Economic and Social Council

26 February 1998

Commission on Population and Development
Thirty-first session
23-27 February 1998
Agenda item 3 (a)


Draft decision submitted by the Vice-Chairman of the
Commission, Mr. Robert Louis Cliquet (Belgium), on
the basis of informal consultations

Health and mortality

The Commission on Population and Development,

Recalling the health-related recommendations of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development,

Reaffirming the commitment of member States to the implementation of those recommendations and, in particular, to the objective of reducing disparities among and within countries in health, morbidity and mortality,

Expressing concern that global challenges, including emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, pose significant new threats to the gains achieved thus far in infant, child, and maternal mortality and to countries' efforts to improve reproductive health, child health, and adolescent health,

Expressing concern also that many developing countries face constraints with regard to, inter alia, financial and human resources which hinder their capacities to ensure better health conditions and life expectancy for their populations and to monitor health and mortality trends,

Expressing concern also that life expectancy has decreased, male mortality has increased, and a number of other health and vital indicators have worsened in countries with economies in transition as well as in some developing countries, such that many countries (71, as projected by the United Nations) are not expected to meet their life expectancy goals by the year 2005, and about 44 per cent of the developing countries are not expected to meet their goals for infant and under-five mortality by the year 2000,

Recognizing that progress in implementing the health-related recommendations and achieving significant health gains depends on preventing disease, promoting healthy lifestyles, and improving health systems,

1. Calls on the relevant bodies of the United Nations system to work in close coordination with each other, and with other international organizations and non-governmental organizations, in cooperation with Governments, in strengthening national capacities to collect, analyse, and utilize health and mortality data at both national and local levels, in the priority areas of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, including infant, child, adolescent, and maternal health and mortality; sexual and reproductive health, with special attention to family planning, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS; violence against women and children and female genital mutilation and other harmful practices; and in the areas of infectious disease, substance abuse, and measurement of adult mortality and morbidity;

2. Requests the Population Division and United Nations Population Fund to explore ways and means - such as the establishment of an internationally accessible electronic database - to facilitate the exchange of information among all relevant actors on various levels concerning best practices and lessons learned in the inplementation of the Programme of Action;

3. Welcomes the encouraging evidence of actions being undertaken by Governments, international organizations, and the non-governmental sector in response to the challenges of the Programme of Action related to health and mortality, and stresses the need for strengthening such actions, in particular in the least developed countries;

4. Calls for assistance to developing countries to strengthen their national health services, including, inter alia, transfer of technology for building their capacity to produce basic and essential drugs;

5. Calls upon Governments, in particular donor Governments, to support, with the assistance of international and non-governmental organizations, efforts to determine the causes of the stagnation or increase of mortality among the adult population of countries with economies in transition, as well as in some developing countries, and to act upon that knowledge to shape public health interventions and other appropriate measures to combat such detrimental trends;

6. Urges Governments to consider undertaking information, education and communication campaigns that raise awareness about widespread health risks, and emphasize behavioural changes that have proven to be effective in reducing those risks, especially in relation to the spread of HIV infection, maternal mortality, infant mortality, the prevention of the detrimental health effects of smoking, promotion of a healthy diet and the abatement of deaths and injuries due to accidents, as well as positive effects of reproductive health interventions;

7. Calls upon Governments to renew and reaffirm their commitment to the objective of reducing disparities in health and mortality, among countries and within countries, particularly those disparities related to socio-economic differentials, and to give special emphasis to the needs of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of society;

8. Urges Governments, assisted upon request by the international community, to strengthen their efforts to achieve the health and mortality goals set by the Programme of Action, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and local communities,