UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
************************************************************************ This document has been prepared by the Secretariat of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. For further information please contact the United Nations Population Fund, Task Force on ICPD Implementation, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 USA, or send E-mail to: email@example.com ************************************************************************* Report of the First Meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action 13 December 1994, New York I. Introduction and Purpose of the Meeting 1. Paragraph 16.29 of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), that was adopted by consensus in Cairo, Egypt, on 13 September 1994, invites all specialized agencies and related organizations of the United Nations system to strengthen and adjust their activities, programmes and medium-term strategies, as appropriate, to take into account the follow-up to the Conference. In addition, paragraph 10 of General Assembly resolution 49/128, "Report of the International Conference on Population and Development", calls upon the organs and organizations of the United Nations system and the specialized agencies to undertake the actions required to give full and effective support to the implementation of the Programme of Action. 2. At the request of the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Nafis Sadik, in her capacity as Secretary- General of the ICPD, convened and chaired the first meeting of an Inter- Agency Task Force to develop a coordinated approach for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. 3. The meeting was convened on 13 December 1994 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Twenty-five participants, representing twelve UN Agencies and organizations, attended the meeting. The agenda and the list of participants appear as an annex. II. Summary of Opening Remarks 4. Dr. Sadik opened the first meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action by stating that she had been requested by the Administrator of UNDP, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the UN, to convene an Inter- Agency Task Force aimed at assisting in the development of a coordinated approach for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. She referred to the importance the Secretary-General attaches to a common framework emerging from all the various UN Conferences, as elaborated in his Agenda for Development. Dr. Sadik explained the purpose of this meeting, i.e., to agree on a common framework for follow-up to ICPD and other conferences in the social sector, past and future, in order to assist countries in the implementation, and to agree on a common system for monitoring. The focus of the Inter-Agency Task Force is on country-level cooperation. 5. According to Dr. Sadik, such a common framework should be designed so as to reduce the burden on countries with regard to implementation and be based on the UN Resident Coordinator system. She stressed the need for coordination among UN agencies and organizations, particularly at the country level. Paragraph 16.29 of the ICPD Programme of Action and the General Assembly Resolution on ICPD requested all UN agencies and organizations to cooperate and coordinate in the follow-up on ICPD and to adjust their programmes to make them in line with the ICPD Programme of Action. 6. In order to do so, all UN agencies involved in the follow-up to Cairo should first of all use one set of country data. Where such data was absent, unreliable or not timely available, UN agencies should collaborate to establish a system of collecting data for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Dr. Sadik suggested to develop a set of guidelines for the UN Resident Coordinator that would give him/her guidance in coordinating the follow-up at the country level. She urged all participants not to miss this opportunity for inter-agency cooperation and to maintain the momentum of inter-agency collaboration that prevailed throughout the Cairo process. 7. The Administrator of UNDP, Mr. Speth, reiterated the great importance the Secretary- General of the UN attaches to the follow- up on the Cairo Conference. He hoped that this task force would become a model for future cooperation among UN agencies. There was a need for the UN to exert leadership in the follow-up to all major UN conferences. Mr. Speth called upon the agencies to forge a unified agenda, based on common priorities. The strength of the UN is its ability to identify problems, to come up with solutions and to assist countries in the implementation of its proposed actions. UNDP looked forward to continued cooperation among the agencies in the follow-up to Cairo. 8. Mr. Desai of UN-PCSD asked what lessons to be learned from UNCED and observed that it was important to learn from the UNCED follow-up process and urged participants to focus on what needed to be done before the next session of ECOSOC, in accordance with draft resolution L.67 on ICPD. He noted that UNCED proved that the implementation of the outcomes of UN conferences are limited if there is no momentum or commitment at the national level. The question is how to maintain the momentum at the national level. The same goes for the role of NGOs, how to maintain the role and commitment of NGOs in the follow-up. UNCED made clear that there should be a link between the UN policy process and the financing process, otherwise the implementation will be severely hampered. He urged the Task Force to discuss how the preparation for ECOSOC related to the ICPD resolution will be undertaken. 9. Mr. Milleron of UN-DESIPA welcomed the outcome of the ICPD and assured the participants that his department will continue to play an active role in technical assistance, given their experience and network at the national level in the area of data collection and analysis. In particular, Mr. Milleron also referred to the changing role of the Population Commission. 10. All organizations participating in the meeting promised support for the inter-agency follow-up to Cairo and to become an active participant in the cooperation. Several participants underscored that it was important that all UN agencies make sure that the goals of the ICPD would be reinforced in future conferences, notably the Social Summit and the Women's Conference. The representative of UN-PCSD informed the group that the goals of ICPD and other UN Conferences are being incorporated in the draft Programme of Action of the World Summit on Social Development. 11. Several participants welcomed the holistic, integrated and forward-looking approach of the ICPD Programme of Action. UNICEF informed the Task Force that it is preparing a health strategy paper which will reflect the ICPD Programme of Action and that the UNICEF Executive Board has asked for a paper on UNICEF's role in the follow-up to ICPD. Since so much emphasis was put on monitoring, he suggested all UN agencies should collaborate in finding ways to generate data in a more speedy manner. He also referred to the need for UNFPA to revise the Population Assistance Report in order to reflect financial contributions in accordance with the Programme of Action. Dr. Sadik supported the first suggestion, and noted that there is a need to find a balance between timely data and its reliability. With regard to the second suggestion, she agreed, in principle, noting that we need to define what should be classified as "population" activities. She urged some cautiousness in this regard, noting that not everything should be categorized as population. 12. Several participants explained the initiatives being undertaken by their respective organizations to integrate the ICPD recommendations into their programmes. One participant called upon the UN agencies to reinforce the role of the CCPOQ in the follow-up of the ICPD. 13. A number of participants stressed the importance of national ownership in terms of reporting, noting that coordination at the national level will depend on the individual country situation. It will be critical for the UN system to make sure that population issues are being integrated into the broader national development plans and the central role for the UNDP Resident Coordinator in this respect was affirmed by several participants. The importance of concerted advocacy efforts by the UN system with respect to the Cairo follow-up was stressed. III. Summary of the Discussion on the Background Note Agenda item 2: Technical assistance modalities 14. It was decided that (a) the Task Force should focus on country-level cooperation; and (b) to add a fourth category for cooperation, namely situation analysis/diagnostic assessment of country capacity and the exchange and dissemination of information both in terms of what UN agencies are doing at the country level and to exchange country experiences. The latter implies the exchange of information both within and across countries. South- South cooperation had, inter alia, proven to be very useful in this regard. For the moment, the situation analysis and information dissemination should focus on the social sectors, such as health and education, and not on issues such as poverty, employment, etc., pending the outcome of the World Summit on Social Development. 15. Acknowledging the usefulness of the Background Note, it was agreed that it should be revised to reflect some of the points raised at the meeting. In commenting on the Background Note, a number of participants suggested some changes. WHO would like to see its role be inserted in the section on female genital mutilation in the background note. WHO provides both normative and technical support to countries and other UN agencies. FAO would like to see its role in issues such as the empowerment of women, migration, and the environment being reflected in a revised background note on inter-agency cooperation. Some participants suggested that more emphasis be put in the Background Note on the need for developed countries to report on their progress in implementing the outcomes of UN conferences. In addition, it was suggested to develop a modality to assess the national capability to implement the results of UN Conferences. 16. The participants agreed on the need for a unified advocacy strategy on certain goals/topics, independently from whether these goals or topics are within the areas of each own programme. It was deemed essential not to focus narrowly on each agency's or organization's own agenda, but rather agree on a broader agenda. This would provide coherence to the UN system in terms of advocacy. All agreed on the need for a clear framework of advocacy messages. Agenda item 3: Specific areas of support 17. The need to define a common set of goals emanating from the Agenda for Development and the various international conferences was discussed. The title of the first topic population policy development will be changed in population policy and sustainable development policies, in order to more reflect the purpose of this point, namely the integration of population policy development into the overall development plans. Policy development was understood to include policy dialogue with governments at macro level and population policy included a number of issues, not only family planning. It was agreed that UNFPA, UNDP and the World Bank have important roles to play in this area, particularly in ensuring that population issues are addressed when economic policies are discussed. 18. Regarding basic health improvement, it was noted that there are areas such as nutrition and food production and women's empowerment which are part of a broader holistic approach to health. Based on the suggestion of the chairman, it was agreed to start the working group on data systems, with the goal to develop a common data system at country level, based on an agreement on methodology on data. WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA could focus on this. In addition, the Resident Coordinator could be requested to start addressing this issue immediately at country level. Suggestions were also made to add issues related to adolescent health. 19. With regard to reproductive health care, it was noted that HIV/AIDS should be listed in this section. 20. Concerning basic education, it was observed that if specific areas of education are included, the number of actors will increase tremendously in terms of those who play a role in either advocacy, technical assistance, or direct funding. It was suggested to focus on the question of how to eliminate gender disparities. National statistical systems are critical for work in this area. It was agreed that, to start with, the working group on this topic should focus on gender disparities in education, and issues related to data may be part of the discussion. 21. With regard to the empowerment of women, ILO noted it had a role here, since issues related to time budgets/time use were important and there was need for more information on this. UNESCO observed that there was need to address the specific training needs of women, and protection of women's legal and other rights. Other suggestions included to examine employment conditions/practices, gender specific statistics and data needs. It was agreed to expand the fifth topic, empowerment of women, to include the following five issues: Income generation, education and training; the legal, economic and social rights of women; employment conditions; harmful practices; and, data collection and analysis. 22. Issues related to difficulties with indicators and measurement in the area of environment, and the need for a common set of indicators in this field, were discussed. The roles of UNEP and HABITAT were referred to. Several participants also noted the importance of migration issues. Further discussions on the environment and migration will be postponed pending discussions in the Social Summit and the preparation of a report to ECOSOC on a UN conference on migration. The chairperson observed that the discussion on migration issues in the Task Force might contribute to the discussion on a UN conference on migration. 23. The chairperson raised the question whether or not a new item should be included, namely emergency support. In that case the issue of the countries with economies in transition could be included in the discussion. Agenda item 4: Inter-agency coordination 24. It was decided that the Task Force could also address issues related to collective resource mobilization for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, taking note, however, that a separate Task Force on resource mobilization has been established, and will be chaired by Dr. Sadik in her capacity as Secretary- General of the ICPD. In the section on inter-agency cooperation in the background paper, it was agreed to add the issue of collective resource mobilization. IV. Decisions 25. In closing the meeting, the Chairman summarized the principal points of the morning's discussion and enumerated the decisions taken. 26. Four working groups will be established: (1) Working group to discuss a common data system at the national level in the field of health, notably in the areas of infant, child and maternal mortality; (2) Working group on basic education, with special attention to gender disparities; (3) Working group on policy-related issues, including the drafting of a common advocacy statement on social issues; (4) Working group on women's empowerment. 27. UNFPA, in consultation with its UN partners, will organize meetings of the working groups as soon as possible. In the meantime, it was agreed that all of the relevant agencies, organizations and programmes of the UN system should begin to work on the issues for ICPD follow-up discussed at the Task Force meeting, in the context of their respective mandates. The need for each organization to give attention to follow-up at the field level was emphasized. 28. The Background Note on Inter-agency Cooperation on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action will be a revised, taking into account the comments and suggestions made during the meeting. 29. It was decided that the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, Habitat, UNEP and UNIFEM will also be invited to join the Inter-agency Task Force. 30. The chairman suggested that areas for further research should be identified and ways explored for collective funding of studies. In addition, she added that other important concerns, such as human rights, which, while not specifically addressed in this Task Force, should certainly play an important role in the work of the Task Force. 31. All participants agreed that it was important to move quickly ahead with the discussion on inter-agency cooperation and collaboration in follow-up to ICPD, both at Headquarters and field level, in order to utilize the momentum of the Cairo Conference. ================================================================== ANNEX LIST OF PARTICIPANTS United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Mr. James Gustave Speth Administrator - Ms. Sarah Timpson Deputy Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of Programme Policy and Evaluation United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - Mr. Paul Altesman Director, UN Affairs and Special Assistant to the Executive Director - Mr. Kul Gautam Director, Programme Division - Dr. France Donnay Senior Adviser, Women's Health World Health Organization (WHO) - Dr. Tomris Turme Director, Division of Family Health United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Mr. Gustavo Lopez Ospina Director of the Interdisciplinary and Inter-Agency Co-operation project: Environment and Population Education and Information for Human Development (EPD) - Ms. Serim Timur Interdisciplinary and Inter-Agency Co-operation project: Environment and Population Education and Information for Human Development (EPD) International Labour Organisation (ILO) - Mr. Aziz Director, a.i. ILO Liaison Office, New York - Mr. E.K. Andoh Coordinator of Population Activities Development and Technical Cooperation Department, Geneva The World Bank (WB) - Mr. David de Ferranti Director of the Population, Health and Nutrition Department - Mr. Carlston Boucher Special Representative to the UN United Nations, Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (PCSD) - Mr. Nitin Desai Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development - Mr. Jean-Claude Faby Chief, Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development United Nations, Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis (DESIPA) - Mr. Jean-Claude Milleron Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis - Mr. Joseph Chamie Director, Population Division - Mr. Herman Habermann Director, Statistical Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - Mr. Jacques du Guerny Population Programme Co-ordinator United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - Dr. Nafis Sadik Executive Director - Mr. Joseph van Arendonk Deputy Executive Director (Programme) - Mr. Jyoti Shankar Singh Director, Technical and Evaluation Division - Ms. Mari Simonen Chief, Office of the Executive Director - Mr. S.L.N. Rao Chief, Governing Council, UN Liaison and External Relations Branch, and Deputy Director, Information and External Relations Division - Ms. Catherine S. Pierce Chief, Women, Population and Development Branch, Technical and Evaluation Division - Mr. Arthur Erken Associate Research Adviser, ICPD Secretariat ================================================================= First Meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action Tuesday, 13 December 1994 United Nations Headquarters Conference Room 9 10:00 - 13:00 hours Agenda 1. Goals of the ICPD in relation to other UN Conferences. 2. Technical assistance modalities. 3. Specific areas of support. 4. Inter-agency coordination.