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INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE WHOLE (ICW)

Discussion Thursday morning focussed on the preamble and the principles section of the conceptual framework document (E/CONF.84/PC/11).

PREAMBLE: Several delegations expressed their concern that the preamble should be drafted in a way that captivates the public's interest. Many delegations called for the preamble to address additional issues beyond those referenced in paragraph 13. The US identified three areas that should be considered: past experiences with population policies and programmes; how the world has changed during the last 20 years; and reference to key actions necessary to meet the needs of people and stabilize population growth. The US also suggested that the preamble should reference relevant international agreements on human rights, women's rights and other related issues. Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, echoed this point and further suggested that the Cartagena Declaration of UNCTAD VIII should be included as well, particularly in light of the relevance of trade policies to the population issue. Other delegations suggested that regional instruments should also be included. The Holy See reiterated its concern about the inclusion of the Amsterdam Declaration. The Holy See maintained that this instrument does not reflect international consensus and, as such, should not be included on a par with such instruments as Agenda 21. The Chair responded that the Amsterdam Declaration had, in fact, been endorsed by the General Assembly.

The G-77 suggested that the preamble should include references to relevant demographic data. Other delegations added that the preamble should address the resources and actions necessary to attain population objectives in the context of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, with reference to human rights and developing countries. Uganda urged the inclusion of reference to the special status of LDCs.

PRINCIPLES: The discussion on principles reflected consensus on the need for the principles to form the basis for the new plan of action and to provide the guiding philosophy for global and regional action into the 21st century. Most delegations stressed that the principles should build as much as possible on other relevant international agreements. Pakistan and Iran called for an additional principle regarding the right to development.

The EC favored a group of principles that highlight the importance of human rights in the population context. The UK expressed its concerns with the centrality of the individual's rights and endorsed the views of Dr. Sadik that the human development and population theme is about increasing choices and opportunities. The US called for special attention to indigenous peoples, marginalized individuals and people with disabilities, as well as the underserved. They also stated that clear reference must be made to the importance of ensuring access to safe abortion.

Discussion also focussed on the EC proposal that identifies four key areas for organizing the general principles: Human Rights and Population; Sustainable Development and Population; and Partnership in Population. While many European countries, as well as the US, echoed their endorsement of this proposed structure, the G-77 expressed reservations on the basis that the structure did not provide a balanced and integrated approach to the theme of population. In his summary, the Chair noted that the challenge before the Secretariat is to produce a draft set of principles that will not generate acrimonious debate at PrepCom III.

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