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PREPCOM HIGHLIGHTS: TUESDAY, 5 APRIL 1994

During the course of the day 59 countries, IGOs and NGOs commented on the ICPD draft action programme.

THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE presented a number of recommendations, including imposition of a new internationally monitored taxation system to alleviate the cost of population policies and programmes. PARAGUAY stressed the need to improve the management capacity of UNFPA and to make more resources available to organizations that deal with population and health issues. CANADA agreed with the basic tenets of the document, but said that it was too lengthy and repetitive. The action programme should emphasize research and monitor the effectiveness of UN population activities.

THE UNITED STATES confirmed its commitment to the underlying principles of the draft document, including: reduction of the gender gap in education; emphasis on the family; and cooperative efforts in contraceptive research. THE PHILIPPINES supported the basic principles of the draft programmes of action, especially human rights, the family, migration, reproductive rights and reproductive health. He did not endorse the use of abortion as a means of contraception. NICARAGUA objected to the idea that education expenses are seen as a cost, rather than investments that yield long-term positive returns. Adoption should replace abortion as a solution to unwanted pregnancies.

SWITZERLAND advocated increased national budgets for population activities. He discouraged setting objectives that are weaker than those set in other fora, such as the Children's Summit. IRAN emphasized nations' rights to define their own population policies within their own cultural and religious values. He supported greater focus on unsustainable consumption patterns as a major contributing factor to underdevelopment. CROATIA pointed out the diversity of population density and structure among nations. He called for strengthening capacity building and technology transfer in newly emerging States.

MALAWI recommended increased emphasis on the needs of disabled families, especially those afflicted by AIDS, and the need for more emphasis on the role of men in family planning and reproductive health. THE HOLY SEE expressed criticism on the lack of ethics in the document. He supported the concept of reproductive health for the well-being of women, but rejected the concept of reproductive rights. He reiterated their opposition to abortion and lamented the lack of reference to natural methods of family planning. ARGENTINA urged against any supra-nationally imposed planning objectives for population and development. The objective of all population policies should be the protection of the family and each of its members.

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION assured its continued support for the ICPD and its collaboration with UNFPA. He placed priority on education in population and health policies, especially in the areas of reproductive health and AIDS. ZERO POPULATION GROWTH supported the new US policies on population, environment and economic growth. She called for focus on issues such as the root causes of migration and universal access to contraceptives and abortion. YOUTH DELEGATES FOR POPULATION INFORMATION pointed to such problems affecting youth as: early marriages, early and unwanted pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases and substance abuse, all of which have grave impacts on population density.

FAMILY CARE INTERNATIONAL announced a collaborative paper on issues related to population and development. Its recommendations included increased male responsibility in family planning, a weak point in the ICPD document. BRAZIL reiterated the concern of developed and developing nations regarding the main concepts of population and development. He placed emphasis on the importance of ICPD follow-up to ensure the implementation of the action programmes. INDIA said that the Cairo Document should not contain a basis for action and the objectives, but, instead, should focus on the action points. She supported the recommendation that 20% of national public sector expenditures and 20% of development assistance be devoted to the social sector.

FINLAND, on behalf of the Nordic countries, said that population-relevant policies and programmes should be based on the concept of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The chapters on follow-up require more substance and clarity. PERU recommended that environmental linkages appear throughout the document; social, economic and demographic differences between developing and developed countries be better articulated; and greater coordination is needed at all levels. BANGLADESH highlighted poverty alleviation; education and access to jobs; international cooperation; empowerment of women; creation of increased employment opportunities; and development of new and safe fertility control methods.

MICRONESIA, on behalf of the Pacific island States, reported on the South Pacific region's preparations for the ICPD, including the Port Vila Declaration on Population and Development adopted last September. He stressed the role of NGOs. NEPAL stressed the centrality of the human person in achieving sustainable development. Political commitment, partnership between governments and NGOs, adequate funding, the empowerment of women, and adequate follow-up should be stressed. MEXICO highlighted the importance of the relationship between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development; the role of regional mechanisms; education; and internal and international migration.

VENEZUELA said the action programme can serve as a guide for discussion of population problems and poverty. Population policies should be considered within economic and social development strategies. AUSTRIA called for more emphasis on human rights, education for all by the year 2000, shared responsibility between men and women, and migration policy. INDONESIA, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the importance of capacity building, human development, the status of women within the context of the family, and the need for international cooperation, including South-South cooperation.

BOLIVIA said poverty exacerbates rural migration to urban centres. The ICPD goals can only be met through better commitment by the funding agencies. UNIDO said education, food supply, and income generation are among the central needs of newly industrialized developing countries. The key issue is how the industrial sector can better meet the needs of the poor. ESTONIA, on behalf of the Baltic Countries, mentioned population problems related to Soviet domination and forced migration policies. Abortion is now widely practiced in the absence of safe contraceptives.

NAMIBIA mentioned the importance of human resources, especially where HIV is predominant. Research on the short-term and long-term impact of population displacement on family structure is needed as well as more emphasis on male responsibility. THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF SETTLEMENTS questioned the lack of reference to ILO Conventions. Principles regarding migration could be strengthened through reference to adequate housing. The action programme must provide more attention to NGO involvement. ASSOCIATION FOR VOLUNTARY SURGICAL CONTRACEPTION said the problem of post-abortion care must be addressed. The importance of male involvement should be highlighted. Informed and free choice must be upheld.

INTERNATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE said the draft document must mention the rights of unborn children. It enshrines children, but also advocates violence against them. The document imposes a form of imperialism on developing countries, endangering the dignity of women. NATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH urged access to culturally acceptable family healthcare and universal access to contraceptives. The document should focus more on adolescent pregnancy. DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES WITH WOMEN FOR A NEW ERA said that religious and political fundamentalism threatens women since it defines the family as one headed by a man. Policies should recognize the current reality to ensure protection of women's rights.

ROMANIA mentioned that there is a decrease in population in the Eastern bloc that has been paradoxically associated with decreases in the quality of life. THAILAND said that South-South cooperation is important and collective self-reliance should be encouraged. International cooperation should include technical cooperation among developing countries. ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY raised the importance of women. Financial and technical support is needed to ensure sustainable economic growth.

JAMAICA said more information on the character of migration is needed to ensure the appropriate legal framework to monitor migration and to protect migrants and women. PAKISTAN said population policies can only be effective through a bottom-up approach. The role of women must be guaranteed. NGOs can play an important role in public education. MALI said that in order to provide universal access to primary health care, full popular participation must be assured. AIDS information programmes and adolescent education are needed.

JORDAN raised the importance of the enhancement of women, especially in political life. Each country should adopt its own population policies in accordance with local cultural and religious values. DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA said population must be at the center of development planning, based on the philosophical and historical foundation of each country. MYANMAR said that diversity in population density and structure should discourage universal policies. The right of individuals to control the number and spacing of their children should be protected.

GUINEA BISSAU supported the G-77 statement on the draft programme of action. TURKEY said the linkages between population and social development should not be limited to the ICPD. The role of women and NGOs should be acknowledged. UGANDA affirmed the negative impact of population growth on economic sustainablity, and expressed concern about the lack of financial and technical resources.

AFGHANISTAN said policy implementation in the least developed countries is costly, especially where war has caused population displacement. INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT called for increased resources from the developed to developing countries. Women should be included in policy-making and implementation. BENIN acknowledged the linkage between population and economic growth. Policies should focus on such issues as employment, education, family rehabilitation, and AIDS and malaria.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA said particular emphasis should be given to the family, education for family planning, and a comprehensive strategy to cope with migration and AIDS. BURKINA FASO emphasized that many existing programmes have not been effectively implemented because of the lack of financial resources. WORLD ALLIANCE FOR THE FAMILY deplored the use of abortion and compulsory sterilization. Third World men and women have been used as slaves in medical testing.

FAMILY LIFE COUNCIL said that he had been unable to participate in NGO discussions because he was pro-abortion. The Chair requested the Secretariat to look into this matter of discrimination. ETHIOPIA mentioned the importance of gender equality, education for girls, employment opportunities for women, international and internal migration, and domestic capacity building. CZECH REPUBLIC: said that health care, child care, and comprehensive population education are essential. The well-being of vulnerable groups must be addressed.

GLOBE said that goals for unsustainable consumption must be addressed in the action programme. Early warning systems must be developed for international migration crises. FOUR DIRECTIONS COUNCIL said that increased information on birth control is greatly needed in indigenous areas. Resources must be provided to stimulate research on traditional methods and technologies for sustaining population and development in indigenous communities.

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