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PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE

NEW ZEALAND: Amb. Terence O'Brien reaffirmed that the starting point of this Conference must be about people and survival. He expressed his dissatisfaction on the lack of comprehensive examination of indigenous issues in any of the expert group reports and commented that this marks a step back from Rio, where efforts had been made to incorporate indigenous perspectives throughout Agenda 21.

AUSTRIA: The delegate from Austria, Wolfgang Petritsch, supported Dr. Sadik's proposal to include in the Conference recommendations a set of goals to be achieved by all countries within the next 20 years. He also mentioned that Austria will be hosting a roundtable discussion on the role of communications in the context of population policies this fall.

SUDAN: The delegate from the Sudan mentioned a number of population programmes that his government has undertaken, including a census and the plan to spend more money on education and other programmes in the coming decade. He said that the preparations for the ICPD provided an opportunity to develop a national population policy and establish a national population council.

MALAYSIA: Dr. Johari Mat reaffirmed the right of countries to develop their own population policies in accordance with national needs and objectives. He highlighted the steps that the Malaysian Government has taken to reassess its own population policies in light of changing socio-economic conditions, such as the development of its strategic National Population Plan of Action. Mat commented that moral and ethical perspectives on population and development have received inadequate attention.

INDONESIA: Dr. Abdullah Cholil stated that Indonesian laws stipulate that citizens have certain rights, obligations and responsibilities that are linked to quality, quantity and mobility of the population. Cholil urged that the issue of poverty alleviation be included in the PrepCom agenda. He insisted that basic human rights must be acknowledged in family planning and that active community participation is essential to successful population programmes.

SRI LANKA: The representative from Sri Lanka cited a number of national figures regarding population and reported the establishment of a committee to coordinate the preparation of the national report on population. He said that there is a need to establish a coordinating body to harness scarce resources at national and international levels.

CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND POPULATION ACTIVITIES: Peggy Curlin, President of this network of over 900 NGOS worldwide, said that women's participation is central to economic, social and democratic processes and improving the quality of life on an interdependent planet. She focussed on the problems that women face as a result of early and frequent pregnancies and urged efforts to promote education for girls, especially in rural areas. She urged access to safe and effective contraception, safe abortion, pre- and post-natal care and safe deliveries.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA: The delegate from Equatorial Guinea mentioned that his government had set up a national committee on population issues. The population problems that remain are due in large part to traditional customs and religious practices related to family planning. He said that there must be an effort to include population issues in primary school text books.

CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE LAW AND POLICY: The representative from this international legal organization on women's reproductive health urged governments to seek consensus on the respect for human rights and the rights of women. She called on governments to support the principle that reproductive heath and self-determination are universal needs for women and to improve access to health care, education, appropriate methods of contraception, and safe abortion. She also called on governments to enforce even-handed condemnation of coercion and discrimination with regard to family planning.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR WESTERN ASIA: The Executive-Secretary of ESCWA discussed the high rate of population growth in Arab countries and specific problems including high fertility and mortality rates, internal and external migration, and tragic events in the region. He summarized the results of the Arab Conference and pointed out that the Amman Declaration states that among the basic rights of individuals is the freedom of both spouses to decide the number and spacing of children.

ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: The representative from ECLAC reviewed the regional meeting held in Mexico City last week. He said that there was enhanced awareness of the need to bring population into development planning.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The representative from the WHO cited the close links between WHO goals and the issues considered by the ICPD. WHO has focussed on a number of programmes, including extending family planning care to under-served populations. She expressed concern for the lack of resources for these issues.

UNICEF: Dr. Richard Jolly, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, stated that there are six areas where UNICEF can contribute to improving family planning: enhancing the role and status of women; furthering safe motherhood; support of breast-feeding; basic education and literacy; information, education and communication; and direct support for family planning services. He supported the emphasis on linkages in the proposed conceptual framework between enhancing the roles and socio-economic status of women and population dynamics, with particular reference to the access of women to resources and the provision of services.

NICARAGUA: The delegate from Nicaragua urged that the integrity of the family as a universal support unit must be fully ensured and that countries must identify children's rights at all stages of development. She expressed the need to assess the work carried out by women in both the economic and cultural dimension.

NEPAL: The delegate from Nepal expressed his government's commitment to reverse environmental degradation trends; to ensure new roles for women; to raise life expectancy and lower mortality rates; and to manage internal migration. He also affirmed that people have the right to remain in their homes and homelands with peace and dignity.

UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA: The Executive Secretary from ECA stated that the report of the Third African Conference on Population, the Family and Sustainable Development compels a rethinking of certain preconceived ideas about Africa. He stated that despite its urgent problems, Africa has reached an amazing consensus on population. He also urged that while sub-Saharan Africa requires increased international support, Africa should be seen as a region in transition, not one to be helped forever.

BANGLADESH: The representative from Bangladesh noted that his country is the ninth most populous with 800 persons per square kilometer. His government has identified population as its primary problem. He noted the government's strategy to mainstream women and that fertility decline in Bangladesh was unique.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The delegate from the Russian Federation mentioned a number of population-related problems in his country, including: a drop in the birth-rate; tensions in society; uncertain prospects and a sharp deterioration in living conditions; a higher mortality rate; and sharp changes in migration patterns. He added that the only way to overcome these negative trends is to develop a state policy and that the Russian Government has recently begun to do just that.

NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION: Lynn Greenwalt, the representative from one of the largest environmental organizations in the world, said that continual living beyond our environmental means can lead only to catastrophe. He urged that financial resources for population programmes from donor nations reach a figure of US$9-10.5 billion annually. He also requested that the Secretariat provide cost estimates for women's health care and education so that these matters can be dealt with in an effective framework.

LESOTHO: The delegate from Lesotho said that his government has set up a national preparatory committee that includes NGOs. He also mentioned that his government will submit its national report one year in advance of the Conference.

LIBERIA: The delegate from Liberia mentioned that the interim Government of National Unity is reconstituting its national population commission. He identified some of his government's national preparatory activities and stressed the need for financial and technical resources for population programmes.

RWANDA: The delegate from Rwanda emphasized the special problem faced by his country as recovers from war and addressed problems with displaced persons. He stressed the linkage between the improvement in the quality of life and the alleviation of population problems.

AFGHANISTAN: The delegate from Afghanistan noted that the civil war in his country has uprooted the population and has caused both economic and demographic problems. He stressed the need for humanitarian assistance in a programme for repatriation and resettlement.

MALI: The delegate from Mali stated that his country, like other Sahelian countries, faces a lack of resources in dealing with population in the context of development. He stressed the role of NGOs in the implementation of national population policies, especially maternal health, and noted that his delegation includes three NGOs.

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