UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
THE OUTCOME OF PREPCOM 11: Putting Population at the Centre of the Development Debate Population must be at the centre of action on economic, social and environmental issues - this was the overriding message conveyed by participants at the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the International Conference on Population and Development, held at U.N. headquarters in New York, 10-21 May 1993. It will no longer be acceptable to treat population issues as an optional extra in the overall development debate. With this message, PrepCom 11 provided clear guidance for the Secretariat to begin drafting the first version of the final document, which will be adopted at the 1994 Conference. A new plan of action: the "Cairo Document" Delegates at PrepCom 11 agreed on a set of population and development issues to be discussed at Cairo as well as on the inter-relationships among them. 0f particular importance was the widespread agreement on the draft structure of the final document of the International Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo 5-13 September 1994. (See draft structure of the Cairo Document on page 2). We have made an excellent beginning in framing what will be a historic document in this most important area of human development", said ICPD Secretary-General, Dr. Nafis Sadik, at the closing of the second session of the ICPD Preparatory Committee - PrepCom 11. The Secretary-General won overwhelming support for her proposal that the Conference adopt a new, free-standing document, which would include action-oriented recommendations that are realistic and operational, in order to effectively address population and development challenges of the next decades. There was broad consensus on the inclusion of many issues that will be negotiated in the final document, such as the interrelationship among population, environment, sustained growth and economic development; the empowerment of women; population aging; the emerging partnership between governments, NGOs and the private sector, as well as a number of other issues. I Please refer to the Chairman's Summary on the Conceptual Framework - document E/CONF.84/PC/L.9 - which highlights the views expressed at PrepCom 11 on these and other important issues. However, as Dr Sadik recognized, certain issues will need to be discussed at greater length in the coming months. The issues she identified as demanding particular attention were the elimination of unsafe abortions; reproductive health; international migration and international assistance. Secretariat gets clear instructions Dr. Sadik said she and her staff now have clear guidance to begin drafting the first version of the Cairo Document. Participants at PrepCom 11 asked the Secretariat to include, in the preambular section of the document, an overview of levels, trends and prospects of the world's population, using a set of demographic and social indicators, based on a 20-year time span. These would be articulated in the context of economic growth and the sustainability of the environment, and would duly reflect the central theme of the 1994 Conference: "Population, Sustained Economic Growth and Sustainable Development". Agreement to work on 20-year goals Dr. Sadik also received widespread support for her proposal to include in the Cairo Document a set of realistic, quantifiable goals for 2015 "Setting goals for the international community is not an attempt to impose a rigid formula", said Dr. Sadik, "but rather a way to address the basic components of an acceptable quality of life for all members of our global family". The participants asked the Secretariat to examine the possibility of including some qualitative goals as well. Section on Principles The participants also suggested that the document include a set of principles which will cover the main issues to be discussed at the conference and provide the ground for action. These principles will be drawn, as much as possible, from other major international instruments, particularly the World Population Plan of Action and the Recommendations for its Further Implementation, the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 and the Amsterdam Declaration. Fifteen Chapters for Action Recommendations The main body of the document will be divided into fifteen chapters, many of which will contain a variety of sub-sections This is the section which is expected to contain the relevant recommendations for action and how they are to be implemented. In drafting the document, the Secretariat will be drawing on the views expressed at PrepCom 11, as well as those which will be elaborated at the 48th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 48) next fall. To ensure that delegates are well informed on preparations for Cairo, the Secretariat was asked to provide an annotated outline of the draft document, as an annex to the secretary-general's report to UNCA 48, to be considered under the item "International Conference on Population and Development" . The full version of the draft document will be ready by February 1994 and made available in all official U.N. Languages. This will give ample time for delegations to consider the draft document before it is presented for in-depth negotiation at the third PrepCom, to be held 11 -22 April 1994. More political support for ICPD To give more political weight to the ICPD process, the Group of 77 submitted a draft resolution which was adopted in a revised version by the Preparatory Committee, calling for the ICPD Preparatory Committee, established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to become a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. This resolution states that the General Assembly, which is comprised of all 183 members of the United Nations, "is the highest intergovernmental mechanism for the formulation and appraisal of policy on matters relating to economic, social and related fields". This proposal will be taken up at the next substantive session of ECOSOC to be held in Geneva, 28 June-30 July 1993; ECOSOC may then ask the General Assembly to take the necessary action. The resolution also asked that ECOSOC make the appropriate arrangements to ensure adequate preparations for the Preparatory Committee and the conference and invited all countries in ¥ a position to do so" to contribute to trust funds established to assist developing countries to participate fully and effectively in the conference and its preparatory process. When the General Assembly convenes its 48th session, it will have in hand the report of the second PrepCom, as well as a progress report on the conference, including an annotated outline of the first draft of the final document. The PrepCom resolution also emphasized the important role of the media, and requested the U.N. SecretaryGeneral to promote the objectives and activities of the conference. Extraordinary level of commitment by Governments and NGOS Dr. Sadik praised the "extraordinary" level of commitment demonstrated at PrepCom 11 by almost the entire international community. Over 150 countries participated in this session, as well as a substantial number of NGOs and intergovernmental organizations. In addition to the 69 NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status, 332 non-consultative status NGOs were officially accredited to the ICPD and its preparatory process, raising the total to 401. While not all 401 organizations which received accreditation attended PrepCom 11, more than 400 representatives from 211 NGOs participated in the two-week meeting Further NGO accreditation will take place at PrepCom 111 Other key decisions at PrepCom 11 PrepCom 11 granted observer status to the associate members of the regional commissions to participate in the conference and its preparatory process. This will involve sixteen associate members, 10 from the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and 6 from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Consideration of the conference's "Rules of Procedure" was postponed to PrepCom 111, in part to ensure that ICPD rules conform with a possible change of status from ECOSOC to the General Assembly PrepCom 11 concluded its work with the adoption of the agenda for PrepCom 111, with the clear understanding that most of PrepCom 111 will be devoted to the negotiation of the final document.