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

96-09: ICPD News, No. 5, September 1996

                        ICPD NEWS

     A Newsletter of the UNFPA Task Force on ICPD Implementation

                   No. 5, September 1996


By Dr. Nafis Sadik

This second anniversary of the International Conference on

Population and Development (ICPD) presents an appropriate

opportunity to take the pulse of the implementation process and

assess how the Programme of Action, adopted by consensus in

Cairo, is being translated into operational initiatives. There is

now a broad recognition that respect for human rights and a

commitment to the empowerment of women are essential messages of

Cairo. Also, there is a growing realization that simultaneous

investment in all social sectors is necessary if the ICPD  goals

and the overarching objective of sustainable development are to

be achieved.

On balance, I am greatly encouraged that the commitment and

momentum which characterized the lead up to Cairo and the

Conference itself are carrying over to the implementation phase.

In almost all developing countries, an impressive array of

activities is under way to align policies and programmes with the

new paradigm of population and development that emerged from the

Conference. At the international level, various intergovernmental

groups, global and regional, have used the ICPD Programme of

Action as a template in recasting their policy and programme


The  UN system has expanded its collaboration at both the

headquarters and the field level. In particular, the work of the

inter-agency task forces on ICPD implementation and on Basic

Social Services for All has been instrumental in furthering

coordination among various UN organizations at the country level,

thus augmenting government efforts to operationalize the

Programme of Action. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs),

especially grass-roots groups, have intensified their efforts to

ensure that the promise of Cairo takes hold and flourishes in

local communities.

Many countries report that they are progressing in their attempts

to place family planning in the broader perspective of

reproductive health. Almost immediately after the Conference, the

Government of Mexico created a General Directorate of

Reproductive Health, which includes a special unit to ensure that

all activities in this sector are grounded in a gender

perspective. Several Sub-Saharan countries are focusing on the

maternal mortality aspect of the reproductive health continuum.

For example, Uganda  has initiated a pilot project to identify

potential problem deliveries and arrange for the early transport

of women with pregnancy complications to properly equipped health

posts. Since Cairo, there has been increased emphasis on quality

of care and responsiveness to users. For example, India has

adopted a new system of performance indicators replacing the

system of targets and quotas it had relied on for several

decades. Responding to the ICPD's emphasis on youth, several

countries have adopted reproductive health initiatives geared to

the needs of this age group --  including Ghana, Haiti, Kenya,

Namibia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam.

Over the past two years, UNFPA has been working closely with

countries to facilitate their attempts to put in place programmes

designed to achieve the ICPD's time-bound goals: universal

primary education, with particular attention to eliminating the

gender gap; a major reduction in infant, child and maternal

mortality; and universal access to quality reproductive health

services, including family planning. In response to increasing

country-level activity and increasing concern about how to

measure advances in meeting ICPD goals, UNFPA is also helping to

develop indicators of progress at the country level. Health

indicators and demographic parameters do not register changes in

a short time span, and certainly not in a two-year period. I am

confident, however, that the foundations now being laid will

produce results.

At this juncture -- Cairo plus two -- I am concerned about the

adequacy of the financial resources so essential for the

successful implementation of the Conference. If the goals of the

ICPD are to be achieved, it is critical that the resource levels

agreed to in the Programme of Action be honoured. In Cairo,

developing countries agreed to provide, on average, two thirds of

the resources needed from domestic sources; the international

community committed itself to providing one third of the

requisite funding. During the past two years, a number of

developing countries have increased their domestic allocations

for social-sector spending, including population. It is crucial

that international donors endorse and encourage this welcome

trend by upholding their share of the financial goals of the


The ICPD is often referred to as a benchmark conference. Indeed,

it was. It galvanized political will, forged new partnerships,

crafted a new approach to population and development and focused

the spotlight on women's rights and their pivotal role in

achieving sustainable development. Successful implementation of

the ICPD Programme of Action will require both political and

financial commitment. We must maintain the momentum of Cairo if

we are to achieve its mission so that present and future

generations enjoy a better quality of life.



Brazil's many months of  follow-up activity related to the

International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

culminated with the establishment, in August 1995, of the

National Commission of Population and Development -- the first

such commission in Latin America. The Commission was set up by

presidential decree as an outgrowth of three conferences held

immediately after the ICPD to discuss the implementation of the

ICPD Programme of Action. Dr. Elza Berquo is President of the

Commission, which includes one representative each from eight

ministries; representatives from the Presidency's General

Secretariat and Secretariat for Strategic Affairs; and eight

members of civil society, most of whom are professionals in the

population field.

The Commission aims at contributing to policy formulation and

"the implementation of integrated activities regarding population

and  development, according to the recommendations of the World

Programme of Action." The Commission is responsible, inter alia,

for collecting, evaluating and disseminating data on population

and development; promoting analyses of the demographic impact of

governmental and private-sector initiatives and supporting

updated studies on population at national and subnational levels;

promoting initiatives to increase training and education in

population and development studies; mobilizing new resources for

activities in population and development; and establishing a

permanent dialogue with national and international institutions

having objectives and activities that contribute to issues of

population and development.

The Commission has undertaken the Portuguese translation of the

ICPD Programme of Action. It has also provided support to women's

non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to disseminate information

and create awareness about the Cairo agenda.

Both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education

appeared before the Commission to report on the implementation of

the Programme of Action. The discussions of these reports

contributed to a number of protocols between these ministries and

the National Council of Women's Rights. Under these protocols,

signed on 8 March 1996, the Ministry of Health will carry out an

intensive programme for the prevention of cervical and breast

cancers and will promote full access to family planning services

under the public sector's Unified Health System.  The Ministry of

Education will include women's issues in the programme of

long-distance teacher training and will develop curricula and

training materials revised under new gender perspectives. Two

other ministries -- Labour and Justice -- signed protocols with the

Council. The Ministry of Labour will expand job and training

opportunities for professional categories and jobs usually held

by women. The Ministry of Justice will encourage discussion on

the possibility of revising the criminal classification of rape

to permit greater law enforcement and more severe penalties.

Since the ICPD, both the National Council of Women's Rights and

State Councils of Women's Rights have become involved in policies

and programmes dealing with reproductive health. In addition, the

public sector has formed partnerships with NGOs, women's groups

and professional societies. For example, a Safe Motherhood

initiative has been launched by the Women's Health Sector of the

Ministry of Health, actively involving the Brazilian Society of

Obstetrics and Gynaecology, universities, women's organizations

and international organizations such as the Pan American Health

Organization/ World Health Organization, the United Nations

Population Fund, and the United Nations Children's Fund.  --

George Walmsley

UNFPA Representative




The Islamic Republic of Iran has been actively implementing the

recommendations of the International Conference on Population and

Development (ICPD), adjusting national programmes and projects

in accordance with the principles and objectives of the ICPD

Programme  of Action. It has also increased its budget for such


Immediately following the ICPD, the UNFPA-assisted Government

programme further integrated reproductive health (RH) care

information and services into the delivery of primary health

care. In line with ICPD recommendations concerning the

empowerment of women and in order to promote community

participation in RH and family planning (FP) programmes, the

Government expanded the Women Health Volunteers (WHVs) Programme

at the national level. This Programme now has approximately

18,000 WHVs who provide RH/FP information and services to

vulnerable groups living in urban slums. With a view to further

improving RH/FP services in rural areas, the Government also

established 15 new Rural Midwives (RMWs) Training Centres in nine

provinces. Training curricula and materials for health personnel

are being revised to include more RH/FP issues to enable service

providers, including WHVs and RMWs, to offer clients improved

RH/FP information and services in their own communities.

Simultaneously, the concept of quality of care has been

introduced through the training of service providers. The

Ministry of Health and Medical Education organized the first

national RH/FP counselling workshop in early 1995 in Bushehr,

southern Iran. Family planning officers and experts received

training in counselling techniques and two-way communication to

help clients make informed choices concerning family planning. In

November 1995, the Ministry launched a nationwide counselling

campaign concerning mothers' health, during which 12,000

specially trained medical students assisted health centres by

providing clients with information and advice on RH/FP issues,

such as prenatal and postnatal care, breast-feeding and breast

and cervical cancers. In addition, 305 pre-marriage counselling

centres have been established to provide young couples with RH/FP


The Government is planning to enhance adolescents' knowledge

concerning RH/FP issues through programmes specially designed for

girls in  the last year of high school. A pilot project is being

launched in Isfahan Province to enhance the RH/FP knowledge of

girl students and assist them in becoming healthy mothers in the

future. The recently revitalized Family Planning Association of

Iran (FPAI) is undertaking a survey of adolescents'  reproductive

health. Responding to the ICPD's call to increase women's role in

decision-making, the Government has made a concerted effort to

increase women's participation in implementing RH/FP activities.

Women have been named to senior management posts in the Ministry

of Health and Medical Education.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), particularly those for

women, have played an increasingly active role since the ICPD and

the Fourth World Conference on Women. A dozen women's NGOs have

distributed about 210,000 copies of posters and pamphlets on

ICPD-related themes. Additionally, NGOs such as the Centre for

Women's Studies and Research, Rural Women Cooperatives and the

Islamic Women's Institute have organized seminars and workshops

and conducted research on RH/FP issues and women's empowerment.

Radio and television as well as print media have played an

important role in publicizing and promoting ICPD messages and

follow-up activities. In 1995, the Ministry of Health and Medical

Education established a centre for information, education and

communication (IEC), where courses and workshops are held to

train policy makers, programme managers and service providers on

RH/FP policy and programmes. Also, in 1995, a special workshop

was organized for 25 Iranian journalists to increase their

knowledge about ICPD-related subjects and UNFPA. The UNFPA field

office translated the ICPD Programme of Action into Farsi, for

distribution to non-governmental groups and institutes as well as

the Government.

A variety of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired

immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) prevention messages are

being conveyed through the media. Films on AIDS have been

broadcast on national TV, and a three-minute film on HIV

transmission and prevention is being shown in movie theatres

around the country. A telephone hotline has been established, and

pamphlets and brochures have been produced for the public and for

specific groups, such as truck drivers, drug users and health

workers. Training courses on HIV/AIDS have been organized. As

part of the HIV/AIDS information programme,  a women's NGO will

hold a one-day seminar on HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention

later in 1996.

UNFPA is working closely with the Government to promote

population education activities in primary and secondary schools,

supporting the development of population education materials for

more than 1,000 pilot schools. Within the Ministry of Education,

a population division has been established to oversee and

coordinate population education activities. The Literacy Movement

Organization, which is responsible for non-formal education, is

also incorporating population education messages into literacy


From Shu-Yun Xu

UNFPA Representative

Islamic Republic of Iran



Over the last decade, Bhutan's achievements in improving the

health of its people have been striking. The infant mortality

rate (IMR) declined from 103 to 71 per 1,000 live births between

1984 and 1994. Over the same period, the maternal mortality rate

(MMR) declined by half -- from 770 to  380 per 100,000 live

births. At the same time, however, the population grew rapidly,

at a rate of 3.1 per cent in 1994.

To meet this challenge, His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck,

signed a Royal Message to the people of Bhutan in 1995

encouraging them to adopt family planning as a means of

safeguarding their future and that of the nation as a whole.

The Government's Annual Health Conference in March 1996 endorsed

the introduction of reproductive health and family planning

(RH/FP) services as a major activity of the health sector

programme. The Conference also endorsed the introduction of sex

education in schools. Intent on reducing the IMR and MMR still

further, the Government has decided to give high priority to

RH/FP as well as population and environmental issues in its

Eighth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002).   In addition to its efforts

to strengthen RH, the Government has organized numerous post-ICPD

advocacy and awareness-raising activities, many in connection

with World Population Day and the 50th Anniversary of the United


As a specific follow-up to the ICPD, the Government organized a

workshop on population and development in May 1995. This was the

first time that all sectoral ministries, United Nations and

bilateral organizations and agencies, along with non-governmental

organizations (NGOs), came together to discuss population issues.

The workshop recommended the formulation of a National Plan of

Action for Population and Development, the integration of

population issues into the Government's Eighth Five-Year Plan,

the development of reliable data to support population and

development planning, and concerted efforts to implement the

recommendations of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Following the workshop, the Government decided to include a

separate chapter on population in the Eighth Plan as well as a

chapter on issues related to gender in development. The

Government recognizes clearly that population and development

issues are inseparable for attaining sustainable human

development. It places high priority on conservation and on a

sustainable utilization of Bhutan's rich natural resources, as a

majority of the population depend upon these for their


In September 1996, UNFPA will undertake a Programme Review and

Strategy Development (PRSD) exercise in Bhutan. The Government's

priorities, in line with the ICPD Programme of Action, will be

given full attention during this mission so that a comprehensive

population programme can be formulated for the next plan period.

Wasim Zaman

UNFPA Representative




External assistance for population activities appears to have

increased in 1994, a likely result of the intensified focus on

population in preparatory activities for the International

Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The newly

published Global Population Assistance Report 1994, with data

from 118 countries and organizations, includes the following


* Funds for international population assistance from developed

countries and private sources, including development bank loans,

totalled $US 1.6 billion in 1994 -- a 25 per cent increase over

the 1993 total;

* Population assistance from all donor countries represented 1.65

per cent of official development assistance (ODA) in 1994, the

highest percentage in the 10 years covered by this report;

* UNFPA was the most significant provider of population

assistance among multilateral organizations and agencies, with

almost $279 million flowing through the organization in 1994; and

* Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were important donors of

population assistance, contributing approximately $117 million

for population assistance in 1994.

Financial constraints remain one of the chief obstacles to the

realization of the goals and objectives of the ICPD. It is

estimated that in developing countries and countries with

economies in transition, the implementation of programmes for

reproductive health, including family planning, maternal health

and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as

programmes for population data collection and analysis will cost

$17 billion by the year 2000. Considerable efforts are needed to

mobilize the funds necessary to implement the ICPD Programme of


Copies of the Global Population Assistance Report 1994 are

available from UNFPA.




At a ceremony on 17 July 1996, Secretary-General Boutros

Boutros-Ghali presented the United Nations Population Award to

the Hon. Leticia Ramos Shahani, Senate President Pro-Tempore,

Republic of the Philippines, and Pathfinder International, an

international non-governmental organization (NGO) based in the

United States of America.

Senator Shahani was chosen for her more than 30 years of

leadership in the field of population. Sponsor of the "Shahani

Bill", intended to strengthen the country's new population policy

and the Commission on Population of the Philippines, Senator

Shahani also spearheaded the establishment of the Philippine

Legislators Committee on Population and Development in 1988.

In her acceptance speech at the award ceremony, Senator Shahani

emphasized that "the ICPD debate provided the means by which ...

consensus [was] reached on many issues previously considered

irreconcilable .... Such is the unique role of United Nations

Conferences." Pathfinder International, which has supported over

2,000 programmes in more than 30 countries, was chosen for its 38

years of sustained effort in developing and improving family

planning programmes and creating awareness of population issues.

Daniel E. Pellegrom, President, Pathfinder International, in his

acceptance speech, noted that  the ICPD Programme of Action

"focused the world's attention on women, their equality, their

empowerment, their health and  their reproductive rights."

Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, the

United Nations Population Award is presented annually to

individuals and/or institutions for the most outstanding

contribution to the awareness of population questions or to their

solutions. Past recipients of the award include President Hosni

Mubarak of Egypt (1994), Mr. Fred T. Sai of Ghana (1993), Ms.

Shidzue Kato of Japan (1988), Ms. Carmen A. Miro of Panama

(1984), and the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India

(1983). Institutions that have received the United Nations award

include: the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices

Affecting the Health of Women and Children (1995), The Population

Council (1992), PROFAMILIA, Colombia (1988), and the

International Planned Parenthood Federation (1985).


Southern Africa - Oshakati, Namibia, was the site of a seven-week

course, "Audience Research, Message and Materials Development for

Population Information, Education and Communication (IEC),"

conducted by UNFPA's Regional Population IEC Training Programme

in February-March 1996. The course allowed the 22 participants

from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa and

Zambia to share their perspectives on demographic factors,

gender, adolescent sexuality, family planning and reproductive


AWID Award - Citing her pivotal role in the success of the

International Conference on Population and Development and her

long commitment to the empowerment of women, the Association for

Women in Development (AWID) honoured Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive

Director of UNFPA, with the AWID leadership award at its annual

conference in Washington, D.C., 5-9 September. In her statement

of acceptance, Dr. Sadik noted that "the ICPD and Fourth World

Conference on Women will go down in history as major steps

forward for women, and for all humanity....They established, once

and for all, that women's rights are human rights and that

ensuring gender equality is a critical end in its own right; it

is essential to eradicating poverty, to protecting the

environment and to stabilizing world population growth in support

of sustainable development." In her statement, Dr. Sadik called

attention to the important role that women's non-governmental

organizations (NGOs) played in the ICPD and underscored UNFPA's

commitment to working extensively with NGOs.



The UN Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II), which took

place in Istanbul from 3 to 14 June, called on countries to

strengthen their commitments to achieving sustainable human

settlements. Addressing the plenary session of the Conference,

colloquially known as the City Summit, Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive

Director, UNFPA, emphasized the linkage between population and

human settlements issues. She underscored the critical challenges

posed by rapid urbanization: providing basic social services;

creating employment; and responding to the needs of young people,

who account for a large proportion of the urban population.

Pointing to rapid rates of urban growth, Dr. Sadik noted that, at

present, 11 of the world's 25 largest megacities are in the

developing world and that another 13 mega-cities which will

emerge over the next 20 years will all be in developing

countries. She urged that HABITAT II endorse the ICPD consensus,

which had been confirmed and strengthened at the World Summit for

Social Development (March 1995) and the Fourth World Conference

on Women (September 1995).

UNFPA participated in a number of the parallel events which were

part of the Conference. Together with WHO and UNDP, it sponsored

the dialogue "Creating Healthy Cities in the 21st Century", for

which it organized the Panel on Women's Reproductive Health.

UNFPA supported a consortium of major youth NGOs at the

International Youth Consultation on HABITAT II. As part of its

activities at the NGO Forum, UNFPA, together with several UN

organizations and NGOs, participated in a panel addressing

interactions between the UN and the NGO community in implementing

the recommendations of recent UN conferences.

                             * *** *

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