Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 06 No. 56
Monday, 28 June 1999
ICPD+5 PREPCOM HIGHLIGHTS
FRIDAY, 25 JUNE 1999
The PrepCom for the Special Session for the review and appraisal of implementation of
the ICPD POA met briefly in Plenary to adopt the list of NGOs recommended for
accreditation to the Special Session. Delegates then resumed informal consultations on the
proposals for key actions for further POA implementation, proposing amendments to the
first paragraph of the preambular background section and commenting on amendments to 11 of
the 27 bracketed paragraphs proposed by delegations on Thursday.
Chair Chowdhury convened the PrepCom in a brief Plenary session to introduce the List
of NGOs recommended by a committee of the PrepCom Bureau and the Secretariat for
accreditation to the 21st Special Session of the General Assembly (E/CN.9/1999/PC/6).
Delegates adopted the list as recommended.
BACKGROUND: On paragraph 1 (summary of ICPD outcomes), the G-77/CHINA proposed
replacing the text with four paragraphs, which: outline ICPD POA objectives; stress the
need for greater investment in health and education services for all people, particularly
women; emphasize the importance of couples and individuals reproductive rights
as defined in POA paragraph 7.3; and underscore the need for the ICPD to be seen as
closely related to the outcome and follow-up of the other major UN conferences. Regarding
text noting that the POA makes the [development and] [rights, development and] well-being
of human beings the focus of population and development activities, the US preferred
"development and well-being of people" and added "with full respect for
human rights." The EU preferred "rights, development and well-being." The
US proposed adding that "interrelationships between population, resources,
environment and development should be fully recognized, properly managed and brought into
balance." To bracketed text noting that the ICPD reaffirmed the importance of
universally accepted human rights, including the right to development, the US recommended
adding "the human rights of women" and, with the HOLY SEE, deleting
"recognized reproductive rights based upon these universally accepted human
rights." The HOLY SEE proposed noting that the ICPD did not create any new
international human rights and amending text on access to health care services to
"universal" access "on a basis of equality of men and women."
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT CONCERNS: Changing Age Structure and Ageing of
the Population: On 13(a) (developing and implementing plans to meet young
peoples needs), NORWAY proposed an alternative paragraph stating that governments
should meet the needs of young people, especially young women, with the active support of
parents, communities, NGOs and the private sector, with priority to programmes such as
education, income-generating opportunities, vocational training and health services. With
the US, CANADA, ISRAEL and the EU, she proposed removing reference to the rights, duties
and responsibilities of parents. The HOLY SEE noted that youth can be considered to
include those as young as ten years old and thus the reference to parents is important.
The EU suggested specifying young people as those aged 15-24. The G-77/CHINA reserved its
position, noting that it was continuing consultations on this paragraph.
International Migration: On 17ter (special attention to the needs of refugee
women and children in refugee assistance activities), NORWAY stressed the need to include
sexual and reproductive health (SRH) for refugees. She supported the G-77/CHINAs
call for refugees to respect the laws of countries of asylum and added that countries
should respect refugees human rights. The EU proposed inserting text based on POA
paragraph 10.27 urging governments to abide with international law concerning refugees.
CANADA recommended specifying the principle of non-refoulement. The EU and US said
refugees should also be protected against violence. The HOLY SEE, supported by the US,
added access to basic social services, including sanitation, clean water and nutrition.
TURKEY reiterated the need to address the needs of elderly refugees. SYRIA added that the
return and integration of refugees in their homelands should be facilitated with
assistance from relevant international organizations. PAKISTAN emphasized the need for
international support in planning and implementing refugee assistance activities.
EGYPT objected to the introduction of new proposals, stating that countries and
regional groups had already had an opportunity to present their amendments on Thursday.
NORWAY said new proposals represented an attempt to accommodate the broad views already
presented by different groups and countries. EGYPT cautioned against interrupting the
negotiations to conduct group consultations and suggested that such consultations be held
outside the room to allow the meeting to proceed. The HOLY SEE disagreed, noting that this
would delay the process further.
Chair Chowdhury distributed a compilation text containing amendments presented on
Thursday and sought delegates support for proceeding on the basis of this text and
focusing on how best to reach agreement. The G-77/CHINA said it needed to consult further
to enable negotiations to proceed, and noted that if countries from the various groups
intervened individually, greater delays would result. She said the Group would reserve its
position on the remaining paragraphs until it had completed its consultations.
Population, Development and Education: On 23(a)bis (including sex education in
school curricula), delegates supported including SRH education in school curricula at all
levels and programmes promoting the well-being of adolescents as well as enhancing
responsible sexual behavior. ISRAEL proposed specifying "youth" programmes.
GENDER EQUALITY, EQUITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN: Promotion and Protection of
Womens Human Rights: On 27 (ensuring respect and protection of the human rights of
women and girls), Chair Chowdhury identified elements for potential agreement and
highlighted the G-77/CHINA addition, which states that "in the implementation of the
goals of the POA and those of other UN conferences, measures aimed at achieving gender
equality and equity in a systematic and comprehensive manner should be coordinated and
harmonized." Regarding human rights, "including economic, social and
reproductive," delegates expressed differences over what rights should be included.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Reproductive Health, Including
Family Planning and Sexual Health: On 41bis (increased UN efforts on key SRH indicators),
Chair Chowdhury proposed a formulation that primarily used the G-77/CHINAs
formulation, including elements related to: the UN system and key indicators;
identification of UN bodies involved; the priority and prominence of maternal mortality
and morbidity; and capacity building. UNFPA Executive Director Nafis Sadik highlighted
DESAs work on indicators and suggested its inclusion in the list of UN bodies
Ensuring Voluntary Quality Family Planning Services: On 43(a) (allocating
sufficient resources to provide access to information, counseling services and follow-up
on family planning services), Chair Chowdhury noted general agreement on some of the terms
proposed, such as "medically safe." The EU and US expressed reservations about
reference to allocating resources for effective family planning and contraceptive methods
"which are not against the law." NORWAY, supported by MEXICO, suggested
including "female condoms, emergency contraception and underutilized methods, such as
vasectomy and male condoms, within the framework of national legislation." CANADA
urged inclusion of women-controlled methods. SLOVAKIA, the HOLY SEE, LIBYA and SUDAN were
opposed to including emergency contraception. EGYPT recalled WHOs statement that
emergency contraception was not an abortifacient.
Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity: On 45(e) (health impacts of unsafe
abortion), MOROCCO supported the G-77/CHINAs proposal to replace this paragraph with
POA paragraph 8.25, which states that abortion should not be promoted as a means of family
planning, prevention of unwanted pregnancies should be prioritized and every attempt made
to eliminate the need for abortion, and paragraph 7.24, which calls on governments to take
appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion. He stressed the need to adhere to POA
On 46ter (WHOs leadership role in assisting countries to establish standards for
care), delegates supported adding the G-77/CHINAs proposal that WHO "in
cooperation with other relevant UN bodies" be urged to fulfill this role, "in
particular in developing countries." CANADA proposed that countries be assisted in
establishing standards for care "and treatment" that women "and girls are
entitled to." The US and NORWAY did not wish to limit standards to women and girls.
CANADAs proposal to specify standards "that incorporate gender perspectives and
promote gender equality to health care and delivery" was supported by the US but not
the EU. The US supported the G-77/CHINAs addition of "taking into consideration
the level of development and economic and social conditions of countries," provided
that the text was amended to clarify that this addition refers to "identification
of" functions that health facilities should perform to help guide development of
health systems to reduce risks associated with pregnancy. The HOLY SEE said WHO cannot
define services related to maternal health that health facilities should perform.
On 52(a) (providing specific and user-friendly reproductive and sexual services for
adolescents), NORWAY emphasized that such services should include strategies for
prevention of reproductive ill-health. Several delegates supported the EUs
suggestion of "health promotion strategies." The HOLY SEE, supported by
ARGENTINA, stressed the need to balance mention of adolescents rights to privacy,
confidentiality and informed consent with recognition of the prior rights of parents by
including relevant language from POA paragraph 7.45. The EU noted that paragraph 7.45 was
already referenced in the chapeau. MEXICO reiterated that the paragraph is not referring
to confidentiality in the family but in medical services, and adolescents are entitled to
confidential relationships with medical professionals. NORWAY, the EU and CANADA said a
reference to respecting adolescents cultural values and religious beliefs addresses
the HOLY SEEs concern.
The HOLY SEE noted its proposal to merge 52(f) (removal of barriers to SRH information
and services) with 52(e) (adolescents making informed choices about SRH) and, with
NICARAGUA, expressed concern with proposals to delete references to the rights, duties and
responsibilities of parents. He emphasized that the text should address the issue of
sexual abuse. Chair Chowdhury suggested compromise language incorporating proposals from
delegates stating that "countries must ensure that the programmes and attitudes of
teachers, parents, health care and other service providers should enable the access of
young people to appropriate services and information, including for the prevention and
treatment of STDs, HIV/AIDS and sexual violence and abuse. In this context, countries
should, in the context of paragraph 52(e), where appropriate, remove legal, regulatory and
social barriers to reproductive health information and care for adolescents."
On 53 (resource allocation for promoting and protecting adolescent health, including
SRH), NIGER supported the G-77/CHINAs proposal to delete the paragraph. The EU noted
that it had not been able to prepare a negotiated position on this and subsequent
bracketed paragraphs and said that, like the G-77/CHINA, it would be unable to take a
position until it consulted with its members. Several delegates suggested adjourning the
meeting early to allow the various groups to consolidate their respective positions. The
EU, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, suggested that, when consultations resume, the PrepCom
split into smaller groups in order to hasten progress. Chair Chowdhury closed the meeting
to allow the G-77/CHINA and the EU to negotiate within their groups.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The mood of cautious optimism lingering after the PrepComs first day of
negotiations swung gradually to one of concern Friday as negotiations ground to an early
halt rather than proceeding in a night session as planned. This was largely due to
substantive as well as basic procedural divisions within the G-77/China that rendered it
unable to negotiate without further consultations within its own membership. Some
observers felt that Fridays negotiations, where delegates commented on one
anothers proposed amendments, had helped move delegates closer to compromise
language. However, with the absence of consolidated G-77/China positions and therefore the
PrepComs inability to reach agreement on any of the bracketed text, others felt it
had been a futile exercise. They expressed concern that the lost time and the likelihood
that all too familiar differences, both within the G-77/China and in the larger PrepCom
negotiations, would derail negotiations in the remaining two days of the PrepCom and
prevent it from completing its work.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: The PrepCom will convene at 10:00 am in Conference
Room 2 to continue negotiations on proposals for key actions for further POA
implementation. It is expected that delegates will meet in morning, afternoon and night