Since the United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 three world conferences on population have been held. The first conference, Bucharest World Population Conference, dates back to 1974. Ten years later Mexico City hosted the second International Conference on Population. The last world conference, the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, was held 1994. Two other conferences on population have been convened. The first one in 1954 in Rome. The second one in Belgrade in 1965. In 1999 a Special Session of the General Assembly on Population was held in New York.
The International Conference on Population and Development
” 1994 „The International Conference on Population and Development was convened in Cairo, Egypt, from 5 to 13 September 1994. It was attended by 179 governmental delegations from UN Member States, 7 observers at governmental level, the European Union and several hundred NGOs. Several thousand media representatives covered the Conference.
The Conference adopted the Programme of Action, which emphasized the fundamental role of women’s interests in population matters and introduced the concepts of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. A new definition of population policy was advanced, giving prominence to reproductive health and the empowerment of women.
Building up towards the Cairo Conference
” 1991 -
1994 „The Preparatory Committee met three times. At its first session (4-8 March 1991) the Committee set the objectives of the meeting and defined the issues to be discussed; agreed to take account of the outcomes of recent United Nations global conferences; and considered the assignment or responsibilities to United Nations bodies, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. At its second Session (1-21 May 1993), in which observers from 185 NGOs were present, the Preparatory Committee agreed to establish a new programme of action to replace the WPPA and the Mexico recommendations to guide action on population in the next 20 years and directed the Secretariat to hold a substantive debate on the concept and structure of the proposed Recommendations of the Conference. At its third session (4-22 April 1994) the Preparatory Committee discussed the 'Draft Final Document: Programme of Action of the Conference' prepared by the Secretariat.
” 1992 -
1994 „The regional commissions, in cooperation with UNFPA and regional non-UN organizations, convened regional intergovernmental conferences to review the regional experiences and perspectives.
The Population Division convened, in consultation with UNFPA, six expert group meetings on population, environment and development (New York, 20-24 January 1992); population policies and programmes (Cairo, 12-16 April 1992); population and women (Gaborone, 22-26 June 1992); family planning, health and family wellbeing (Bangalore, 26-29 October 1992); population growth and demographic structure (Paris, 16-20 November [:1992); population distribution and migration (Santa Cruz, 18-23 January 1993).
” 1992 „The resolution A/RES/41/176, adopted on 22 December 1992, states that the Cairo Conference will be held at ministerial level.
Following the adoption of the UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali appointed the Executive Director of UNFPA, Nafis Sadik, as the Secretary General of the Conference, and the Director of the Population Division as the Deputy Secretary-General.
” 1991 „ECOSOC changed the name of the meeting to the International Conference on Population and Development
ECOSOC Resolution 1991/93 of 26 July 1991
” 1989 „ECOSOC, on the recommendation of the 25th session of the Population Commission (1989), decided to convene an International Meeting on Population in 1994 and designated the Population Commission, meeting in open-ended session, as the Preparatory Committee.
ECOSOC Resolution 1989/91
” 1987 „The Population Commission decided to hold a discussion at its 1989 session on the possibility of convening another intergovernmental conference on population.
International Conference on Population
” 1984 „Mexico City hosted the second International Conference on Population between 6 – 14 August 1984. It was attended by representatives of 147 Member States (the UN had 157 Member States). At the time 123 countries promoted family planning.
The Conference adopted the Recommendations for the Further Implementation of the WPPA. Several key Member States had changed positions compared to those they had in 1974. The United States now considered population a neutral phenomenon for development. Many developing countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan expressed their firm support for family planning and population programmes. Many developed countries, including Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom stated their willingness to increase their support for population programmes. The United States stated its policy of not funding any programmes facilitating abortion.
Building up towards the Mexico City Conference
” 1981 -
1982 „Second intergovernmental conference on population, organized in accordance with ECOSOC resolutions 1981/87 of 25 November 1981, General Assembly Resolution 38/148 of 19 December 1983 and ECOSOC resolution of 1982/42.
The Secretary-General appointed Mr. Rafael Salas, UNFPA Executive Director, as the Secretary-General of the Conference in January 1982 and the Director of the Population Division, as the Deputy Secretary-General . The responsibility for the substantive preparations of the Conference was entrusted to the Population Division.
The regional commissions organized regional conferences to review and appraise the implementation of the WPPA . The Population Division organized four expert group meetings: on fertility and family (New Delhi, 5-11 January 1983); population distribution, migration and development (Hammamet, 21-25 March 1983); population, resources, environment and development (Geneva, 25-29 April 1983); and mortality and health policy (Rome, 30 May – 3 June 1983).
NGOs convened a large-scale preparatory meeting in Geneva from 13 to 15 September 1983.
Two sessions of the Preparatory Committee (New York, 23-27 January and 12-16 March 1984), considered the review and appraisal of the implementation of the WPPA and the draft recommendations for further implementation of the WPPA.
” 1981 „ECOSOC resolution 1981/87 of 25 November 1981
In November 1981, ECOSOC reviewed the proposal put forward by the Population Commission. Developing countries were in favour of another conference. Developed countries were not so keen. Eastern European countries did not want the Bucharest consensus changed. To satisfy them and many others, it was agreed early on that the proposed conference would take the WPPA as the guiding document and would only seek to formulate recommendations for the further implementation of the WPPA.
” 1979 „ECOSOC asked the Population Commission, in consultation with appropriate UN bodies, to consider the possibility of holding an international conference to review developments in the first decade following the World Population Conference.
The World Population Conference
” 1974 „The World Population Conference was hold in Bucharest, Romania, from 19 to 30 August 1974. Representatives of 136 Member States attended (more than 1400 persons). The draft of the World Population Plan of Action, prepared by the Population Division with the assistance of an advisory committee of experts, had been reviewed by the Population Commission and discussed at the five regional meetings. The draft was amended by the working group and adopted by the plenary.
At the time the UN had 138 Member States. Family planning was being promoted by 59 countries.
The World Population Plan of Action had four parts:
- principles and objectives;
- recommendations for action, and
- recommendations for implementation.
Negotiations tended to make aspects of population policies weaker and aspects of social and economic development stronger. The Conference became polarized between the 'incrementalist' position of a group of Western States (including US, UK, Germany) that believed that rapid population growth was a serious impediment to development, and the 'redistribution' position, followed by a group of developing countries led by Argentina and Algeria that believed that the population problem was a consequence and not a cause of underdevelopment and that it could be solved by a new international economic order focusing on the redistribution of resources.
Building up towards the Bucharest Conference
” 1972 -
1974 „The United Nations regional commissions organized five regional consultations.
The Population Division convened four technical symposia on population and development; population and the environment; population and the family; and population and human rights.
The Population Commission met three times as the Preparatory Committee: in August 1972, March 1973 and March 1974.
” 1972 „ECOSOC Resolution 1672 (LIV) of 2 June 1972 established responsibility for the World Population Year and the World Population Conference.
Designated the Executive Director of UNFPA as having responsibility for the preparations for the World Population Year.
Decided to appoint a Secretary-General for the World Population Conference and to establish a Secretariat for the Conference within the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Antonio Carrillo-Flores, former Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Mexico, was appointed as SG for the Conference and the Director of the Population Division was his Deputy.
The Population Commission was designated as the intergovernmental preparatory body for the World Population Conference and the World Population Year.
” 1970 „GA Resolution 2683 (XXV) of 1 December 1970 and ECOSOC Resolutions 1484 (XLVIII) and 1485 (XLVIII) of 3 April 1970.
The General Assembly, on the recommendation of ECOSOC, designated 1974 as World Population Year and called for an intergovernmental World Population Conference to be held the same year.