ENB:06:11 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

PROPOSED CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Discussion on the next agenda item, the proposed conceptual framework of the Cairo Document (E/CONF.84/PC/11) began on Friday, 14 May. In her introduction to this discussion, Dr. Nafis Sadik expressed her hope that Part II, "Choices and Responsibilities", would reflect the new international consensus on the need to integrate population concerns into economic and social activities. She stressed the centrality of the individual as the basis of all population policies. Sadik expressed her determination that women's perspectives on human centered policies and programmes should be fully reflected in the work of the PrepCom. She urged that abortion be addressed as a health issue and she referred to the negative impacts of structural adjustment programmes and the need to shift emphasis back to investment in the social sector.

Throughout the subsequent four days of interventions, governments, UN agencies and NGOs made a number of concrete recommendations on the structure, format and contents of the Cairo Document. Colombia, on behalf of the Group of 77, recommended a chapter on finance for international cooperation for population activities and suggested that more emphasis be placed on issues such as education, empowerment of women, the role of men in family planning and migration. Denmark, on behalf of the EC, identified four key areas for organizing the proposed section on guiding principles: Human Rights and Population; Human Development and Population; Sustainable Development and Population; and Partnership and Population.

Egypt proposed that the principles section be merged into the section on choices and responsibilities and that the preamble be expanded to include the right to development, national sovereignty, mutual responsibility and global partnership. Sweden, on behalf of the Nordic countries, stated that the draft outline must be better articulated with regard to the interrelationships and dynamics between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development. Sweden also urged that the document should address follow-up measures, and suggested that Part II of the draft outline should give special emphasis to a limited number of issues or clusters such as: integrating population concerns into development; the role and status of women; and reproductive rights, reproductive health and family planning.

Australia urged that over-consumption and inequitable distribution of wealth be addressed and that additional resources are needed to improve both the quality and the availability of reproductive health services. Zimbabwe said that the document needs to consider financial provisions. Canada suggested that the Commission on Sustainable Development should participate in the monitoring of the results of the ICPD and that the Conference should focus more on the causes, rather than the effects, of international migration. Poland and the Russian Federation called for distinctions to be maintained between regional and global recommendations, especially in light of the special socio- economic problems of countries in transition.

The United States outlined suggestions for the conceptual framework including: incorporating gender equality and equity along with women's empowerment in Chapter II; recognizing the variety of family forms; addressing reproductive health, reproductive rights, family planning, adolescent sexuality and fertility and gender relations in Chapter IV. A number of developing countries, including Guinea Bissau and Mali, mentioned that the document should highlight the interdependence between demographic and development problems. Guinea and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions suggested that a chapter be added on training and employment.

The Holy See stated that abortion under the guise of other perceived rights, violates the most fundamental right of any human being, the right to life. It stated that the Catholic Church does not propose procreation at any cost, but rather, it opposes demographic policies and family planning that are contrary to the liberty, dignity and the conscience of the human being. India stated that the Cairo Conference should not become an umbrella conference that crowds the agenda with related important issues that are not directly related to population and development, such as the environment and women. India also made a number of specific recommendations for the restructuring of the conceptual framework to focus more on population.

The Four Directions Council urged that indigenous people be included in the document. The American Association of Retired Persons, the Dominican Republic and Romania recommended that the needs of older people be incorporated into the document. Disabled Peoples' International pointed out the omission of people with disabilities in the conceptual framework. Morocco and Burundi stressed the importance of the family. Japan affirmed the importance of achieving social and economic development in a way that does not destroy the environment. Denmark commented on the specific point of adolescent sexuality and fertility.

[Return to start of article]