Commission on Population and Development Concludes with Adoption of Text Urging Redoubled Efforts to Eliminate Preventable Maternal Morbidity, Mortality

15 April 2011

Commission on Population and Development Concludes with Adoption of Text Urging Redoubled Efforts to Eliminate Preventable Maternal Morbidity, Mortality

15 April 2011
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Commission on Population and Development

Forty-fourth Session

9th Meeting (PM & Night)

Commission on Population and Development Concludes with Adoption of Text Urging


Redoubled Efforts to Eliminate Preventable Maternal Morbidity, Mortality


Amid Reservations over Text, Delegates Pick Themes for Upcoming Two Sessions

Deeply concerned that an estimated 358,000 women had died in 2008 from largely preventable complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth, the Commission on Population and Development concluded its forty-fourth session today by urging all Governments to redouble efforts for the elimination of preventable maternal morbidity and mortality by ensuring universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, by 2015.

Unanimously adopting the 10-page draft resolution “Fertility, reproductive health and development”, as orally revised, the Commission recognized the close relation between fertility and poverty eradication, the basic right of women to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children, and their right to the information and means to do so.  It expressed deep concern that early childbearing and limited access to sexual and reproductive health caused high levels of obstetric fistula, maternal mortality and morbidity.

The Commission encouraged States to create a socio-economic environment conducive to the urgent elimination of all child marriages and other similar unions.  Additionally, it urged Governments and development partners to provide quality recourse to abortion services through expanded and improved family planning services, and, where abortion was legal, to train and equip health-service providers to ensure the procedure was safe and accessible, recognizing that in no case should it be promoted as a family-planning method.

Calling on Governments to incorporate gender perspectives and human rights into health-sector policies, the Commission also urged them to strengthen basic infrastructure, human and technical resources and health facilities, particularly in rural and remote areas.  It further called on them to prioritize — when formulating and implementing national development plans, budgets and poverty-eradication strategies — actions to address challenges relating to the impact of population dynamics on poverty and sustainable development.

Welcoming the General Assembly’s decision last December to extend the Programme of Action adopted in Cairo at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014, the Commission called on all Governments to make every effort to mobilize the required resources to ensure that its objectives were met.  At the same time, the Commission reaffirmed the sovereign right of States to implement the Cairo Programme’s recommendations, in accordance with national laws and development priorities, and with full respect for religious, ethical and cultural values.

The Commission called upon the international community to help Governments reduce unmet family planning needs by increasing the financial resources needed to implement the Programme of Action, especially by earmarking national budget funds for family planning and commodities used in primary health-care systems.

Following adoption of the resolution, several delegates emphasized that the text should in no way imply an endorsement of abortion or be interpreted in such a manner as to affect the right to life, which they said began at conception.  Some stated their reservations over the use of the terms “sexual and reproductive rights” and “comprehensive education on human sexuality”, while several others, however, expressed full satisfaction with the document.

In that regard, the Commission heard statements by representatives of Poland, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt (on behalf of the Arab Group), Pakistan, Argentina, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Malta, Brazil, Honduras, Uruguay, Benin, Malawi, Guatemala, Kenya and Zambia.

An observer for the Holy See expressed his reservation over the meaning of several terms contained in the draft resolution.

Acting again by consensus, the Commission adopted a draft decision determining that the special theme for its forty-sixth session, in 2013, would be “New trends in migration: demographic aspects and development”, and that its subsequent session would assess the status of implementation of the Cairo Programme of Action.

In other action, the Commission adopted the report on its forty-fourth session and the draft provisional agenda for its forty-fifth session, in 2012, the theme of which would be “Adolescents and youth”.

The Commission also took note of the Secretary-General’s report, “Programme implementation and progress of work in the field of population in 2010: Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs” (document E/CN.9/2011/7) and the Secretariat’s note on the draft programme of work for the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs for the biennium 2012-2013 (document E/CN.9/2011/CRP.1/Rev.1).

Following immediately upon the closure of its forty-fourth session, the Commission opened its forty-fifth session.  Elected by acclamation was Hasan Kleib (Indonesia) as Chair, as well as the following Vice-Chairs: Martina Težak (Croatia), from the Group of Eastern European States; Sarah Flood-Beaubrun (Saint Lucia), from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and Pio Wennubst (Switzerland), from the Group of Western European and other States.  The Commission deferred until its next meeting the election of a Vice-Chair from the Group of African States.

The Commission will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.