II was gavelled to a close on Friday, 21 May 1993at 4:45 pm. The following decision documents were approved:

1) "Preparations for the International Conference on Population and Development ("E/CONF.84/PC/L.7/Rev.1, as amended): This draft decision, originally proposed by the G- 77, was the subject of intensive consultations during the second week of the PrepCom. The final document calls for the ICPD to become a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. It also requests that the Secretary-General of the ICPD prepare the first draft of the Cairo document by February 1994 and submit an annotated outline of the ICPD final document to the 48th session of the General Assembly this fall.

2) "Proposed Conceptual Framework of the Draft Recommendationsof the Conference" (E/CONF.84/PC/L.9): This draft decision was submitted by the Chair of the PrepCom on the basis of informalconsultations. It contains both the draft structure of thefinal document as well as a summary of the formal and informaldiscussions that were carried out on the content of the Cairodocument. It is on the basis of this document that theSecretariat will commence drafting of the new Population Planof Action.

As far as the structure of the final document is concerned,the Plenary agreed to remove the brackets, providing the draftoutline would be the topic of further consultations during theintersessional period. Thus, the draft outline for the Cairodocument is set out as follows:



In the penultimate meeting of PrepCom II, Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary General for Policy Coordination and SustainableDevelopment, pointed out that the ICPD should be seen as abridge between the 1992 Earth Summit and the 1995 SocialSummit, to be held in Copenhagen, as well as the 1995 WorldConference on Women to be held in Beijing. While the EarthSummit focussed on the relationship between humanity andnature, the Social Summit will address issues of poverty,employment and social integration and the Womens' Conferencewill focus on the role and status of women. Desai noted thatthe ICPD will allow the international community to continuethe process of discussion that began with UNCED -- a processthat focusses on people as the primary concern of development.

As a bridge between UNCED and future conferences onenvironment and development, ICPD PrepCom II successfullypreserved the spirit of cooperation that existed in Rio deJaneiro and created a feeling of optimism about the future.One of the ways in which this spirit was manifested was in theapparent consensus reached on a number of issues. PrepCom IIwas not a negotiating session per se, but rather, anopportunity for delegates to outline the areas and issues tobe addressed in the Cairo document. Nevertheless, it was stillnoteworthy that delegates were able to agree on such importantissues as the role of women, access to quality family planningservices, reproductive rights and health, the role andresponsibility of men, internal and international migration,goals and targets, the alleviation of poverty, financialresources, and the partnership role of NGOs in the developmentand implementation of family planning programmes.

For example, many countries that have traditionally relegatedwomen to a secondary role in their societies, spoke positivelyabout the importance of empowering women as an essentialfactor in achieving population objectives, sustained economicgrowth and sustainable development. Another example wasagreement on the need to set quantitative and qualitativegoals, as well as the need to draft principles on the basis ofexisting international agreements. For the first time in thehistory of UN Population Conferences, countries were able toagree on not only the need to set qualitative goals, but onactual specifics.

Financial resources was another area that was characterized bya degree of consensus. While Northern governments were notexpected to specify their financial commitments at such anearly stage in the preparatory process, governments did agreeon the need to increase the percentage of official developmentassistance (ODA) to be spent on population, health andeducation activities. There was also considerable agreement onthe need to increase social spending at the national level andto recognize that developing countries should not be held tothe same spending targets as developed countries.

The Spirit of Rio was also maintained and expanded with regardto the participation of NGOs in the preparatory process. WhileUNCED paved the way for increased NGO participation in the UNsystem, NGO participation at PrepCom II was particularlyintense. First, NGOs were given not only the opportunity toattend informal consultations, but were actually permitted tomake interventions in these traditionally closed-doorsessions. The Secretariat also displayed a remarkable opennessto NGO input while drafting documents, incorporating thewritten submissions of NGOs together with those ofgovernments. Furthermore, the ICPD Secretariat respondedfavorably to all NGO requests for services within the UNcomplex.

The degree to which NGOs were able to constructively influencethe proceedings was a direct result of the open access. First,the majority of NGOs focused exclusively on the officialprocess, as opposed to developing their own parallel agendas.Second, many NGOs found themselves engaging not only their owngovernment representatives but those from other governments aswell. Third, the geographical distribution in NGOparticipation (more than half of the NGOs present were fromdeveloping countries) ensured that the Southern dimension wassufficiently represented in the contributions of NGOs.

In spite of the high level of cooperation and consensus thatmarked PrepCom II, there are still a number of potentiallycontentious issues that must be resolved if negotiations areto be successfully completed at PrepCom III. These include thedefinition of the family, as linked to the rights of theindividual and couples to decide on the number and spacing ofchildren. Another issue that must be resolved is reference toabortion and reproductive rights. The Holy See and a number ofcountries expressed their strong opposition to abortion underany circumstance and do not consider abortion as an acceptableform of family planning. By contrast, there are a number ofgovernments that see abortion as a health issue, as well as areproductive right, because in many developing countries,thousands of women die annually as a result of illegal andunsafe abortions. In her closing plenary speech, Dr. Sadikclearly expressed her support for freedom of choice and statedthat governments must assume that such freedom will beexercised responsibly.

Beyond these specific issues, there remains a division betweenthose governments, such as India, that insist the Conferencefocus more narrowly on population issues. Other governments,including the Nordics and the EC, maintain that populationissues cannot be resolved without due consideration to otherdevelopment and environment issues.

It is too soon to tell whether these issues will continue asdivisive areas at PrepCom III. There will be a number ofopportunities for governments, the Secretariat and NGOs todiscuss these issues in the coming months. If the CairoConference is to be a success it is essential that the spiritof cooperation and consensus that marked PrepCom II continuethrough the remainder of the ICPD preparatory process. Withoutthis sense of cooperation, not only will the Cairo Conferencelose focus and possibly fail, but the entire post-UNCED agendacould suffer as well.


In the eleven months between PrepCom II and PrepCom III, whichis scheduled to take place in April 1994, a number ofactivities will be taking place in preparation for the CairoConference. The following is a summary of some of these tasksand activities:


PrepCom II gavethe Secretariat the mandate to prepare the draft plan ofaction that will be the basis for negotiations at PrepCom III.The Chair's summary on the conceptual framework(E/CONF.84/PC/L.9) is the actual document that will provideguidance to the Secretariat as it prepares the draft. Thesummary consolidates discussions in both formal and informalproceedings on the content and structure of the finaldocument.

The challenge before the Secretariat is to produce a documentthat best reflects the discussions at PrepCom II as well asthe input that governments, NGOs and IGOs will provide betweennow and PrepCom III. Dr. Sadik made it very clear that herdoor will be open to the additional input that governments andNGOs may wish to provide for inclusion in the first draft ofthe final document.

It is unlikely that the Secretariat will conduct informalconsultations on the contentious substantive issues in theintersessional period. However, it is altogether possible thatinformal discussions will be carried out on matters relatingto procedure as well as the actual structure of the finaldocument.

The Secretariat's task will be to capture the consensus thatwas reached on such issues as gender equality and the role ofwomen, reproductive health, international migration and agingas well as the interrelationship between population,environment and sustained economic growth. The Secretariatwill have to somehow capture the middle ground on suchcontentious issues as abortion and "the family" in a way thatwill facilitate the negotiations at PrepCom III. TheSecretariat has been given the mandate to prepare an annotatedoutline by the 48th session of the General Assembly and toproduce the first draft of the final document by February1994.

Another important task of the Secretariat will be todisseminate, as widely as possible, the results of PrepCom II.In particular, the UNFPA field offices will have to be broughtup to speed on PrepCom II deliberations.


The ICPD will be discussed by the EconomicCommittee during the third week of the ECOSOC meeting to beheld in July in Geneva. It is unlikely that substantivediscussions will be taken up, due in part to the fact thatECOSOC is a limited-member body and many of the key players atPrepCom II will not be present in Geneva. However, ECOSOC isexpected to approve PrepCom II document E/CONF.84/L.7/Rev.1,as amended. This draft decision taken by the PrepCom calls forthe ICPD to be elevated to a subsidiary body of the GeneralAssembly, among other things.


The Secretary-General of ICPD isexpected to transmit a package to the 48th session of theGeneral Assembly that will include the ECOSOC decisions, theannotated outline of the draft plan of action, and her ownprogress report that will describe Secretariat activities todate. Delegations will be given the opportunity to respond tothe annotated outline and to provide the Secretariat withspecific input for the draft plan of action. It is unlikelythat any of these discussions will be carried out in thePlenary of the General Assembly. Rather, it is expected thatsubstantive discussions will be carried out in large part inthe Second Committee. There is some question as to whether aspecial working group of the Second Committee will be formedto address the annotated outline and provide additional inputto the ICPD Secretariat.


Another source of input to theSecretariat will emanate from a series of roundtablediscussions that will be carried out between now and PrepComIII. The roundtables will bring together key experts andgovernment representatives to address those components of theSecretariat's mandate that may require additional work.

The following Roundtables have been tentatively planned:

  • Women's Perspectives on Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights: Ottawa, August 26-27, 1993.
  • The Demographics of AIDS: Berlin, August 28- September 1, 1993.
  • Population, Growth and Economic Development: UNFPA Headquarters, New York, September 2, 1993.
  • Population and Development Plans and Strategies: Bangkok, October or November, 1993.
  • Ethical and Moral Issues: Stockholm, date not confirmed.
  • Interlinking Population and Sustainable Development: Geneva, November 24-26, 1993.
  • Population and Communication: Vienna, date not confirmed.



July 1993: ECOSOC meeting, Geneva

September - December 1993: 48th Session of the UN GeneralAssembly, New York

11-22 April 1994: ICPD PrepCom III, New York


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions