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INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE WHOLE (ICW)

At the second meeting of the ICW, the Chair, Nicholaas H. Biegman, listed four items that the ICW must address: the structure of the final document; the actual substantive content of the document; the 20-year goals, which were expounded by Dr. Nafis Sadik; and the draft decision prepared by the G-77 (L.7). He then proposed that discussion of the structure be carried out in a small "restricted" group on Monday in Room 9. Furthermore, he asked the Secretariat to draw up discussion documents on the six clusters identified by ECOSOC Resolution 1991/93, to be distributed Monday and discussed beginning on Tuesday. He also proposed that L.7 will be first discussed by the sponsors with interested delegations and then brought to the ICW.

A number of other issues came up as the delegates tried to reach agreement on this work programme. Colombia and France expressed concern about the absence of interpretation. This problem was resolved when the Plenary adjourned early and the interpreters arrived. The US and the UK raised questions about the programme of work during the intersessional period. David Payton from the Secretariat explained that there will be two opportunities between PrepComs II and III to discuss the ICPD -- at the ECOSOC meeting in July and at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly. He added that Dr. Sadik is examining the feasibility of holding periodic informal exchanges of views here in New York.

The Holy See asked for clarification about how the "restricted" sub-group to discuss the structure of the document would be restricted. The Chair responded that this would be "an open-ended restricted group" limited only by the number of seats in the room. Morocco and Egypt protested that Room 9, the smallest meeting room, was not appropriate and recommended scheduling the meeting in a larger room (6 or 7). The Secretariat agreed to look into the availability of a larger room.

At the end of the afternoon there appeared to be general agreement on the need to separate substance from structure and that structure should be discussed first. Governments were also in agreement that they must build on work already done in the expert groups and regional meetings. It was also agreed that the final two clusters would be combined and that the Secretariat would prepare five papers over the weekend on the following topics: integrating population concerns with development; the role and status of women; reproductive rights; international and internal migration; and national action, resource allocation and mobilization of resources.

There still appeared to be some question about the fate of PC/11, the conceptual framework, the purpose of these five discussion papers and the absence of certain issues such as human rights, aging, trade and structural adjustment. Other delegates were still concerned about when they would discuss the guiding principles, when the Secretariat would issue the paper on the 20-year goals and if there would be time to discuss it.

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