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UN Commission on Population and Development
Resumed Session of the ICPD+5 PrepCom
24 - 29 June 1999
Twenty-first Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS-21)
30 June - 2 July 1999
UN Headquarters, New York

CONSENSUS!! Delegates reach consensus on proposals for key actions for the further implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development . . . . .

Delegates conducted informal consultations and reached consensus on the remaining bracketed text containing proposals for key actions for further POA implementation, and reconvened in the COW to adopt a decision to submit its report to the Plenary. Plenary continued its debate on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD and heard statements on the overall review and appraisal of POA implementation by 54 high-level government officials, including one Vice-President, one Deputy Prime Minister, 34 Ministers or Deputy Ministers, and 18 other high-level officials. Click here for statements made by governments to the 21st Special Session of the UN General Assembly Representatives of UN agencies, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations addressed the Committee of the Whole in the morning.

A sense of relief and satisfaction swept through the corridors late Thursday night following eleventh-hour agreement on the paragraph on abortion after a day of lengthy and difficult negotiations. Earlier in the day's negotiations, the hopes of many were quashed after attempts to introduce language from the Beijing Platform for Action and the consensus reverted to reproduction of POA language for most of the paragraph. But with consensus on additional language calling for measures to ensure safe "and accessible" abortion, delegates felt they had finally achieved an outcome which gave meaningful recognition to the shift in thinking on this critical issue since Cairo.

On this page: photos of the final session of the COW, UN Secretry-General Kofi Annan meeting with UNFPA goodwill ambassadors, heads of UN agencies and ministers' discussion panel

During the final session of the Committee of the Whole, Chair Anwarul K. Chowdhury receives praise for a job well done and a standing ovation . . .

UNFPA Executive Director Nafis Sadik stated that the POA was and continues to be a historic document and added that what has been achieved in the ICPD+5 process surpasses that. She added that she was "elated" at being able to leave this meeting with the tools to help "fulfill our promises and goals."
UN DESA Population Division Director Joseph Chamie's closing remarks, said that, based on the manner of the past week's negotiations, he had changed his speech to state that, "with due respect to the rights, duties and responsibilities of delegates and consistent with their evolving capacities, where applicable, in matters which are not against the law, and with new and additional resources, according to internationally recognized standards, we in the UN agencies will do our best to serve."

Delegates continued informal consultations on abortion for most of the day and into the evening and, in the eleventh hour, reached consensus . . . .

Chair Chowdhury and Brazilian Elza Berquo discuss Brazil's proposal, Brazilian proposal, which called for review of laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortion, and urging health systems to train and equip health service providers and take other measures to seek to ensure that abortion is safe and accessible in circumstances where abortion is not against the law.



The Holy See with Morocco and Yemen said the Brazilian proposal contradicted the Cairo consensus and constituted a renegotiation of POA language


Brazil tries to find a middle ground, discussing Brazil's proposal with those who opposed it

The EU and the US consult with Brazil

After Chair Chowdhury suspended the meeting to conduct informal informal consultations in an effort to find an acceptable compromise, the resulting text replaced 45(e) with three new paragraphs. The first and second paragraphs were a reproduction of, respectively, POA paragraphs 8.25 and 7.24. The third stated that health systems should train and equip health service providers and take other measures to ensure that such abortion is safe, and additional measures should be taken to safeguard women's health. Following objections to elements in the third paragraph, Chair Chowdhury once again suspended the meeting. Pakistan then presented a new proposal of the third paragraph, which specifies that training and equipping health service providers should be "in circumstances where abortion is not against the law" and that the objective was to ensure that abortion is safe "and accessible." Consensus emerged around this proposal, and the entire text was accepted as amended. Reservations were expressed on the inclusion of "accessible" (Argentina, Nicaragua and the Holy See) and on the absence of provision for the right of conscience of health service providers (the Holy See)
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan meets with UNFPA Goodwill Ambassadors . . .
UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan meets with UNFPA Goodwill Ambassadors Safia El-Emary, Warie Dirie and Jamal Soliman (left to right)

Secretary-general Kofi Annan met with UNFPA Goodwill Ambassadors and UNFPA Executive Director Nafis Sadik

Waris Dirie gives Secretary-general Annan her book Desert Rose on female genital mutilation

Kofi Annan meets with Nobutaka Machimura, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan
UNFPA sponsored panel discussion on "Protecting Social Sector Investment in Development: Gender, Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights"
Lok Chumteav Mu Sochour, Minister of Women's and Veteran's Affairs of Cambodia, Kader Cisse, Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development of the UK and Riz Khan, moderator and CNN host of "Q and A"

Mervat Tallawy, Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs, Egypt

Poul Nielson, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark

Lok Chumteav Mu Sochour

Riz Khan

The Committee of the Whole heard statements from heads of UN agencies. . .



Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the World Health Organization
Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint UN Prgramme on HIV/AIDS


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