UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
NGO INTEREST MOUNTING Nearly 200 NGO representatives met recently in New York to attend a meeting of the NGO Planning Committee for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994. It was the Committee s largest gathering to date. Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Secretary-General of the Conference, gave the keynote address. Dr. Sadik emphasized the ICPD Secretariat's full commitment to NGO participation in the Conference, and said that UNFPA had been a pioneer in working with NGOs to implement population programmes. Dr. Sadik said that she fully supported the kind of UN/NGO partnership envisioned in Agenda 21. She noted that NGOs had been active at each of the expert group meetings and regional conferences that had been held to date. NGOs need to coordinate their efforts to have maximum impact on the ICPD, Dr. Sadik said, adding that the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/176 in December 1992 had "paved the way for full NGO participation". She hoped financial assistance could be found to enable developing country NGOs to participate in the regional conferences and in the Cairo Conference. Dr. Sadik will urge Governments to include NGO representatives in their delegations and to pay close attention to gender balance. Efforts are also being made, Dr. Sadik said, to increase the flow of information to NGOs through more frequent issues and different language editions of the Conference newsletter, and through the utilization of electronic information services. NGO Activities Planned The NGO Planning Committee will advise on two types of NGO activities related to the Conference. The first consists of participation in the regional conferences and in the Preparatory Committee sessions. The second consists of developing parallel structures wherein NGOs can discuss issues among themselves. At the 1994 Conference in Cairo, NGO activities will be of two types one which relates to the official proceedings, and which will require accreditation to the Conference, and the other which relates solely to NGO activities and which will not require accreditation. During the meeting, Planning Committee members passed a resolution urging ECOSOC to adopt a simplified procedure for broad NGO participation in the ICPD process. The resolution also urged fullest possible access to Conference documentation. In the near future, ICPD-related documents will be available on ECONET, an electronic mail network. The ICPD Secretariat will also do its best to provide documents to NGOs and others. With regard to the regional population conference, NGOs interested in attending should contact the appropriate Regional Economic Commissions of the United Nations to request an invitation. A Steering Committee within the NGO Planning Committee is currently being formed. The Steering Committee will be responsible for 1) logistics planning for NGO Forum activities; 2) negotiating with the ICPD Secretariat and host country to facilitate NGO participation; and 3) coordinating a communications programme for NGOs to stimulate interest in the purposes of the 1994 Conference and to provide specific details on participation. For more information, please contact: The NGO Planning Committee for the Internatlonal Conference on Population and Development, 1994 c/o Population Communications International 777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 7C New York, NY 10017 USA. Tel. (212) 687-3366; Fax (212) 661-4188.