Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 06 No. 49
Friday, 26 March 1999

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ICPD+5 PREPCOM

THURSDAY, 25 MARCH 1999

Delegates at the ICPD+5 PrepCom met in Plenary in the morning and afternoon to hear formal statements by countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on preparations for the Special Session.

PLENARY

NORWAY said the Secretary-General’s report provides a good balance between general development issues and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and reproductive rights. She highlighted areas of particular concern, including: HIV/AIDs; inadequate and inappropriate SRH services for youth; continued high maternal mortality levels; and a lack of financial and human resources. She called on the UN and multilateral development banks to work in a more unified and coordinated manner. On gender equality, she noted that the report does not sufficiently reflect the changing roles of women and men.

MEXICO highlighted the need to guarantee the availability of a wide range of effective and safe contraceptives, including emergency contraception, stressed the need for accessibility to information and adequate services to promote adolescent reproductive health (RH), and called for greater commitment from international donors. The FAO noted that the main emphasis on POA implementation has been on reproductive rights and RH, which has led to imbalanced follow-up and inadequate attention to important factors such as population aspects of sustainable development and environmental change, urban-rural distribution, demographic ageing and migration. He stressed the need for integrated, multi-sectoral approaches to develop effective solutions. VENEZUELA highlighted the lack of resources mobilized for population programmes by the international community since 1994 and stressed the need for donors to meet ICPD targets, and recognized the efforts of NGOs in implementing POA recommendations.

CUBA noted that while implementing the POA is the responsibility of national governments, full implementation requires the collective efforts of the international community. He lamented the decline in ODA. The PHILIPPINES said proposals should address the needs and problems of youth and welcomed recommendations to document experiences of countries in managing ageing populations. She supported proposed actions to improve the conditions of migrant workers and highlighted the importance of studying social aspects of international migration and addressing problems of internal migration. She said governments should focus on a holistic, integrated and sustained approach to adolescent RH that will ensure the attainment of overall youth development and well-being. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for: a strengthened regional dimension in proposals on international migration; greater emphasis on initiatives to tackle problems of forced migration and an enhanced role for the UN in this regard; reliable data systems for population issues; coordinated national and international efforts to address HIV/AIDS and availability of medicines to countries for which high cost is problematic; and implementation of reproductive rights and RH, particularly for youth, with sensitivity to countries’ traditions, societies and cultures.

MALAYSIA noted that the recent economic crisis has negatively affected some countries’ ability to implement the POA. He urged that, when considering the mobilization of resources, priority be given to countries in need to ensure that achievements are not jeopardized. MADAGASCAR stated that governments have an important role to play in creating opportunities for the elderly. FRANCE stressed that human rights principles are fundamental to all cooperation and population programmes. He highlighted, inter alia: gender equity and equality; education; access to essential health services; attention to RH; and urgent action to contain the spread of AIDS, especially among youth. AZERBAIJAN stressed that the main task of ICPD+5 is to reflect successes and identify constraints in POA implementation with national and regional assessments.

CÔTE D’IVOIRE underscored: the need for a favorable and conducive environment for the implementation of population programmes; the operationalization of SRH services; policies to empower women; reinforced partnerships with NGOs; and mobilization of resources for population programmes. THAILAND emphasized the importance of strong civil society involvement and highlighted HIV/AIDs as a critical issue. He said the PrepCom should promote an “appropriate reallocation of resources” for RH and sustainable human development. ALGERIA underscored the need to, inter alia: strengthen the relationship between population and development globally, taking into account social and cultural variables; place RH in the overall framework of primary health care; act globally to improve sanitary conditions; protect and preserve the cohesion and stability of the family; and prioritize the needs of adolescents.

ROMANIA outlined national experiences in implementing the ICPD POA and said that present social and economic difficulties influence the level of demographic indicators and the health status of the population. PERU called for the promotion and use of statistical and demographic data banks and said the integration of sexual and reproductive rights within population and development programmes deserves special emphasis. He underscored the importance of education on the subject of family, pregnancy, children, RH, family planning and other concepts contained within the POA. PALESTINE identified the lack of financial resources, an unfavorable political environment and difficult communications as obstacles to policy implementation. He recommended: increasing investment in training; building cross-sectoral partnerships; mobilizing financial resources; and reforming relevant legislation. URUGUAY said SRH services should meet the needs of women throughout the entire life-cycle, and highlighted the right of every person to make fully-informed decisions on the number and spacing of their children. Noting the importance of strengthening partnerships, he urged the UN and other international organizations to ensure that they work in a coordinated manner.

BENIN underscored the importance of taking into account the human dimension in every development objective and proposed that national and international institutions undertake measures to: strengthen national capacities to monitor and coordinate population programmes; develop national awareness programmes; create favorable conditions for cooperation between governments and NGOs; improve access of young children to primary education and strengthen programmes that facilitate women’s access to income-generating activities as strategies to promote gender equality. PAKISTAN underscored the unfavorable environment posed by economic obstacles, highlighted the shortfall and importance of international donor support and recommended addressing the unmet demand for RH. PANAMA underscored its commitment and support for the ICPD goals. ETHIOPIA emphasized the need to take into account differences between countries in the proposals on population, education and health to facilitate future guidance in the implementation of the POA. He called for consideration of the complementary role of actions in critical sectors like food security, rural energy and water supply and appropriate technologies that reduce the demand on the labor services of the girl child.

GUINEA emphasized that population programmes should be an integral part of overall development programmes. He called for international solidarity in solving population problems. IRAN said it was imperative not to get derailed from the path of constructive partnership by controversial debates on new ideas and concepts not included in the Cairo agreements. He recommended attention to refugees, migrants and displaced people, adolescents’ needs and poverty eradication, and called on the international community to make available financial and technical resources. The INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION said policies and programmes for youth need to be supported and financed. He noted that although much has been achieved since Cairo, it is just the tip of the iceberg. He urged further action to improve conditions for women in poor or rural areas, which in many cases have not improved since Cairo.

The DUTCH COUNCIL ON YOUTH AND POPULATION urged the PrepCom to adopt the recommendations of The Hague Youth Forum, including, inter alia: governments and civil society to ensure the election of youth representatives at all levels of governing bodies and school and university boards; donors to allocate at least 20 percent of RH spending to meet the needs of adolescents; sexual and reproductive rights to apply to young people; and SRH services, including emergency contraception, to be available for all young people. The ENVIRONMENTAL CAUCUS said the PrepCom recommendations should: reflect the two-way linkage between environment and population; recognize constraints on the supply of natural resources, such as water; address the need for governments and civil society to promote sustainable consumption; consider environmental degradation as one of the root causes of migration and support more research on this issue; and resolve the confusing use of the terms “environment” (“enabling” versus “natural”) and “resources” (“financial” versus “natural”).

The CENTER FOR DEVELOPMENT AND POPULATION ACTIVITIES called for serious consideration of youth inputs to the review process, highlighted the opportunities the Prepcom offers to solidify and advance greater partnership and trust, and stressed accountability to constituencies and greater inclusion of civil society. AVSC INTERNATIONAL said the challenge is to translate broad concepts into action and stressed the need for prioritization of issues, community participation, long-term commitment and the importance of government support. PARTNERS IN POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT highlighted South-South cooperation as a means of POA implementation, the importance of enhancing partnerships between all actors and the need for more support for developing countries from the international community. WORLD INFORMATION TRANSFER underscored children’s health and the need for recognition of children’s rights. She stressed that governments have an important role to play in providing for the basic needs of their populations.

IN THE CORRIDORS

A sense of alarm set in at the PrepCom on Thursday as the Working Group created to negotiate proposals for further implementation of the POA was unable to convene due to the G- 77/China’s need to hold further Group consultations. The Working Group has yet to conduct negotiations on the issues that undoubtedly will prove controversial, such as reproductive health and rights, abortion, emergency contraception and adolescents’ needs. Some participants have reported deep divisions within the G-77 itself on these issues, and fear that even with the addition of morning and afternoon meetings on Saturday, the Working Group may not be able to complete its work by the end of the PrepCom, an alarming possibility with the Special Session looming large.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: Plenary will convene at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1 to hear official statements on preparations for the Special Session.

WORKING GROUP: The Working Group will meet at 10:00 am in the ECOSOC Chamber to continue negotiations on proposals for action for further implementation of the POA.

CPD-32: The CPD will reconvene its regular 32nd session at 4:30 pm in Conference Room 1 to take action on the CPD’s programme of work for 2000-2004, a resolution on population growth, structure and monitoring, and the draft provisional agenda for CPD-33, and to adopt its report.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © (enb@iisd.org) is written and edited by Richard Campbell (richcam@hotmail.com), Angela Churie (churie@l.kth.se), Kira Schmidt (kiras@iisd.org) and Chris Spence (spencechris@hotmail.com).The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. (pam@iisd.org) and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree (kimo@iisd.org). Digital editing by Leila Mead (leila@interport.net). The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). General Support for the Bulletin during 1999 is provided by the the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Community (DG-XI), the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Ministry for the Environment in Iceland. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at (enb@iisd.org) and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at (info@iisd.ca) and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e- mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/. The satellite image was taken above New York City(c)1999 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to (enb@iisd.org).

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