ENB:06:09 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE WHOLE (ICW)

The ICW met all day yesterday and was able to complete discussion on the Secretariat's non-papers on goals and clusters.

Cluster 4: [Population Distribution,] Internal and International Migration: Delegates made only a few comments on Part A, "Population distribution and internal migration." Colombia, Morocco and the Philippines stressed the need to focus on and to stem rural-urban migration. Switzerland, Malaysia and the ILO supported the Secretariat's reference to decentralization as a means of managing urban development. The ILO and Australia stressed the need to maintain a balance between urban and rural development.

The section on international migration generated much more discussion. Canada and Australia stressed the importance of clarifying the difference between voluntary and forced migration in the document. Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and the Russian Federation stated that there is a need to examine migration that is caused by lack of economic opportunities and the necessity of job creation in the countries of origin. Australia and Argentina specifically mentioned the relationship between agricultural subsidies and migration. Brazil commented that the text is "timid" and does not stress the causes of the present massive flows of undocumented migrants from poorer countries to richer countries.

Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Austria suggested that the Secretariat should incorporate recommendations from the European Population Conference on the issue of international migration. Likewise, Mali stated that the relevant recommendations from the Dakar Conference should also be incorporated.

Switzerland, the Holy See, Morocco and France stressed the need to address the issues of integration, multiculturalism, and racism as well as the need to safeguard the human rights of migrants. The US and Brazil mentioned the problems associated with illegal and undocumented migrants. Argentina commented on the need for an exchange of information between countries that receive immigrants as well as countries that suffer from considerable migratory flows.

Argentina, the Philippines and Ecuador all referred to the financial impact of repatriation and the loss of income sent home to family members from migrant workers. To help alleviate the "brain drain," the Philippines encouraged the creation of a programme whereby a country receiving migrants could promise the country of origin some sort of a compensatory measure, such as the exchange of scholars, transfer of technology, or a temporary repatriation with guaranteed return so the professionals could share their knowledge with others in their native country.

In the section on strategies, delegates made the following recommendations: the first strategy should also include reducing pressures for South-South migration (Malaysia, Canada and Australia); the fourth strategy should include protecting the right to seek asylum (Canada and Australia); and the seventh strategy should include providing adequate assistance to refugees, including women, children and aged parents (Canada, Australia and Poland).

Cluster 5: Resource allocation, resource mobilization, the role of governments and other sectors: A number of common themes emerged during the discussion of this cluster. India, the G-77, Brazil and the Women's Caucus agreed that increased attention should be given to population activities at the national level. There was also agreement that national social sector expenditures should rise by 20-30%. Iran pointed out that targets for social spending should take into account the varying capacities of individual countries, especially those in the South. Many countries such as the US, the UK and Canada called for greater partnership between governments and NGOs in the implementation of population activities. The UK suggested that the final document should commit an increased flow of resources to NGOs. Several countries also highlighted the need for increased expenditures in family planning and reproductive health in general. While some governments fund the health sector in very broad terms, reproductive health often does not appear in national budgets. As a result, this makes it difficult to assess what is being spent in this area. Numerous developing countries, including the G-77 and Iran, called on the international community to clarify its commitments to population funding. Sweden, in particular, called on the industrialized countries to do more in this regard, but also suggested that regional funding figures would be more realistic than global funding targets. Countries, such as Morocco expressed hope that military expenditures, in part, could be redirected to cover population activities. This was echoed by the Women's Caucus, who added that increased sources of funding could be mobilized by reform of structural adjustment programmes and debt relief. Canada pointed out that it does not target its ODA to specific programmes or sectors.

Several countries questioned the appropriateness of the Amsterdam Declaration as the basis for determining global population funding targets. The Holy See noted that the Amsterdam Declaration was only signed by 79 countries, and as such, did not reflect an international consensus.

Additional issues: The Chair provided delegations with the opportunity to raise issues not covered by the five clusters. Canada and Norway mentioned the need to strengthen reference to data collection and analysis by incorporating recommendations from the relevant expert group meetings. Norway also called for the incorporation of substantive and operational research on fertility changes and life-saving measures. Canada also mentioned the need to reflect the needs and contributions of indigenous peoples, wherever appropriate.

Goals for 2015: All delegations supported the general idea of setting targets in the Cairo document. A number of delegations suggested that the 20-year time frame, as suggested by the Secretary-General, is not the only one that should be considered. Brazil, for example, suggested that a time frame of 10 years may be more appropriate. The G-77 suggested that intermediate reviews every five years could be carried out to assess whether the goals are realistic or not. A number of delegations, including the G-77, the Holy See, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Malaysia mentioned the need for both qualitative and quantitative goals. Pakistan, Sweden, the G-77, Uganda, Burundi and Zaire all pointed out that targets should be either regional or country-specific. Mention was also made of the importance of avoiding the notion of coercion in the setting of population goals. Delegates also suggested that the Secretariat consider related goals that have been articulated in other UN fora.

Some countries suggested the inclusion of additional goals. For example, the US proposed goals regarding the unequal treatment of boys and girls; maternal mortality due to unsafe abortion; and teenage pregnancy. The Holy See suggested goals to deal with socio-economic development; ageing and the elderly; human resource development; and job creation.

[Return to start of article]