4 April 2003


Press Release

Commission on Population and Development

Thirty-sixth Session

7th Meeting (AM)                          



As it concluded its thirty-sixth session this morning, the Commission on Population and Development requested the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) to continue its research, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to continue its programming, on the linkages between population, education and development.

According to the resolution on population, education and development, adopted without a vote, such links would include the relationship between education goals and population, as well as education’s interaction with health, particularly sexual and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS. 

Also by the terms of the text, contained in document E/CN.9/2003/L.5, the Commission requested DESA’s Population Division to closely cooperate with United Nations bodies in contributing its research findings to the implementation of outcomes of United Nations conferences and summits relevant to population, education and development.

In addition, the Commission encouraged the UNFPA to continue supporting population, education and development programmes to speed up implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)(Cairo, 1994).

Explaining his country’s position, following the adoption of the resolution, the representative of the United States said that he supported voluntary choice in family planning, but stressed that abortion should under no circumstances be promoted as a method of family planning, and that women with recourse to abortion should be given humane treatment and counseling.  Family stability, the role of fathers and parent-child communication on abstinence, delayed sexual initiation and responsible sexual behaviour should be further addressed.

The Commission also adopted by consensus a decision, contained in document E/CN.9/2003/L.3, by which it decided that the special theme of its thirty-eighth session, in 2005, would be “population, development and HIV/AIDS, with particular emphasis on poverty”.  Both texts were introduced by Commission Vice-Chairman Alfredo Chuquihuara (Peru).

The Commission also decided, orally, to take note of the following documents submitted at the thirty-sixth session -- E/CN.9/2003/2,3,4,5,6 and 7.  Further, the Commission adopted its report for the current session, contained in

7th Meeting (AM)

document E/CN.9/2003/L.4, introduced by Vice-Chairman-cum-Rapporteur Marc Bichler (Luxembourg).  The Commission also approved its provisional agenda for the thirty-seventh session, contained in document E/CN.9/2003/L.12/Rev.1 and introduced by Joseph Chamie, Director of the Population Division.     

In closing remarks, Mr. Chamie said much remained to be done to prepare for the Commission’s thirty-seventh session, which would focus on review and appraisal of the ICPD.  During the current session, most delegates had stressed the vital role education played on development, as well as its impact on population.  Learning to read was important in understanding literature and the political events, and mathematics was certainly needed to function effectively in the twenty-first century.  Learning how to interact with others and to deal with life’s challenges was done in the corridors and classrooms of schools.

Commission Chairman Gediminas Serksnys (Lithuania) said the session had been a successful one, attended by 47 Commission members as well as representatives of various United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations.  He noted that the 10-year review and appraisal of the ICPD Programme of Action next year would follow cross-cutting themes in full consultation with members of the Commission.

Speaking on behalf of the“Group of 77” developing countries and China, Morocco’s representative, encouraged the Population Division and the UNFPA to work together in developing synergies in population research and activities.  Strengthened cooperation was essential to achieving the objectives of the ICPD Programme of Action.  He also requested that the themes of training, capacity-building and resource mobilization be included in the Commission’s 2004 study.

The representatives of Greece (on behalf of the European Union), Canada, Gambia, and Norway expressed their appreciation for the Commission’s work, and hoped the upcoming session in 2003 would be constructive and fruitful.  The representative of the UNFPA also expressed her support for the Commission.

During the current session, under the theme “population, education and development”, the Commission considered follow-up actions to the ICPD, national experience in population matters, and programme implementation and future programme of work of the Secretariat in the field of population.

Throughout the session, speakers stressed the vital role education, especially for women and girls, played in achieving developmental goals.  Education encouraged people to pursue careers, marry later in life, and limit family size.  It also led to better health and lower child and, helped prevent HIV/AIDS.

Delegates also discussed progress made in such areas as educational funding, illiteracy and access to schooling.  Several, however, expressed concern over the vast number of people still lacking access to education, and lamented the drop in international funding for population activities.  They also drew attention to emerging issues, including the rising population of older people and the continuing spread of HIV/AIDS.

7th Meeting (AM)

Highlighting the session were keynote addresses by Amartya Sen, 1998 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics and Master, Trinity College, United Kingdom, and Paul Demeny, Distinguished Scholar at the Population Council, New York.

The other members of the Bureau for the thirty-sixth session included Vice-Chairmen Iftekhar Chowdhury (Bangladesh) and Crispin Grey-Johnson (Gambia).

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.