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ROUNDTABLE HIGHLIGHTS

At PrepCom II, governments raised the need for further dialogue on some of the most critical issues to be discussed at the 1994 Conference. As a result, the ICPD Secretary- General convened a series of five roundtable discussions, in cooperation with Governments that hosted the meetings.

WOMEN'S PERSPECTIVES ON FAMILY PLANNING, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: The first roundtable took place in Ottawa, Canada from 26-27 August 1993, and focused on four areas of concern: women, human rights and reproductive rights; contraceptive research and development; family planning service delivery; and men and family planning. Recommendations included: increasing attention on the neglected tragedy of maternal mortality in developing countries; recognition and removal of the barriers to women's ability to exercise their rights; allocation of resources and development of programmes to improve the sexual and reproductive health of disadvantaged women; increased support for research on improving existing and developing new contraceptive technology; and recognition that unsafe abortion is a major public health concern.

POPULATION POLICIES, PROGRAMMES AND HIV/AIDS: The second roundtable took place in Berlin, Germany, from 28 September - 1 October 1993. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the short- and medium-term demographic impact of the AIDS epidemic and to explore the implication of AIDS on population and development policies and on maternal and child health and family planning programmes. Participants concluded that: AIDS will not have a significant impact on population growth; in some African cities, however, rates of natural population increase may be reduced, although this may be offset by migration; a more urgent issue is the negative impact on social and economic development caused by growing rates of premature death among the most productive segments of the population; and within some countries' health systems, resources needed for disease prevention are being diverted to treat AIDS-related diseases.

POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES: This roundtable, which was held in Bangkok from 17-19 November 1993, examined the consequences for population policy formulation of the new planning "paradigm," the implications of structural adjustment policies for human resources, policy research challenges, divergent experiences from countries and regions, and future directions for population and sustainable development. Governments were urged to recognize the growing need for strategic thinking about population and development, particularly in the context of the increasing emphasis on private, market-based initiatives for productive growth. There was agreement that policies and programmes need to be more participatory, involve local communities and ensure the empowerment of women. Participants also agreed that planning and policy making should be decentralized.

POPULATION, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE POST-UNCED PERIOD: This roundtable was convened in Geneva from 24-26 November 1993, and focused on five ecosystems where environmental degradation and natural resource depletion is serious and where poverty and population pressures appear to be significant: deforestation in Central America; desertification in sub-Saharan Africa; coastal and marine degradation in the Bay of Bengal; forested uplands of Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand; and small island States in the South Pacific. The participants agreed on 17 recommendations covering the interrelationship between population and the environment; the need to modify consumption patterns and lifestyles; poverty reduction; and strategies to address the needs of urban populations.

POPULATION AND COMMUNICATION: This roundtable, which was held from 2-3 December 1993 in Vienna, Austria, focused on several main areas of concern: an assessment of current demographic trends and the factors influencing them; developments in population communication; and case studies on the potential of the media for population issues, including traditional and non-commercial media, TV soaps, songs, interactive radio, drama and film. The roundtable also discussed strategies to strengthen population communications and explored the role of broadcast policies and international cooperation, the challenge of resource mobilization, questions of marketing and community involvement, and the need for strategic planning and coordination in the fields of information, education and communication.

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