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WORKING GROUP I:

XV. PARTNERSHIP [COOPERATION] WITH THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL SECTOR

The Working Group reviewed the Chair's draft of Chapter XV, focusing primarily on the objectives and actions sections. There was disagreement on how to proceed with the reading of the draft text. The EU called for an informal discussion of the revised text. China agreed and requested that the revised amendments be attributed to their sponsors. The Chair opted against both suggestions in light of time limitations and the logistical difficulties associated with both the EU and Chinese proposals.

A. Local, National and International Non-Governmental Organizations: Disagreement arose with regard to the word "cooperation" in the title of the chapter. The EU affirmed the importance of partnership and cooperation between governments and NGOs and asked that the matter be resolved by the Chair since it is a theme that reappears throughout the text. China and Brazil highlighted the need for a concise text and called for the deletion of [cooperation] from the title. Iran also requested clarification about the nature of cooperation that is anticipated between NGOs and governments and supra-governmental bodies. In 15.7 (objective), further disagreement arose on the nature of relationships between NGOs and governments. Brazil emphasized that the design, implementation and evaluation of population activities fall within the sovereign jurisdiction of each country. He added that NGO activities should be carried out within the policy framework of national governments. This position was echoed by the EU who called for deletion of "on a consultative basis". In 15.8 (mechanisms to facilitate NGO activities and their official status), Brazil asked for a more simplified text. Supported by Venezuela, Indonesia and Iran, Brazil also called for the deletion of the reference to the official status of NGOs in national and international development processes. The EU supported the Philippines' proposal to integrate NGOs at all levels of decision making, but asked to replace reference to "official status" with the "key role" of NGOs in the national and international development process. The Dominican Republic questioned how NGOs could work in full partnership with governments in population and development processes without official status. Morocco and Liberia objected to the political independence of NGOs. Sweden disagreed. The EU suggested placing clear emphasis on their autonomy rather than on their independence. Morocco agreed.

In 15.8.bis (the role of women's organizations), Brazil requested consolidation of that paragraph with 15.8. or its transfer to the chapter on gender equity. Bolivia, the US and Paraguay insisted that the paragraph be retained in this chapter, since gender issues are critical to all chapters. Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal and Canada endorsed the importance of the paragraph but called for a more action-oriented focus. The Philippines requested the inclusion of family planning under the broader umbrella of "sexual and reproductive health." The Holy See requested brackets around the Philippines' suggestion. In 15.9 (financial and technical support for NGO participation), Brazil, supported by Turkey and Iran, suggested a simplified version. The US, supported by Tanzania, Nigeria and the Philippines, agreed with the simplified version, but highlighted the importance of accountability. Morocco questioned the reality of NGO independence where they actually have a financial partnership relationship with governments and intergovernmental organizations.

In 15.10 (enabling environment), Benin emphasized that governments and intergovernmental organizations should not be considered on the same footing. Nigeria said that mechanisms should be established to encourage regional dialogue and consultation. Brazil suggested that governments, intergovernmental organizations and international financial institutions, including donors, should assure that NGOs and their networks are able to maintain their autonomy and strengthen their capacity through regular dialogue and consultation and appropriate training and outreach activities and thus play a greater partnership role at all levels. Brazil stressed the importance of clear and readable wording to guide actions over the next 10 years.

In 15.11 (strengthening of NGO interaction with their constituencies), Brazil noted the confusion between communities and the notion of local community groups as referred to by Bangladesh and others. Jamaica, supported by Indonesia, suggested the addition of community groups and Morocco suggested language to ensure transparency of NGO activities. Vanuatu, supported by the US, suggested the addition of another paragraph regarding NGO participation on government delegations to regional and inter-regional negotiating fora on population and sustainable development issues.

B. The Private Sector: In 15.14 (objectives), the Holy See had considerable difficulties with both objectives, citing opposition to the reference to reproductive health and family planning in the absence of specific definitions. He also noted concerns regarding the ability of the private sector to promote reproductive health and family planning commodities. After lengthy discussion, delegates agreed on the following language: "(a) to enhance the cooperation and collaboration between governments, intergovernmental organizations and the private sector to identify new areas of cooperation; and (b) to promote efficient production and distribution of high quality, low cost reproductive health and family planning commodities, which are accessible and affordable". Delegates agreed to add a new sub-paragraph (c) that would either contain language from the original sub-paragraph (b) regarding the study of the possibility of producing contraceptives within each region of the world, or that would incorporate language from a proposal by the Holy See referring to the efficient production and distribution of commodities pertinent to population and development with information regarding the related risks, deficiencies and side effects.

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