Daily report for 4 April 1994
3rd Session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee
Dr. Fred Sai opened the third session of the Preparatory Committeefor the International Conference on Population and Development(ICPD). He pointed out the impact that ICPD has already had on theworld, and the need for further harmonization of differentviewpoints in order to come up with an action programme. He alsowelcomed the NGOs, whose accreditation was facilitated by earlysubmission of application, and suggested that, where earlyapplications have not been submitted, NGOs may seek informationfrom the ICPD Secretariat.
In her opening statement, Dr. Nafis Sadik, Secretary- General ofthe Conference, pointed to the unprecedented number of countriesinterested in the interrelated issues of population and economicsustainability. She emphasized the urgency to move fromgeneralities to specifics in order to translate the recommendationsinto action. She also stressed the need to reach a balance betweenthe rights and obligations of individuals and those of nations. Shesaid that although 124 countries have already submitted theirnational reports, the remaining reports are needed to complete thefinal analysis document. She stated that most nations agree on thelinkages between population, environmental sustainability anddevelopment, as well as on the centrality of individuals,especially women, to the planning and implementation of populationpolicies. She further stressed that in addition to finance,development of the draft rules of procedure will also be essentialfor the success of Cairo conference. She invited delegates to focuson action-oriented proposals that are clear, while allowing for thediversity of national priorities, culture, and religion. She calledfor an appropriate title for the final document.
Jean-Claude Milleron, Under-Secretary-General for Economic andSocial Information and Policy Analysis, stated that the successfulimplementation of ICPD recommendations hinges on governmentcommitments to integrate population policies into all theirdevelopment efforts. Specifically, they should aim at eliminatingpoverty and all forms of inequality, especially gender inequality.He stressed the importance of collaboration among nations forachieving the goals of the Conference. He stated that, because ofthe complexity of issues involved, the draft plan of action will bedivided into two parts to be discussed and negotiated by twoseparate working groups.
GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA: Algerian Amb. Ramtane Lamamra, onbehalf of the G-77 and China, stressed that "sustained humandevelopment" and "human security" must become established integralconcepts. He affirmed the importance of human rights and povertyelimination. Important areas to be revised in the text relate toinstitutional arrangements, international cooperation and follow-upmechanisms. He supported the idea of expanding the Bureau of theCairo Conference by increasing the number of Vice-Chairs in orderto provide the broadest possible geographic representation.However, he discouraged any measures that might give rise to amultiplicity of working groups that would impact negatively on thetransparency and the contribution of developing countries.
EGYPT: Prof. Maher Mahran, Minister of Population and FamilyWelfare, acknowledged the importance of women for successfulimplementation of any population activities. He also emphasized theneed for an additional chapter on the roles and responsibility ofmen in family planning. He assured that preparations for the ICPDis underway and information on the logistics may be sought fromrepresentatives of Egypt.
CHINA: Mme. Peng Yu reiterated the critical role played bypopulation and demographic imbalances in economic development. Sheemphasized that because of the diversity in cultural anddemographic conditions, governments should formulate their ownpopulation objectives and strategies. She stated that familyplanning should not be promoted by coercion, but that couplesshould be given the rights and responsibilities to decide on thenumber and spacing of their children.
JAPAN: The representative called for a concise andaction-oriented document to be implemented globally. He also agreedwith the linkage between population and sustainable development.However, a consensus is needed regarding the achievement of theambitious numerical targets. He mentioned that Japan hadcontributed US$500,000 for developing country participation in theICPD process. He assured that Japan will continue its financialsupport.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: Amb. Lionel Hurst stated the commitmentof its nation to the improvement of the role of women. He providedconcrete examples regarding the high rates of literacy, politicalrepresentation, and access to family planning and health in hiscountry. He added that the Conference must go beyond acknowledgingthe links between population dynamics and development.
IPPF: The representative from the International PlannedParenthood Federation (IPPF) listed the six challenges that theIPPF will focus on: access by all women to contraception; access toinformation for safe sex; quality health care; access to safeabortion; access to information on transmittable diseases andunwanted pregnancies by adolescents; and empowerment of womenthrough protection of their reproductive rights.
POPULATION ACTION INTERNATIONAL: The representativeemphasized the challenge to universalize access to quality healthcare. He stated that flexible, preventive health care issignificantly more cost effective than curative healthcare.
ECUADOR: Marjorie Ulloa insisted on the need for a favorableeconomic environment to help attain the objectives of the ICPD. Shesaid that the social crisis in Ecuador is characterized by adeterioration of living standards and very high unemployment rates,compounded by the lack of health coverage and illiteracy.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Delia Chatoor referred to the Trinidadexperts meeting in September, which was attended by representativesof the Caribbean countries. She affirmed the importance of aCaribbean perspective.
AUSTRALIA: Amb. Richard Butler identified several issues ofparticular importance to Australia: the plight of indigenouspeoples; the relationship between population, sustained economicgrowth and sustainable development; the status of women;reproductive rights, health and family planning; internationalmigration; population and development; and ICPD follow-up.
UNESCO: Francine Fournier said that the ICPD must build onthe international commitment to provide education for all, withgender equity. She referred to the need to refine the knowledgebase and to foster new approaches to education activities to dealwith the issues of population, environment and human development.
NGO PLANNING COMMITTEE: Billie Miller noted that over 500NGOs are represented here by over 1200 individuals. She highlightedthe importance of the role of NGOs in the population anddevelopment field, noting that they continue to act wheregovernments cannot or will not act. She said that over 6000 NGOrepresentatives will attend the ICPD, noting Dutch, Norwegian andSwedish and EU support for the Global Forum. She added that anadditional US$800,000 is needed to cover costs.
POPULATION COUNCIL: The representative said that thesolutions for the problems at hand should not only addressdemographics, but quality of life issues as well. Governments mustinclude family planning and reproductive health services as keysocial investments to assist individuals in meeting their familyplanning goals. Conditions must be created that are favorable tothe development of small families, including increased educationand better investment in women and children.
WEDO: Bella Abzug said that the action plan does notsufficiently recognize that over-consumption of non-renewable andendangered resources is a significant contributor to long-termenvironmental degradation. She said that the ICPD must emphasize:the unmet needs of the poor; increased development assistance towomen's empowerment programmes; greater allocations for healthcare; funding international networks and coalitions to monitorabuses; and grassroots-based standards for evaluation ofcontraceptive technology.
INTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Therepresentative referred to dwindling world food production, theenvironmental concerns of high input food production, and theimpacts of agricultural protectionism. He added that increasedinvestment in irrigation and infrastructure, education andtraining, and sectoral policies are needed.
JAPANESE FEDERATION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION ANDDEVELOPMENT: Dr. Taro Nakayama introduced the TokyoDeclaration, which was the product of the Meeting of EminentPersons on Population and Development. The Declaration highlightsthe principal problems regarding population, sustainabledevelopment, women's roles in decision making, reproductive healthand family planning, population distribution and migration.
CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE LAW AND POLICY: Rachel Pine saidthat governments should endorse legal norms that promote access tocomprehensive, voluntary and quality reproductive health care forwomen. Governments should also adopt laws to foster the legal,medical, social and economic conditions that empower women.
ASIAN FORUM OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT:Mr. Shin Sakurai said that the commitment to population issuesmust ensure dignity of the human race. He noted that for the firsttime in history we have found a common purpose for which we canfight, regardless of our nationalities.
ECOLOGY TASK FORCE: The representative said that allgenerations are at risk if the current economic paradigms are notchanged. He said that social policies must protect the whole ofcreation.
INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS: Therepresentative noted that the high rate of unemployment has broughtmassive human suffering. She said that a special chapter onemployment creation and training should be developed.
FAO: Jacques du Guerny said that the heart of the problemlies in food security and the elimination of related constraints.FAO will organize a World Food Summit in 1996 to ensure thepolitical commitment to carry out ICPD goals.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: TheRepresentative said that more primary health care is needed inorder to achieve the goals of the Bali Declaration. He said thatESCAP had set realistic goals and that female education was key.
WORLD BANK: Tom Merrick said that the World Bank is in theprocess of reviewing its own policies regarding populationactivities. He said that global expenditures must double in thenext decade and urged that programme goals should be stated interms of quality of health care instead of reduction of growthrates. The Bank will help mobilize the necessary resources.
INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Therepresentative said that the ultimate goal of the ICPD is toachieve as much development as possible, while minimizingenvironmental stress.
BOTSWANA: The representative suggested that: progress mustbe made in lowering morbidity and mortality rates; more emphasisshould be made in data processing and analysis; governments shouldremove obstacles for girl child education; the international donorcommunity should complement the social spending efforts of thepoorer countries; and more emphasis should be given to the linkagesbetween agriculture, food and nutrition.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: There will be 16 speakers this morning, includingCanada, the US, the Holy See, Argentina, the WHO, and ZeroPopulation Growth. Forty-eight speakers are scheduled for theafternoon, including Bangladesh, UNIDO, Latvia, Pakistan, India,Brazil, as well as several NGOs, including the Four DirectionsCouncil, the International Right to Life Federation and the WorldAlliance for the Family. Dr. Sai has urged delegates to removetheir names from the speakers list to ensure that negotiationscommence as soon as possible. He reminded delegates that there willbe an entire week-long plenary session in Cairo for statements.
The division of work for the two Working Groups was agreed toyesterday. Working Group I, under the chairmanship of Lionel Hurst(Antigua and Barbuda), will take up Chapters 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,and 16 of the Draft Plan of Action. Working Group II, under thechairmanship of Nicolaas Biegman (the Netherlands), willtake up Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The Committee of theWhole will address Chapters 1 and 2.
WOMEN'S CAUCUS: The Women's Caucus will meet today and everyday at 9:00 am in Conference Room 1. Look for work today by thefive task forces established on Monday to prioritize the group'srecommendations for changes to the draft plan of action.