UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

96-02: ICPD News, No. 3, February 1996


A Newsletter of the UNFPA Task Force on ICPD Implementation 

FEBRUARY 1996   


Egyptian Post-ICPD Symposium, organized by the NGO Commission for

Population and Development (NCPD), 8-10 January 1996, served as the

occasion to review activities under way in Egypt and worldwide to

implement the Programme of Action. The Symposium brought together

representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government

officials, academics and journalists to assess what has taken place over

the past year and to identify priority issues for action.  

In welcoming participants, His Excellency, the Honourable Dr. Ismail

Sallam, the recently appointed Minister of Health and Population,

emphasized the importance of reproductive health care and signalled his

intention to seek the assistance of NGOs in improving the quality of

reproductive health initiatives and to increase their participation in

monitoring programme implementation.    

In her keynote address, Dr. Nafis Sadik, UNFPA Executive Director, paid

special tribute to the commitment of the Government of Egypt and NGOs as

essential to the success of the Conference. She remarked that she was

especially pleased to take part in this NGO Symposium, considering the

critical role of NGOs in bringing about a consensus at the ICPD. Dr Sadik

observed, "Together, we made history in September 1994 . . . . The ICPD

decisively changed the way countries view population and development

issues and mapped out a bold, new course of action. . . ."

The three-day meeting heard representatives of bilateral donors,

parliamentarian groups and international NGOs discuss the range of

activities being implemented worldwide as well as the local initiatives of

a broad spectrum of Egyptian NGOs.

Dr. Maher Mahran, Secretary-General of the National Population Council,

who chaired the session, called attention to the positive response of the

international donor community to the directives of the Programme of

Action and underscored the dynamic partnership evolving between

Governments and NGOs.  While in Cairo for the Symposium, Dr. Sadik took

the opportunity to visit project sites, including an NGO-run family

planning clinic and an integrated community development project

supported by UNFPA.  




The Commission on Population and Development (CPD), at its 29th session,

26 February-1 March 1996, will consider five reports dealing with

implementation of the International Conference on Population and

Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, in line with the CPD theme for

1996 _ reproductive rights and reproductive health, including population

information, education and communication (IEC).

The Report of the Secretary-General on world population monitoring,

focusing on reproductive rights and reproductive health, including

population information, education and communication summarizes recent

information on issues, trends and programmes. Highlights of its findings

include the following:

* Throughout the world, the average number of children per woman

declined from 3.6 in 1980-1985 to 3.1 in 1990-1995;

* In 1991, an estimated 53 per cent of couples in developing countries

used contraception; and

* The level of unmet need for contraception remains high. About 20-25 per

cent of couples in developing countries (excluding China) were at risk of

an unwanted or mistimed pregnancy but were not using contraceptives.

The Report also covers trends in maternal mortality and morbidity, and

reproductive rights as part of population policy, including strategies to

promote awareness of those rights.

The Report of the Secretary-General on the monitoring of population

programmes indicates that ICPD and its Programme of Action have acted

as a catalyst. Nearly two thirds of the 78 countries responding to a UNFPA

inquiry have undertaken initiatives since the ICPD to broaden traditional

family planning (FP) information and services and to include other

reproductive health (RH) elements in their programmes. The ICPD has

helped to highlight previously neglected matters, including adolescents'

special needs and perspectives; men's responsibility and role in family

life and gender equality; the quality of care in RH/FP programmes; and the

important role of civil society in the implementation of RH


The Report of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the implementation of the

Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and

Development reviews efforts to ensure system-wide collaboration in the

implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action with respect to

reproductive rights and reproductive health. Based on the responses of 12

of the 14 member organizations of the Task Force to an inquiry concerning

implementation activities, the Report indicates that the ICPD provided a

new impetus to advocacy and programming in reproductive rights and

reproductive health and population IEC, and UN agencies and organizations

are adjusting their programmes and activities in line with the Programme

of Action. All ICPD IATF member organizations are emphasizing

collaboration and coordination with other UN organizations and agencies

as well as with other development partners, particularly NGOs.

The Report also examines the critical issues to be addressed if all

countries are to make RH information and services available, through the

primary health-care system, to all individuals of appropriate ages as soon

as possible and no later than the year 2015. A multisectoral and

multidisciplinary approach is essential to meet this ICPD goal. The Report

notes that the process of identifying and meeting national needs in

reproductive health as well as other areas will be considerably

strengthened by enhanced collaboration within the United Nations system,

particularly through greater information-sharing, coordinated planning

and the harmonization of programming cycles.

The Report of the Secretary-General on activities of intergovernmental

and non-governmental organizations for the implementation of the

Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and

Development sum-marizes the responses of 38 national and international

NGOs and inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) to an inquiry about

their activities since the ICPD. The most frequently mentioned new

programmatic component was the provision of information and services to

prevent and treat reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted

diseases. NGOs are help-ing to ensure access to RH services among the

rural and urban poor as well as groups with special needs,such as


The Report of the Secretary-General on the flow of financial resources for

assisting in the implementation of the Programme of Action of the

International Conference on Population and Development indicates that

several donors, both bilateral and multilateral, have pledged to increase

their support to population programmes. In addition, several developing

countries have increased or intend to increase domestic resources for

population. Although the Report cautions against overoptimism, these

expressions of increased international commitment to the goals of the

ICPD Programme of Action are encouraging signs.

ACC Task Force Meets

The first meeting of the ACC Task Force on Basic Social Services for All

(BSSA) will be held in late February at UNFPA Headquarters. This Task

Force, with UNFPA as the initial chair, will encompass the work of the

ICPD/Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). It is one of three task forces

established by the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) to

ensure coordinated follow-up to the recent global UN conferences. The

other two are the ACC Task Force on Employment and Sustainable

Livelihoods, with the International Labour Organization (ILO) as the initial

chair; and the ACC Task Force on the Enabling Environment for People-

Centred Sustainable Development, with The World Bank as the initial


Key issues to be addressed by the BSSA Task Force include: population

(with an emphasis on reproductive health and family planning services),

basic education, primary health care, drinking water and sanitation,

shelter, and social services in post-crisis situations.

 The unifying theme of the follow-up to recent global conferences,

including the International Conference on Population and Development

(ICPD), is the provision of assistance to countries in a concerted attack on

poverty. The Task Forces will focus on supporting comprehensive and

effective national follow-up. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali

stated that "it is important to reach international agreement as we have

at these conferences, but it is even more important to implement those

agreements. We have secured the commitment of all the agencies of the

United Nations to put the full weight of the United Nations system behind

helping countries achieve the goals agreed to in these conferences."


Message from Dr. Sadik:


Over the past year, continuing progress has taken place in the

implementation of the Programme of Action of the International

Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The ICPD has been a

catalyst for action on many fronts. As articles in this issue of ICPD News

show, several countries have already adopted policies and plans of action

designed to achieve ICPD goals. Many have hosted conferences and

seminars to enhance understanding at all levels of society of the new

thinking about population issues that has emerged from the Conference. A

notable feature of the post-Conference period has been the concerted

effort of the United Nations system to intensify collaboration at the

country level. The Guidelines for the United Nations Resident Coordinator

System, issued by the ICPD Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), will greatly

facilitate such cooperation and will also promote effective interaction

among various groups engaged in the implementation of the Programme of

Action _ Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the United

Nations system and all development partners.

Inquiries conducted over the last half year reveal that a large proportion

of developing countries are already reorienting their family planning

programmes to correspond with the broader vision of reproductive health

and reproductive rights embodied in the ICPD Programme of Action. New

aspects of reproductive health have been introduced in a number of

programmes. It is most encouraging to see that NGOs and

intergovernmental organizations are playing expanded roles in these


It is important now to consider how we can sustain the momentum that

the ICPD produced. As this issue of ICPD News reports, several bilateral

donors have pledged greater assistance to population. Perhaps most

heartening, many developing-country Governments themselves, although

hard-pressed for resources, have already invested more, or intend to

invest more, in population-related activities.

 There is much to do and much to look forward to in the year ahead. Two

major United Nations conferences _ the Second United Nations Conference

on Human Settlements (Habitat II), to be held in Istanbul in June, and the

World Food Summit, to be held in Rome in November _ will focus the

world's attention on critical social concerns of our time. No issue could be

more closely intertwined with these concerns than population. The recent

creation of an ACC Task Force on Basic Social Services for All, which has

merged with the ICPD/IATF, is another reflection of the concern within

the UN system for helping bring about greater well-being for the world's


 The year 1996 thus presents both challenge and opportunity. We need to

constitute a true global community working in concert to turn the ICPD

Programme of Action into specific programmes at local levels to improve

the lives of all women, men, their children and their communities.

 Nafis Sadik Executive Director

United Nations Population Fund



Sri Lanka, with its strong family planning programme and a history of

investing in health and education, is a population "success story". The

country boasts low infant and maternal mortality rates (19.3 and 0.4

deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively), a 66.1 per cent contraceptive

usage rate, an 83.1 per cent female literacy rate and a 1.3 per cent

population growth rate.

The nation is now examining its accomplishments in the light of the

ICPD's broader perspective on reproductive health (RH) rather than solely

on maternal and child health (MCH). Programmes and projects are being

developed to address such issues as child prostitution, the lack of access

to family planning information and services among the one million female

workers in the Free Trade Zones (FTZs) and the reproductive health needs

of the nation's 340,000 tea estate workers.

Among other activities, Sri Lanka, through its National Coordinating

Council on Population, is proposing to develop a national action plan on

reproductive health.

To help Sri Lanka chart its path in the post-ICPD era, a Programme Review

and Strategy Development (PRSD) exercise was undertaken in 1995 under

the leadership of the National Coordinating Council on Population. The

highlight of the PRSD mission, fielded from 9 to 20 October, was a

national workshop to examine sectoral reviews and to plan strategies

accordingly. The workshop was attended by policy makers, programme

implementors, NGO representatives, academicians, grass-roots health

workers such as midwives, and health officers from areas of civil strife.

After the workshop and during the PRSD mission, a presentation was made

to familiarize bilateral and multilateral donors about the new strategies

being developed.

One important finding of the PRSD mission was that Sri Lanka's

contraceptive "mix" is unbalanced. Although the contraceptive prevalence

rate is 66 per cent, the use of modern birth-spacing methods is relatively

low (16.5 per cent), while the use of traditional methods is high (23 per

cent), as is the use of permanent methods (27 per cent have been


Mission members also examined the implications of an estimated one

million adolescent females' entering the reproductive age group within the

next 20 years. Addressing their RH needs means not only providing

contraception but also paying attention to threats to their health from

malignancies of the reproductive tract and sexually transmitted diseases,

including human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency

syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Mission members also recommended that the RH

needs of persons displaced from the conflict areas be given high priority.

 The mission found that the Government is continuing to battle child

prostitution and is collaborating with UNFPA and the United Nations

Children's Fund (UNICEF) on projects aimed at educating and resettling

abused youngsters. UNFPA also assisted the Government in establishing,

for FTZ garment-industry workers, a residential welfare centre, which,

the Government hopes, will serve as a model for similar facilities in other


The PRSD mission also recommended the following:

* Recognizing the need to involve NGOs, the private sector and community

members in implementing population programmes;

 * Retraining teachers of family life education so they can present subject

matter in culturally sensitive ways;

* Undertaking advocacy efforts for publicizing the links between

population and the environment, for addressing widespread nutritional

problems and for providing services for the elderly; and

* Revising the nation's population policy to reflect the global consensus

on population issues forged at Cairo.

 _ From Suneeta Mukherjee 

UNFPA Country Director Sri Lanka



In recent months, the Government of Malawi has intensified its efforts to

heighten awareness of implications of the ICPD Programme of Action. In

July 1995, the Ministry of Health and Population issued a draft strategic

plan on reproductive health aimed at strengthening family planning

services, antenatal care, safe delivery and obstetrics care.

 At an October 1995 meeting, "Reproductive Health and Family Planning",

more than 200 health practitioners from all levels of the nation's health-

care system discussed, among other issues, goals of the ICPD Programme

of Action, including empowering women to take charge of their

reproductive health, providing high-quality family planning services,

enhancing the contraceptive knowledge of community-based distribution

agents, and educating communities on population issues. The meeting,

organized by the Medical Association of Malawi, was held in Blantyre, the

country's largest city.

Another ICPD-related initiative was timed to coincide with the UN's

Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations in Malawi. On 19 October, UNFPA made a

detailed presentation on the ICPD Programme of Action to Members of

Parliament (MPs). Among the subjects discussed were the ICPD's

quantitative goals, the role of the non-governmental sector in

implementing the ICPD Programme of Action and the need to integrate

population factors into sustainable development plans.

The Malawian delegation to the Southern African Reproductive Health

Network meeting from 29 October to 2 November in Kwazulu/Natal, South

Africa, committed itself to initiating an advocacy campaign aimed at

increasing awareness of the comprehensive reproductive health care

approach advocated in Cairo. Towards this end, the delegation agreed to

revive the Reproductive Health Task Force on Youth and to expand its

mandate to include all components of reproductive health, including

family planning and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Perhaps the

most important _ and certainly the most highly publicized _ of the ICPD

follow-up activities was a two-day workshop for parliamentarians,

"Population and Sustainable Development", held in Lilongwe on 23-24

November. Attended by some 142 MPs _ out of a total of 175 _ the

workshop covered such topics as gender relations, the impact of Malawi's

rapid population growth on the nation's economic development and the

current status of Malawian reproductive health.

The workshop's goal was to enhance the parliamentarians' awareness of

pressing population and development issues, thereby strengthening their

support for the population programme.

In his keynote address to the workshop, the Honourable Justin Malewezi,

First Vice President, noted that the ICPD Programme of Action calls on

Governments to strengthen political commitment to the integration of

population and development strategies by undertaking public education and

information programmes and by increasing resources for the

implementation of these programmes.

Stressing the link between the Government's poverty alleviation

programme and the national population programme, the Vice President

urged participants to address such pressing issues as the political and

economic empowerment of women; the reproductive health needs of young

people; the interrelationships between gender, population and

development; and the need to increase men's involvement in population and

reproductive health programmes.

The Honourable Sam Mpasu, Minister of Health and Population and host of

the workshop, stressed the key role that parliamentarians can play in

implementing the ICPD Programme of Action and the national population


 Mr. Terence Jones, UN Resident Coordinator, reviewed the main aspects of

the agreements reached in Cairo, including their emphasis on human

rights, gender equality and equity, and reproductive health. He stressed

the urgency of making effective and sustainable interventions aimed at

improving Malawi's "very discouraging" human development indicators and

emphasized the crucial role of parliamentarians in mobilizing public

support for the goals of the ICPD and the national population policy.

Parliamentarians, he noted, had the power to enact necessary legislation,

to increase budgetary and human resource allocations for population

programmes and related social-sector investments and to monitor

activities in these areas.

At the conclusion of their deliberations, the parliamentarians pledged to

allocate more resources to the population programme. They also called for

the establishment of a subgroup on population and development, within the

Parliament Health and Population Committee, to advise parliamentarians

on population issues.

_ From Lalan Mubiala 

UNFPA Country Director Malawi



Preparations are under way for the Second United Nations Conference on

Human Settlements (Habitat II), to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3 to

14 June 1996 under the auspices of the United Nations Centre for Human

Settlements (Habitat).

 As part of the preparations for Habitat II, UNFPA is working to ensure

that the consensus on population and development issues that emerged

during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

is carried forward to Istanbul. As the ICPD made clear, the worldwide

trend towards urbanization, the close links between rural development and

urban growth, and the underlying determinants of migration must be

factored into policies addressing urban problems and the quality of human


 To bring the issues of population, internal migration and urbanization into

focus for the Habitat process, UNFPA organized a scientific gathering,

"Symposium on Internal Migration and Urbanization in Developing

Countries: Implications for Habitat II", which was held 24-26 January

1996 in New York. UNFPA is co- sponsoring, with Habitat, another

symposium on urbanization to be held in March 1996. Organized by the

International Institute for Human Resources Development of San Diego

State University, this symposium will develop recommendations to be

presented in Istanbul.



Speaking at the Inaugural Ceremony of the meeting "The New Population

Decade, 1994-2004", a follow-up to the International Conference on

Population and Development (ICPD), Peruvian President Albert K. Fujimori

addressed parliamentarians from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia,

Ecuador, Japan, Paraguay, Peru, Sweden, and Venezuela, noting the

following: "As the International Conference on Population and Development

shows, there is an ever greater consciousness that population, poverty,

the models of production and consumption, and the threats to the

environment are interconnected and no one of them can be considered in

isolation from the others."



 Since the ICPD, Governments in every corner of the globe have been

fashioning policies and programmes to reflect the expansive vision of

population issues that emerged from the Cairo Conference. UNFPA's

Country Support Teams (CSTs) have played a singular role in helping

Governments, upon their request, translate the vision of the ICPD

Programme of Action into concrete actions. This issue of ICPD News

highlights the efforts of the CSTs.

 UNFPA's eight Country Support Teams (CSTs) are using the ICPD

Programme of Action as a blueprint for technical support services. The

CST, consisting of experts from various population and development

disciplines, provides services to Governments, upon their request.

 CSTs are based in the following locations:

 *	In Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dakar, Senegal; and Harare,


*	In the Arab States and Europe, Amman, Jordan;

 *	In Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand; Kathmandu, Nepal; and

Suva, Fiji; and

 *	In Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago, Chile, with a sub-

office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.


"The ICPD has acted as a catalyst for change in the region," declares

Bintou Sanogoh, Director of the CST for West and Central Africa. "Many of

the changes were in the air for years," she notes, "but the consensus on

population issues forged at the Conference provided the impetus that

allowed the ideas to be translated into action."

Throughout the Africa Region, CSTs are playing an important role in

implementing and adapting the ICPD Programme of Action to meet national

needs and priorities. CST workshops have focused on reproductive health,

including adolescent reproductive health, and on sociocultural

considerations and research issues within the context of the ICPD

Programme of Action. The ICPD's focus on the unmet needs of young people

has increased the demand for the services of the Region's CST advisers,

who have been called upon to assist in the formulation of adolescent

health programmes.

 In Ghana, CST members assisted in formulating the Third Country

Programme, the first UNFPA-assisted programme elaborated in the post-

ICPD period. The CST Director of the Addis Ababa team, Dr. Miriam K. Were,

noted that "participation in the preparation of the new [third] Country

Programme for Ghana gave the CST an opportunity to put in practice some

of the post-ICPD thinking and leaves the CST in a good state for

participation in the new programme to be formulated in 1996." Twenty-

two new country programmes for African countries are being formulated

in 1996.

In Southern Africa as well, many countries are implementing

recommendations of the ICPD Programme of Action, with CST assistance.

In Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, national leaders have been

made fully aware of ICPD goals. Lesotho and Zambia have decided to revise

their national population policies to reflect more closely the ICPD

recommendations. Botswana and Namibia are basing their draft population

policies on the Programme of Action. Malawi has liberalized its guidelines

for the provision of contraceptives. South Africa has initiated national

debate to determine strategies for implementing the Programme of

Action. Responding to the Programme of Action's call for gender equality

and equity, the CST for the Southern Africa subregion has been

systematically promoting advocacy on gender concerns and strengthening

institutional structures for mainstreaming gender issues in development

programmes and projects, including those in Malawi, Namibia and Zambia.

CST advisers have also clarified the Programme of Action for participants

of regional workshops and meetings. At a June 1995 workshop in Abidjan,

Cte d'Ivoire, two CST advisers presented a paper on the Implementation

of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration and the ICPD Programme of Action. The

workshop was jointly sponsored by the UN Economic Commission for

Africa (ECA), the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and the African

Development Bank.

Asia and the Pacific

The Asia and the Pacific Region's CSTs have concentrated on introducing

ICPD principles into projects, programmes and work plans.

 Responding to the ICPD's call to reposition family planning within the

broader context of reproductive health, members of the CST based in

Kathmandu, Nepal, helped programme staff in the Central Asian Republics

and Nepal identify missing links in existing programmes and design

suitable packages of interventions.

 The team also helped align educational activities with the priorities of

the ICPD Programme of Action. In Pakistan, for example, school primers

and other educational materials will be revised to address ICPD concerns.

CST-assisted projects will also help to improve information, education

and communication (IEC) and management capabilities within Pakistan's

Ministry of Population Welfare.

The team's contribution to sector reviews, Programme Review and

Strategy Development (PRSD) exercises and related technical inputs in

Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka helped to introduce ICPD priorities

into country programmes.

 In the post-ICPD period, the CST based in Suva, Fiji, has shown how the

ICPD Programme of Action can provide the framework for integrated

population and development strategies aimed at addressing the region's

particular needs. The team has focused on both national and regional

efforts. Recognizing that South Pacific NGOs have a tradition of

involvement in social development initiatives, the CST has been promoting

their potential as partners in national population and development efforts.

In the Cook Islands, for example, the CST participated in a National NGO

Women's Forum that focused on the empowerment of women _ a key ICPD

goal. The CST also joined leaders of youth-related NGOs for a National

Forum on Youth, Population and Development, which placed special

emphasis on the reproductive health needs of adolescents.

To help clarify key concepts of the ICPD Programme of Action and to build

a unified understanding of how best to respond to subregional and country-

level challenges, the CST based in Bangkok, Thailand, organized a week-

long internal workshop for its advisers in early 1995. In addition, for all

training activities under country projects, the CST has sought to include

at least one session on ICPD concepts and strategies.

 The CST Bangkok has assisted Myanmar and Malaysia in developing

National Plans of Action as follow-ups to ICPD. In June 1995, Mr. Ghazi

Farooq, the CST's Director, visited Viet Nam, where he consulted with top-

level planners charged with developing a national population policy. He

also led a seminar at the University of Economics on ICPD follow-up and

Viet Nam's research training needs.

Arab States and Europe

 The comprehensive approach adopted by the ICPD Programme of Action

lends support to CST activities aimed at enhancing the implementation of

programmes in UNFPA's three core areas at both regional and country

levels. Several countries in the Arab States and Europe Region have held

high-level post-ICPD meetings. With the CST's active participation, such

activities are directed towards maintaining the ICPD momentum,

strengthening partnership between Governments and NGOs, and

establishing mechanisms for following up implementation of the ICPD

Programme of Action.

 In addition to their country-level work, CST advisers have assisted ICPD

implementation efforts through regional bodies, such as the UN Economic

and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Team members recently

helped ESCWA's Population Section formulate a project aimed at

promoting networking among national population councils in the Arab


 In another cooperative endeavour, the team is working with the

Population Unit of the League of Arab States on the development of a

regional project on post- ICPD strategies.

The CST also collaborated with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in

providing training for Multiple Indicator Surveys, which will be used, inter

alia, to monitor progress in implementing the Programme of Action. The

CST has assisted in the development of a reproductive health module,

which is being incorporated into UNFPA/Arab regional surveys as part of

the Pan Arab Project for Child Development of the League of Arab States


Latin America and the Caribbean

Promoting the ICPD's development-centred approach to population, the CST

for Latin America and the Caribbean has helped integrate population

concerns, policies and programmes into high-priority development

strategies in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras,

Jamaica and Panama. The team has also enhanced understanding of the

ICPD's broad-based concept of reproductive health (RH) among health and

related professionals, political and community leaders, students, NGOs

and the public. New audiences, such as trade unions, cooperatives and

informal-sector organizations, are being incorporated in population and RH

activities. Through interdis-ciplinary work in Mexico, the CST helped

develop an IEC component for RH programmes. Throughout the region, the

team is emphasizing the links between reproductive health and the

environment, food security, the status of women, employment, education

and the standard of living.

Sociocultural research _ a prerequisite to the development of effective

policies and programmes, as noted at the ICPD _ was the theme of a

subregional seminar jointly organized by the CST/LAC, the Ford Foundation

and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences-Chile (FLACSO-Chile) in

Santiago in November 1995. The seminar, which focused on research

related to gender and sexuality, included discussions of HIV/AIDS

prevention; adolescent sexuality and education; and unwanted pregnancies.


_ From Africa: Ms. Bintou Sanogoh, Ms. Kirsten Trone and Dr. Miriam Were;

from Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Stephen Chee, Mr. Ghazi Farooq and Mr.

Raheem Sheikh; from the Arab States and Europe, Mr. Atef Khalifa; and

from Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Joop Alberts, Team Leaders



The Syrian Arab Republic is intensifying its efforts to formulate a new

population policy using the ICPD Programme of Action as a guide.

Increasingly, policy makers and planners have recognized the importance

of formulating a national population policy and of integrating population

variables into development planning. The Government has struggled to

maintain its traditionally high levels of social services and economic

achievements for a fast-growing population; between 1960 and 1994, the

population tripled, from 4.6 million to 13.8 million.

 Leading the policy formulation efforts is the State Planning Commission

and its Permanent Population Committee (PPC), created in 1986.

The PPC, headed by the Minister of State for Planning Affairs, includes

representatives from government ministries, popular organizations and

non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

A UNFPA-supported Policy Formulation and Implementation project helped

lay the groundwork for the policy process, which gained additional

momentum in 1993, as the country geared up for its participation in the


Multidisciplinary task forces were drawn up, composed of national experts

from various governmental, non-governmental and academic institutions.

The task forces examined, among other topics: the sociocultural

determinants of reproductive behaviour; reproductive health and family

planning; requirements in food, water, energy and housing; education and

manpower development; population distribution; and economic

infrastructures and development strategies.

Further, the Syrian Arab Republic has carried out sociocultural research to

obtain an accurate picture of the nation's population situation. Culturally

relevant information, as noted in the Programme of Action, is a vital

component of policy and programme development. Such research is helping

the Government understand how strong cultural forces, at the family and

societal levels, affect women's abilities to exercise their reproductive

rights. An in-depth analysis of reproductive health rights has already been

discussed at national and regional levels, and policy recommendations

have been proposed.

The Government is increasing its focus on such concerns as the

reproductive health rights of women, the roles of youth and men in

population and in supporting women in the realization of their

reproductive health rights, and the participation of women in the

development process.

As part of the process of developing the population policy, village, town

and governorate officials, community leaders and representatives from

NGOs and popular organizations are examining policy-related research

findings in local workshops. Public hearings on the proposed policy are

planned for the first quarter of 1996. After debate and discussion at

various levels, the official approval process will take place. The Syrian

Arab Republic has, thus, encouraged wide participation from many

elements of civil society in this and its other population and development


_ From Abdul Muniem

Abu-Nuwar Country Director

Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon



Immediately following the ICPD, Viet Nam began to formulate a new

country programme charting future directions in its cooperation with


The participation of high-level government officials in the ICPD and the

considerable national press coverage set the stage for launching new

initiatives. The Government translated the Programme of Action and other

materials into Vietnamese and disseminated them widely.

 The Government organized several workshops addressing the ICPD follow-

up. One dealt with the ICPD's comprehensive concept of reproductive

health and another addressed the new priorities of the post-ICPD era.

Senior Ministers and officials from the population, health, and economic

coordinating and planning ministries as well as representatives of non-

governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with women's health and

reproductive health attended. Such activities helped to reorient Viet

Nam's approach towards a more comprehensive view of the interlinkages

between population and development.

 A Programme Review and Strategy Development (PRSD) exercise greatly

facilitated the delineation of the Viet Nam country programme. By the

time of the PRSD mission, in October 1995, the Government had already

issued updated directions for cooperation between its national agencies

and UNFPA, stressing such key ICPD themes as reproductive health/family

planning; population and development policy; advocacy; and capacity-


UNFPA's Fifth Programme of Assistance for Viet Nam (1996- 2000)

addresses these thematic areas, which are at the heart of the ICPD

Programme of Action.

Government commitment to implementing the ICPD Programme of Action

is also evident in the programmes being developed by numerous donors in

the pop-ulation field. These include the Australian Agency for

International Development (AusAID), Deutsche Gesellschafte fr

Technische Zumsammenarbeit (German Agency for Technical Cooperation

_GTZ), Kreditanstalt fr Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the World Bank.

In the light of the ICPD, national and international NGOs have intensified

their attention to gender and reproductive health, adolescent health,

women's empowerment and the integration of programmes promoting

family planning and combatting sexually transmitted diseases.

_ From Linda Demers UNFPA Country Director

Viet Nam



A UNFPA-sponsored meeting in Bangkok, held in November 1995, focused

on South-South cooperation _ technical cooperation between developing

countries. Within the ICPD framework, the meeting analysed reproductive

health (RH) programmes in Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Tunisia. UNFPA

had designated these four countries "Centres of Excellence" because of

their outstanding potential to transmit to other developing countries their

expertise in reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP).

 Working groups carried out thematic analyses of four priority areas: the

concept of RH, quality of care, programmes for adolescents and training

methodologies. The meeting, which produced recommendations for

improving and standardizing curricular quality and impact in South-South

training, noted that meetings of the Board of Partners in Population and

Development should carry out the substantive work entailed. The Partners

are 10 developing countries (Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia,

Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia and Zimbabwe) that announced

during ICPD their intention to cooperate in training, research and

information exchanges.

Members of the UNFPA Country Support Team (CST) for the East and South-

East Asia Region and representatives of the International Council on

Management of Population Programmes also participated in the meeting.



ICPD News, a quarterly newsletter of the UNFPA Task Force on ICPD

Implementation, is designed to keep the international community,

government representatives, donors, non-governmental organizations and

others informed about follow-up activities to the International

Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt, 5-

13 September 1994.

For additional copies, please contact:

UNFPA Task Force on ICPD Implementation United Nations Population Fund

220 East 42nd St., 22nd floor New York, NY 10017 USA Fax: 212-297-


Editor-in-Chief: Catherine S. Pierce

Contributing Editors: Ranjana Dikhit, Arthur Erken

Editorial Consultant: Barbara Ryan

Please let us know if you have information, ideas for articles or

suggestions for this newsletter.

Material from ICPD News may be freely reproduced if credit is given and

tear sheets are provided

to the editor.

For further information, please contact: popin@undp.org
POPIN Gopher site: gopher://gopher.undp.org/11/ungophers/popin
POPIN WWW site:http://www.undp.org/popin