Daily report for 12 April 1994
3rd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee
WORKING GROUP I:
XV. PARTNERSHIP [COOPERATION] WITH THE NON-GOVERNMENTALSECTOR
The Working Group reviewed the Chair's draft of Chapter XV,focusing primarily on the objectives and actions sections. Therewas disagreement on how to proceed with the reading of the drafttext. The EU called for an informal discussion of the revised text.China agreed and requested that the revised amendments beattributed to their sponsors. The Chair opted against bothsuggestions in light of time limitations and the logisticaldifficulties associated with both the EU and Chinese proposals.
A. Local, National and International Non-GovernmentalOrganizations: Disagreement arose with regard to the word"cooperation" in the title of the chapter. The EU affirmed theimportance of partnership and cooperation between governments andNGOs and asked that the matter be resolved by the Chair since it isa theme that reappears throughout the text. China and Brazilhighlighted the need for a concise text and called for the deletionof [cooperation] from the title. Iran also requested clarificationabout the nature of cooperation that is anticipated between NGOsand governments and supra-governmental bodies. In 15.7 (objective),further disagreement arose on the nature of relationships betweenNGOs and governments. Brazil emphasized that the design,implementation and evaluation of population activities fall withinthe sovereign jurisdiction of each country. He added that NGOactivities should be carried out within the policy framework ofnational governments. This position was echoed by the EU who calledfor deletion of "on a consultative basis". In 15.8 (mechanisms tofacilitate NGO activities and their official status), Brazil askedfor a more simplified text. Supported by Venezuela, Indonesia andIran, Brazil also called for the deletion of the reference to theofficial status of NGOs in national and international developmentprocesses. The EU supported the Philippines' proposal to integrateNGOs at all levels of decision making, but asked to replacereference to "official status" with the "key role" of NGOs in thenational and international development process. The DominicanRepublic questioned how NGOs could work in full partnership withgovernments in population and development processes withoutofficial status. Morocco and Liberia objected to the politicalindependence of NGOs. Sweden disagreed. The EU suggested placingclear emphasis on their autonomy rather than on their independence. Morocco agreed.
In 15.8.bis (the role of women's organizations), Brazil requestedconsolidation of that paragraph with 15.8. or its transfer to thechapter on gender equity. Bolivia, the US and Paraguay insistedthat the paragraph be retained in this chapter, since gender issuesare critical to all chapters. Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal and Canadaendorsed the importance of the paragraph but called for a moreaction-oriented focus. The Philippines requested the inclusion offamily planning under the broader umbrella of "sexual andreproductive health." The Holy See requested brackets around thePhilippines' suggestion. In 15.9 (financial and technical supportfor NGO participation), Brazil, supported by Turkey and Iran,suggested a simplified version. The US, supported by Tanzania,Nigeria and the Philippines, agreed with the simplified version,but highlighted the importance of accountability. Moroccoquestioned the reality of NGO independence where they actually havea financial partnership relationship with governments andintergovernmental organizations.
In 15.10 (enabling environment), Benin emphasized that governmentsand intergovernmental organizations should not be considered on thesame footing. Nigeria said that mechanisms should be established toencourage regional dialogue and consultation. Brazil suggested thatgovernments, intergovernmental organizations and internationalfinancial institutions, including donors, should assure that NGOsand their networks are able to maintain their autonomy andstrengthen their capacity through regular dialogue and consultationand appropriate training and outreach activities and thus play agreater partnership role at all levels. Brazil stressed theimportance of clear and readable wording to guide actions over thenext 10 years.
In 15.11 (strengthening of NGO interaction with theirconstituencies), Brazil noted the confusion between communities andthe notion of local community groups as referred to by Bangladeshand others. Jamaica, supported by Indonesia, suggested the additionof community groups and Morocco suggested language to ensuretransparency of NGO activities. Vanuatu, supported by the US,suggested the addition of another paragraph regarding NGOparticipation on government delegations to regional andinter-regional negotiating fora on population and sustainabledevelopment issues.
B. The Private Sector: In 15.14 (objectives), the Holy Seehad considerable difficulties with both objectives, citingopposition to the reference to reproductive health and familyplanning in the absence of specific definitions. He also notedconcerns regarding the ability of the private sector to promotereproductive health and family planning commodities. After lengthydiscussion, delegates agreed on the following language: "(a) toenhance the cooperation and collaboration between governments,intergovernmental organizations and the private sector to identifynew areas of cooperation; and (b) to promote efficient productionand distribution of high quality, low cost reproductive health andfamily planning commodities, which are accessible and affordable".Delegates agreed to add a new sub-paragraph (c) that would eithercontain language from the original sub-paragraph (b) regarding thestudy of the possibility of producing contraceptives within eachregion of the world, or that would incorporate language from aproposal by the Holy See referring to the efficient production anddistribution of commodities pertinent to population and developmentwith information regarding the related risks, deficiencies and sideeffects.
The Chair of the PrepCom, Fred Sai (Ghana), opened the afternooninformal session to discuss Chapter XVI (Follow-up to theConference). He explained that little work had been done on thischapter during PrepCom II. He highlighted the four major issues tobe addressed: 1) national level follow-up reporting; 2) the form offollow-up to be undertaken by the Secretariat; 3) the arrangementsfor coordination to be made by donors, development banks and otherinstitutions; and 4) the possible establishment of an executivebody for UNFPA.
Algeria stated that the position of the G-77 and China had beenclearly explained in a text distributed earlier this week. The EUreferred to its own position that had been tabled as well.Nevertheless, it requested discussion of the specific proposalsthat had been presented.
Canada noted the burden that countries face in meeting reportingrequirements to all the other post-UNCED negotiations. They alsoreferred to the need to make more effective use of resources withinthe UN agencies and the Bretton Woods institutions and noted thedifficulty in addressing follow-up until the draft programme ofaction is finalized. Senegal and Benin requested a subsection onregional and sub-regional follow-up activities. Colombia suggestedthat the ICPD provide specific mandates to ECOSOC and the GeneralAssembly to take action to strengthen and coordinate theimplementation of the programme of action. The US referred to thoseelements that it regards as essential in follow-up: publicadvocacy; reporting and monitoring; coordination of inputs;national and international accountability; and cost sharing.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Working Group II did not meet yesterday to provide time forinformal consultations on Chapter IV (Gender Equality andEmpowerment of Women), Chapter V (The Family, Its Roles,Composition and Structure) and Chapter VI (Population Growth andStructure). It was hoped that these consultations would enabledelegates to resolve outstanding concerns in time for the secondreading of these chapters today and tomorrow. Some observers hadexpressed satisfaction with the spirit of goodwill and compromisethat characterized these consultations.
The EU circulated its draft amendments for Chapter VII(Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health and Family Planning) andChapter VIII (Health and Mortality) on Tuesday. Some of the key EUproposed changes for Chapter VII include reference to cancers ofthe reproductive system in 7.4 (reproductive health care) and theimportance of individuals and couples in exercising their right tohave children by choice and not chance in 7.13 (principle offreedom of choice in family planning).
Some of the EU's proposed changes for Chapter VIII includereference to: the need to incorporate the social dimension in thedesign of structural adjustment programmes in 8.2 (basis foraction); the responsibilities of parents, and not just women, asprimary custodians of family health needs in 8.6 (role of women ascustodians); introduction of health care insurance systems in 8.7(expansion of health care delivery); further measures to providesafe and legal abortion to be determined only at the national levelthrough policy and legislative processes that reflect the diversityof views on the issue; and promotion of non-discriminatoryattitudes towards peoples with HIV and AIDS. It is expected thatthe Holy See's response on these two chapters will be ready today.The US is expected to have its draft amendments ready as well bythis morning. Some observers expect stronger US language on theexpansion of reproductive health rights.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: In the morning, Working Group I willcontinue its second reading of Chapter XV (Partnership with theNon-Governmental Sector) and then move to Chapter XII (Technology,Research and Development). It will take up discussion of ChapterXII in the afternoon. The Chair has indicated the possibility ofnight sessions on Thursday and Friday, given the slow pace of thedeliberations in order to expedite the second reading of thevarious chapters under its mandate. Some delegates have requestedthe Chair of Working Group I to initiate, as soon as possible,informal consultations on Chapter XVI (Follow-Up to theConference), citing the difficulties in reaching consensus on sucha critical issue in the formal confines of the Working Group.
WORKING GROUP II: It is expected that Working Group II willresume its formal session today to commence its second reading ofChapter IV (Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women) this morningand Chapter V (The Family, Its Roles, Composition and Structure)this afternoon. It is hoped that these discussions will proceed more expeditiously in light of yesterday's informal consultationson these chapters.