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ICPD+5 Preparatory Meeting

The Commission on Population (CPD) acting as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Special Session of the UN General Assembly for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action (POA) of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) begins today at UN headquarters in New York. The main task of the PrepCom is to negotiate proposals for key actions for the further implementation of the ICPD POA, based on the Secretary-General’s Report for the Special Session on this topic.


ICPD: The ICPD was held in Cairo, Egypt, from 5-13 September 1994. An estimated 20,000 government delegates, UN representatives, NGOs and media attended the conference, which adopted a 16-chapter POA on population and development. One of the primary goals of the POA is to make family planning universally available by 2015 as part of a broadened approach to reproductive health and rights. It includes other time-bound population and development goals for 1995-2015, including the reduction of infant, child and maternal mortality and provision of universal access to education, especially for girls. The POA provides estimates of the levels of national resources and international assistance required and calls on governments to make those resources available.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION FOR A SPECIAL SESSION: In Resolution 52/188 of 18 December 1997, the UN General Assembly (GA) decided to convene a Special Session from 30 June-2 July 1999 to review and appraise implementation of the ICPD POA. The GA emphasized that existing agreements contained in the POA would not be renegotiated. The GA designated the CPD as the preparatory body for the Special Session and the 32nd session of the CPD in March 1999 as the PrepCom. The Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) are collaborating and coordinating the ICPD review process leading up to the Special Session.

THE HAGUE FORUM: The International Forum for the Operational Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the ICPD POA took place from 8-12 February 1999 in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Hague Forum, an integral part of the ICPD+5 review process, was organized by the UNFPA and hosted by the Dutch Government. It was attended by approximately 2000 participants, including ministers and other high-level government officials, parliamentarians, representatives of UN specialized agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, youth, and the media. The goals of the Hague Forum were to: examine lessons learned, success stories, obstacles and constraints to enable further implementation of the POA; allow for exchange among countries facing similar experiences; bring together a wide variety of partners to refocus commitment on population and development; and provide technical inputs to the Special Session. The Forum assessed country-level operational and programme experience in POA implementation, focusing on five substantive themes: creating an enabling environment for the further implementation of the POA; gender equality, equity and empowerment of women; reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health and reproductive rights; strengthening partnerships; and resource flows and financing for POA implementation.

During the Forum, delegates met in parallel Plenary and Main Committee sessions. Statements from 134 ministers and other high-level government representatives, and 45 UN bodies, NGOs, youth and intergovernmental organizations were delivered in Plenary sessions on the operational review and assessment of POA implementation at the country level. The Main Committee considered the five substantive themes. The outcome of the Forum was a draft report that summarizes the findings and proposed actions of the Main Committee’s deliberations. The report provided input to the Secretary-General’s Report for the Special Session containing proposals for key actions for the further implementation of the POA, which will serve as the basis for negotiations at the PrepCom.


The 32nd session of the CPD (CPD-32) met from 22-23 March 1999 to consider the following substantive agenda items: follow-up actions to the ICPD recommendations; the world population situation; the CPD’s work in the next quinquennium; programme implementation and future work of the Secretariat in the field of population; and the provisional agenda for CPD-33. The thematic area for CPD-32 was population growth, structure and monitoring. Delegates also convened in an informal Working Group to draft a resolution on this thematic area and on the CPD’s programme of work for 2000-2004.


The Commission elected Robert Louis Cliquet (Belgium) as Chair of CPD-32 and Gabriella Vukovic (Hungary), Markela Castro (Panama) and Simon Bullutt (Kenya) as Vice-Chairs. Simon Bullutt will also serve as Rapporteur.

Delegates heard several opening statements. Nitin Desai, Under- Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the importance of coordinated follow-up to all of the global development-related conferences of the 1990s, particularly on cross-cutting themes, and noted efforts by ECOSOC to facilitate such coordination. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of UNFPA, outlined the new and revitalized role and innovations of the CPD since 1994. She stressed the importance of reliable, regular and timely data to shape effective policies and systems to monitor programme effectiveness and implementation. Joseph Chamie, Director of the Population Division of DESA, noted current projections for world population growth, decreases in fertility rates, the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS, and the projected increase in life expectancy. Raj Karim, CPD-31 Chair (Malaysia), presented the report of the 28-29 September 1998 intersessional meeting of the CPD Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (E/CN.9/1999/CRP.2). Delegates then adopted the agenda and organization of work (E/CN.9/1999/1 and L.1).


Under Agenda Item 3, “Follow-up actions to the recommendations of the ICPD,” reports were introduced on: World population monitoring, 1999 - population growth, structure and distribution; the Technical Symposium on International Migration and Development; and the Flow of financial resources for assisting in the implementation of the POA (E/CN.9/1999/2-4). Under Agenda Item 4, “World population situation,” the Secretary-General’s Report on world demographic trends (E/CN.9/1999/5) was introduced. Delegates were invited to combine their comments on these two agenda items.

GERMANY, on behalf of the EU, emphasized the importance of education and suggested it be a focal point of analysis in the preparation of next year’s monitoring report on gender, population and development. SWEDEN and others noted that the classifications of “less developed” and “more developed” countries employed in the document on world population monitoring were outdated and should no longer be used.

Several delegations reported on national trends in population growth, fertility and mortality rates and policies to address the social and economic impacts of these changes. Many developing countries reported recent decreases in rates of fertility, infant mortality and population growth, but highlighted various problems as their populations continue to grow. Some developed countries noted issues related to the ageing and decrease of their populations. Countries with transition economies noted low birth rates, high mortality, particularly among working age males, declines in life expectancy and negative impacts of the recent financial crisis on population and reproduction.

A number of countries reported rapid and growing urbanization and rural to urban migration. Some speakers highlighted the links between population growth, poverty, food provision and the environment. The importance of focusing on reproductive health, addressing the special needs of the growing adolescent population and confronting HIV/AIDS were stressed by various delegates. MALAYSIA underscored the links between economic development and lower population growth, fertility and infant mortality rates and higher life expectancy. UNESCO emphasized the importance of education in promoting social and demographic change. NIGER emphasized the importance of participation by civil society, particularly women, in population policy development and decision-making. The PHILIPPINES underscored the importance of partnerships with NGOs and the private sector. SOUTH AFRICA stressed the need for accurate data on population trends, monitoring and evaluation systems. NORWAY urged support for data collection activities, particularly vital statistics, and for novel approaches to data collection.

Several speakers commended the organization and outcomes of the Technical Symposium on International Migration and Development. The US emphasized further study of South-South migratory movements, the impact of migration on the development process and remittances, and stressed that asylum reform should not conflict with States’ obligations under international law. The PHILIPPINES emphasized the importance of remittances, particularly in light of the Asian financial crisis. BANGLADESH called for attention to social factors and risk elements in female migrants’ work and for further study of the movement of skilled workers from developing to developed countries. Other delegates highlighted the vulnerability of women migrants to exploitation and harassment.

The INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION stressed the need for improved data and clearer understandings of determinants and dynamics of migration to enable better cooperation between countries of origin and destination. CANADA recommended that migration continue to be accorded prominence in the CPD’s work and stressed the need for adequate migration statistics from developing countries to enable policy formulation. The INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF SETTLEMENTS AND NEIGHBORHOOD CENTERS called for greater NGO involvement in providing social services and helping migrants to adjust to their place of settlement and return. BANGLADESH proposed holding a global conference on international migration and development.

On financial flows, several developing countries underscored the scarce financial resources available to confront the challenges of large and growing populations and stressed the need for substantial increases in donor support to enable POA implementation in developing countries. They also urged donors to meet the committed target for financial resources to implement the POA goals. INDIA noted that while developing countries have come close to reaching their ICPD commitments to mobilize domestic resources, external assistance is lagging. He expressed concern about the decreasing share funded by multilateral organizations for population activities within external assistance. The US stressed the need to enlist new partners to mobilize financial resources, stretch limited existing resources, and improve monitoring of resource flows, expenditures and programme costs at global and national levels.


Joseph Chamie introduced the Bureau’s recommendations for the CPD’s proposed work in the next quinquennium, noting that this topic was also being discussed in informal consultations. CPD-31 decided that “gender, population and development” would be the special theme for 2000, and the Bureau proposed: population and socio-economic differentials within and among countries for 2001; population and environment for 2002; reproductive rights and reproductive health for 2003; and the next quinquennial review and appraisal for 2004. CANADA urged the inclusion of education as a cross-cutting theme for each year and migration as a cross-cutting theme in 2001 and 2002. JAMAICA proposed that the special theme for 2002 be altered to “population, environment and development,” and that consideration of reproductive rights and health in 2003 include a special focus on adolescents and youth and HIV/AIDS.


Joseph Chamie introduced this agenda item and associated documents (E/CN.9/1999/6-7 and CRP.1). He described the activities of the Population Division and requested delegates to consider a proposal for a Population Internet Initiative with the goal of ensuring Internet access for all population professionals and institutions by the end of 2001. Several delegates commended the work of the Population Division. SWEDEN proposed that the Secretariat prepare work on modeling of alternative mortality scenarios and that the CPD debate alternate mortality projections in 2001.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the need to enhance awareness of HIV/AIDS and called for improved coordination and system-wide implementation of the commitments of recent conferences. A NGO representative supported the proposal for a Population Internet Initiative and expressed hope that it would be available and accessible to all. INDIA also supported the proposal and suggested making available past work of the Population Division on CD-Rom, since many countries have limited access to the Internet. The HOLY SEE urged continued attention to ageing and the implications for development assistance to developing countries.

The Economic Commissions for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific described their current activities in the area of population. The UN Statistics Division presented a progress report on demographic statistics.

Chair Cliquet announced that CPD-32 would reconvene on Friday morning, 26 March to take action on a draft proposal on the CPD’s programme of work for 2000-2004, a resolution on population growth, structure and monitoring, the draft provisional agenda for CPD-33, and the report of CPD-32.


PREPCOM: The ICPD+5 PrepCom will convene at 10:00 am to elect its officers, adopt its agenda, address other organizational matters and consider the Secretary-General’s Report for the Special Session containing proposals for key actions for the further implementation of the ICPD POA.

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