The Commission on Population and Development concluded its fifty‑second session at Headquarters today with speakers calling for hard work and urgent action to fulfil the promises of the Programme of Action that emerged from the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.
The 47‑member Commission opened its week-long session on 1 April with the adoption by consensus of a political declaration — its first since 2016 — underscoring the critical role of population‑related measures and policies in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a quarter‑century after the Cairo conference and ahead of a summit in Nairobi, Kenya on 12‑14 November on advancing the Programme of Action. [See Press Release POP/1079.]
John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that by demonstrating unity of purpose, the Commission sent a strong signal that it is competent to keep serving as the main platform within the United Nations to discuss and provide leadership on the critical linkages between people, prosperity and the planet on sustainable development in all its dimensions. The past week also showed that the Commission can continue to make progress when Member States focus on what unites them, and that by working together, they can overcome challenges and move forward.
Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that 25 years after the Conference, the international community can claim unprecedented successes for the population and development agenda. But the unfinished business of the Programme of Action remains, with millions of women and girls in particular waiting for its promises to be fulfilled. “It is time for urgent action,” she said, emphasizing that the Nairobi Summit to Advance the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action will call on the United Nations, Governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and young people to work as partners to realize the promise of the Cairo conference.
Courtenay Rattray (Jamaica), Commission Chair, said the 2019 session testified to the ability of members of the subsidiary body to come together on matters that unite them, to recommit to the principles and objectives of the Programme of Action and to accelerate its fulfilment as a driver for achieving the 2030 Agenda. Through statements and recommendations, participants were able to showcase the many successes of the past 25 years as well as the hard work yet to come in ensuring the rights, well‑being and dignity of all.
Looking ahead to its fifty‑fourth session, the Commission adopted a draft decision titled “Special theme for the Commission on Population and Development in 2021” (document E/CN.9/2019/L.5), through which it decided that the special theme shall be “Population and sustainable development, in particular sustained and inclusive economic growth”.
In other business, the Commission adopted the draft report of its fifty‑second session (document E/CN.9/2019/L.4) and entrusted the Rapporteur, Saidu Nallo (Sierra Leone), to finalize the text.
It also approved the provisional agenda of its fifty‑third session (document E/CN.9/2019/L.2) and took note of the Secretary‑General’s report titled “Programme implementation and progress of work in the field of population in 2018: Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs” (document E/CN.9/2019/5).
Finally, it formally opened its fifty‑third session, electing by acclamation Christian Braun (Luxembourg), from the Western European and Other States Group, as its Chair and Yuliana Angelova (Bulgaria), from the Group of Eastern European States, as Vice‑Chair. It deferred the election of Bureau members from other regional groups to its next meeting.
Also speaking today were representatives of Mauritania and Bangladesh.