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This chapter looks at mechanisms to improve the quality of life in SIDS. The issue that proved to be the most difficult to resolve was the reference to family planning, which appears three times in the chapter. In a discussion that resembled the recent PrepCom for the International Conference on Population and Development, the Holy See and Malta wanted to ensure that if reference to family planning had to be included in the Programme of Action, the understanding should be clear that it could not be interpreted as condoning abortion or forms of contraception that are not sanctioned by the Catholic Church. After six hours of intense negotiation in a small contact group, consensus was reached. The second sentence of paragraph 61 now reads: "Poor health and social services and nutrition and housing, low levels of female participation in development, current insufficiency of education, information and means, as appropriate, for the responsible planning of family size, and inadequate family planning services demonstrate the need for attention to human resource development issues."

Paragraphs 64.A(iii) still contains reference to family planning and health care and (iv) still contains reference to maternal and child health care and the responsible planning of family size. However, a new paragraph 65 was added, which reads: "The recommendations and language contained in this chapter should in no way prejudice discussions at the International Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo in September 1994." This is similar language to that used in Chapter 5.66 of Agenda 21.

Other recommendations for national action include: infuse sustainable development ideas into education curricula; improve urban/rural settlements, including through the promotion of projects aimed at the elimination of poverty; promote and strengthen the role of major groups; seek to improve the quality of education, training and human resource development; and encourage the use of traditional knowledge and skills in environment, resource management and health. Recommended regional action includes support for the national actions and enhancement of regional cooperation on these issues. Recommended international action includes support for the national actions as well as support for: an integrated approach to drug-abuse control; environmental education programmes specific to islands; and scientific and technical training. [Return to start of article]