Mr. Eliott Harris Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist

Closing Remarks
Fifty-First Session of the Commission on Population and Development

Mister Chairperson,
Distinguished delegates and colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good evening.

It is my pleasure to address the Commission on Population and Development at the closing of its fifty-first session today

Clearly, the negotiations were difficult at times, unfortunately it proved impossible in the event to fully reconcile the positions on certain key issues reflecting the critical importance of the issues under discussion.

Notwithstanding the absence of a consensus outcome on the theme, your statements on national experiences and discussions over the past week have been highly informative and very important.  I thank you for your engagement and for your commitment to the work of the Commission.

This week, the Commission has underscored the continued relevance of the ICPD Programme of Action and reiterated your commitment towards achieving the development of goals of the ICPD and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  You have emphasized that respect for human rights and dignity must be the guiding principle for advancing the ICPD goals and the 2030 Agenda.

The theme of this session, sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration, addresses the trends in urbanization and migration that are shaping the world today, and playing an integral role in sustainable development.  Your interventions this week have illuminated national progress toward the related goals of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The world is increasingly urban.  You have spoken this week of the importance of sustainable urban planning and policies to safeguard the environment.  We have heard of challenges related to housing and infrastructure and of the need to address urban poverty and unemployment in situations of rapid urban growth.  We have also heard about your efforts in the provision of sound health care, including sexual and reproductive health services, as well as your policies to protect the most vulnerable segments of urban populations from discrimination, abuse and violence.

At the same time, people around the world are on the move, within their own countries or between countries.  This week, you have acknowledged the positive linkages between international migration and development, noting the contribution of international migration to the diversity of cities.  At the same time, you have stressed the challenges associated with unplanned or irregular migration and the need for policies to promote safe, orderly and regular migration.

Countries have emphasized, in the context of both urban settlement and international migration, the special situations of women and girls, and of adolescents and youth, and the need for gender-sensitive policies to promote inclusive development.

Finally, we have been reminded of the need for improved data on both urbanization and migration to inform evidence-based policy making.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You all have worked long hours in your deliberations and accomplished much.  I appreciate your spirit of collaboration and mutual respect during the deliberations even if we have not achieved all that we set out to achieve.

Thank you.


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