On Tuesday morning, 13 September 1994, the Plenary convened at 11:00 am to formerly adopt the Programme of Action and conclude its business. The first item on the agenda was the adoption of the report of the Credentials Committee, as contained in A/CONF.171/11 and Corr.1. The Rapporteur-General, Peeter Olesk (Estonia), then introduced the draft Report of the Conference (A/CONF.171/L.4). Delegates adopted the report of the Credentials Committee and authorized the Rapporteur-General to complete the Report of the Conference and submit it to the General Assembly.
ADOPTION OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION: The Chair, Dr. Maher Mahran, then invited Main Committee Chair Dr. Fred Sai to introduce the Programme of Action. Jerzy Holzer (Poland), the rapporteur of the Main Committee, introduced document A/CONF.171/L.3 and Add.1-17, which contain the Programme of Action. The Chair then began the process of formally adopting each chapter. Chapter I (Preamble) was adopted without comment. In Chapter II (Principles), Iran registered its reservations on language that deals with sexual relationships outside of marriage and other behaviors that are not consistent with Islam. Chapter III (Interrelationships between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development) was adopted without comment.
In Chapter IV (Gender equality, equity and empowerment of women), Libya expressed reservations with all terms that contradict Islamic law, particularly those relating to inheritance rights and sexual behavior. In Chapter V (The family, its roles, rights, composition and structure), the Dominican Republic, supported by Pakistan and Zimbabwe, expressed concern about the absence of a UN instrument for family integration and proposed that the UN consider this need. Chapter VI (Population growth and structure) was adopted without comment.
In Chapter VII (Reproductive rights and reproductive health), Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Djibouti expressed their reservations on terminology that is in contradiction with Islamic Law, particularly the basic rights of couples and individuals. El Salvador also expressed reservations on the rights of individuals. Egypt made an observation that they had also called for deletion of the word "individuals." Algeria pointed out that the rights of individuals cannot be interpreted outside marriage. Syria said they would address these concepts according to the ethical, cultural and religious convictions of their society. Jordan said that they would interpret the document according to Islamic and national laws. Fred Sai pointed out that, according to the chapeau in Chapter II, nothing in this Programme of Action must be implemented if it is outside of national laws and religious values. After the chapter was adopted, Malta expressed reservations on the chapter's title, the terms "reproductive health," "reproductive rights" and the "regulation of fertility." Iran expressed reservations with the language that addresses sexual relations outside of marriage. Malaysia and the Maldives said they would interpret the chapter according to Islamic law.
In Chapter VIII (Health, morbidity and mortality), Libya expressed reservations on the term "unwanted pregnancies." El Salvador pointed out that there were still problems with the Spanish translation. Yemen registered its reservations with a number of terms that are not in accordance with Islamic law. After the chapter was adopted, Malta noted its reservations with the portion of paragraph 8.25 with reference to circumstances when abortion is not against the law.
Chapter IX (Population distribution, urbanization and internal migration) was adopted without comment. In Chapter X (International migration), the Philippines and C�=�te d'Ivoire regretted that the document does not acknowledge the right to family reunification and called for an international conference on migration and development. The chapter was then adopted. Chapters XI (Population, development and education), XII (Technology, research and development) and XIII (National action) were adopted without comment.
In Chapter XIV (International cooperation), Australia pointed out that in the discussion on "indigenous people," they would have preferred the term "indigenous peoples," to give recognition to the diversity of these peoples, and that they will continue to fight for this idea in other fora. The chapter was then adopted, as were Chapters XV (Partnership with the non-governmental sector) and XVI (Follow-up to the Conference). The Conference then adopted the final part of the report (A/CONF.171/L.3/Add.17), which contained paragraphs where changes were made in an effort to harmonize the language throughout the Programme of Action.
Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, then introduced document A/CONF.171/L.5, which states that the ICPD adopts the Programme of Action, recommends to the General Assembly that it endorse the Programme of Action and consider the synthesis of national reports on population and development prepared by the Secretariat of the Conference. Twenty-four delegations commented or expressed reservations on the Programme of Action.
Peru stated that it would implement the Programme of Action in line with its constitution, international human rights agreements and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ecuador expressed similar reservations on paragraph 8.25, since it cannot accept principles that violate its constitution, sovereignty and laws.
Argentina said that its reservations include: Chapter II -- since life begins at conception; Chapter V -- although the family may have different forms, its origin and foundation cannot be changed; and Chapter VII -- abortion is not a method of regulating fertility. The Dominican Republic also stated that life begins at conception and, accordingly, registered reservations on "reproductive and sexual health," "reproductive rights," "sexual rights" and "regulation of fertility," when they include abortion. They also placed a reservation on the term "couples," when it refers to people of the same sex, and on the term "individuals," when it refers to individuals outside of marriage. The United Arab Emirates said it will adhere to Islamic Law on abortion and inheritance.
The Holy See stated that it could join the consensus on: the principles, as a sign of solidarity, as well as Chapters II, IV, V, IX and X. They could not join the consensus on Chapters XII- XVI because of their specific nature. They still have some concerns about the question of abortion and extramarital sex among adolescents in Chapter VII. Despite the many positive aspects of Chapter VII and VIII, the text has other broader implications, so the Holy See could not join the consensus on these chapters. He added that joining the consensus should not be seen as an endorsement of abortion, contraceptives, the use of condoms in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, or sterilization.
Nicaragua stated that every person has the right to life that begins at conception. It registered reservations on the terms "sexual rights," "reproductive rights," and "reproductive and sexual health," when they contain abortion or termination of pregnancy, as well as on the inclusion of abortion in the text. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala made similar reservations and added that "types of family" and "other unions" will never mean unions of persons of the same sex. Paraguay also stressed the right to life and said that "termination of pregnancy" can not be recognized as legal under its constitution. Brunei placed reservations on Chapters VII and XIII, which contradict Islamic Law.
A number of delegations took the floor to comment on the text, but did not offer specific reservations, including Belize, Chile, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Pakistan, Tuvalu (on behalf of the South Pacific island States), Guinea, Turkey, Zambia, C�=�te d'Ivoire and Cameroon. With a large round of applause, the Programme of Action was finally adopted.
After adoption, Algeria (on behalf of the G-77 and China), Germany (on behalf of the EU), Australia, Indonesia, the US, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Finland, Norway and Mexico took the floor to give additional comments.
CLOSING STATEMENTS: Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, then introduced document A/CONF.171/L.6, which thanked the Government and people of Egypt for their hospitality. The Conference adopted the document and the Chairs of the five regional groups, as well as Senegal, on behalf of the Islamic Conference and Dr. Florence Manguyu, on behalf of the NGOs, took the floor to thank the Government and the people of Egypt.
The Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs congratulated the delegates on their fair and equitable dialogue over the past ten days. In her closing statement, ICPD Secretary-General Nafis Sadik congratulated delegates on crafting a Programme of Action for the next 20 years that starts from the reality of the world we live in and shows us the path to a better reality. She said that energetic and committed implementation of the Programme of Action will: bring women into the mainstream of development; ensure that every pregnancy is intended and every child is wanted; protect women from the results of unsafe abortion; protect the health of adolescents and encourage responsible behavior; combat HIV/ AIDS; promote education for all; and protect and promote integrity of the family. Delegates responded with a standing ovation.
As he closed the Conference, the Chair, Maher Mahran, Egypt's Minister of Population and Family Welfare, said that as an obstetrician he had delivered hundreds of babies, but he had never seen such "a difficult and protracted delivery." He said that his Government is proud of the outcome of this Conference that focused the world's attention on the urgency of population and development.
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