Briefing by Department on International Conference on Population Development +5

Social Development

03 November 1998
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WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
4 November 1998
BRIEFING BY DEPARTMENT ON INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POPULATION DEVELOPMENT +5

Documents handed out:
Report on the ICPD + 5 Review and Appraisal process, National Population Unit (Appendix 1)
Statement by Dr Nafis Sadik to the Commission on Population Development, UN, New York on 24 February 1998 (Appendix 2)
UNFPA Information note on UNFPA and ICPD + 5 (Appendix 3

SUMMARY
Recent progress on international decisions on population development were presented to the Committee. The South African aspect was discussed and achievements in this regard reported to the Committee. A steering committee meeting was to be held on Monday, 9 November 1998.

DETAILED MINUTES
Mr Jasper, Director of the National Population Unit, reported on the progress of his unit to the committee. He emphasised that it had been vital to select a manageable number of key departments and commissions to carry the work forward. These six departments were the other Chief Directorates in the Department of Welfare, Home Affairs, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Agriculture, Land Affairs and Water Affairs and Forestry. There were also financial and time constraints involved. Both the Gender Commission and the National Youth Commission were considered key partners in this process. It was hoped to have involved NGOs but time restrictions had made this difficult. However the steering committee will include representatives of NGOs and they will be invited to the consultative forum in November 1998, as well as representatives from provincial government departments. The review requested by February 1999 must be completed by the South African Government in order to brief the official delegation, led by the Minister of Welfare and Population Development, to the International Forum at the Hague, the Netherlands from 22 - 27 February 1999.

The United National General Assembly will meet for the 52nd session on 30 June to 2 July 1999. Prior to that, decisions taken at UNFPA Executive Board (May 1997) and the Economic and Social Council (July 1997) together with the meeting at the Hague will be considered.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) stated that there was very little time left to discuss all the vital matters and Ms Malan (NP) expressed her dissatisfaction with the government for allowing so little time for the committee to consider these developments, when they had known the dates for the international conferences at which South Africa's input was required for a long time. To consult provincial departments and governments was bound to take considerable time.

Ms Phoko (deputy) in the National Population Unit briefed the committee on gender equality, empowerment for women, reproductive and health rights, mobility, migration, all of which aspects were relevant to population development. She mentioned the Food Summit in Rome, the Asian forum in Bangkok, the Inter-American Forum in New York and meetings in Brussels and London.

Mr George (NP) asked how the committee could meet when Parliament was going into recess. A steering committee meeting would be held on Monday, 9 November 1998. It was decided to prioritise health, education and welfare as key elements in achieving sustainable population development in South Africa.

Appendix 1: Population & Development Conference (ICPD+5) Review: report

DEPARTMENT OF WELFARE

NATIONAL POPULATION UNIT

REPORT TO MEMBERS OF CABINET

ON THE ICPD+5 REVIEW AND APPRAISAL PROCESS

This report serves to inform members of Cabinet about details of the ICPD+5 Review and Appraisal process. It also paves the way for the tabling of the country report on ICPD+5 in January 1999.

1. INTRODUCTION

September 1999 will mark the fifth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in September 1994. The ICPD introduced a paradigm shift with regard to international thinking on the relationships between population, development and environment issues. The Programme of Action that emanated from the ICPD reflects this new thinking: it places population at the centre of all development strategies and regards population as the driving force and ultimate beneficiary of all development efforts, aimed at promoting sustainable human development. The South African Government is a co-signatory to the ICPD Programme of Action, and as such it is obliged to participate in periodic reviewing and appraising of progress made with the implementation of the Programme of Action.

2. REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ICPD PROGRAMME OF ACTION

Since 1994, government departments in South Africa and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have developed and implemented a huge variety of policies and strategies in the field of population and development, which support the implementation of the recommendations contained in the ICPD Programme of Action. Now, five years after the ICPD, governments which participated in the ICPD in 1994, are requested to review and appraise their efforts over the past five years in implementing the Programme of Action recommendations. This means that the South African Government also has to embark on a comprehensive process of review and appraisal for this purpose. This exercise has to be completed by February 1999, when an official delegation, lead by the Minister for Welfare and Population Development, will represent the South African Government at the International Forum at The Hague, The Netherlands.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 52/188 (formerly A/C2/52/L.43) on 18 December 1997, which stipulates that a report on "Proposals on the process and modalities for the review and appraisal of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development" should be prepared for submission to the 52nd Session of the General Assembly, scheduled from 30 June to 2 July 1999. This resolution is supported by decisions taken at the annual meeting of the UNFPA Executive Board (May 1997) and the Economic and Social Council (July 1997). The report and the outcome of the International Forum to be held from 22 to 27 February 1999 at The Hague, will be submitted to the annual session of the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board in March 1999, and finally to the General Assembly which will meet in June/July 1999 in New York. Progress and challenges in implementing strategies on population and development will be the focus of the world leaders when they meet.

3. ICPD+5 PROCESS IN SOUTH AFRICA

As part of the preparations for the fifth anniversary of the ICPD, the national Department of Welfare, through the National Population Unit (NPU), has set a process in motion July this year to coordinate the process of compiling a country report for South Africa on the implementation of the Programme of Action during the past five years. Inputs for the report are being gathered from government departments, especially those whose line functions are critical to population dynamics. These departments and their counterparts in civil society are mainly responsible for implementing programmes that relate specifically to the contents of the Programme of Action.

During September and October this year, departmental coordinators (see 4.1 and 4.2 below) were briefed individually in order to orientate them on the ICPD+5 Review and Appraisal process, and to assist them to produce the technical inputs on the basis of the respective line functions of the departments. The inputs from departments should be submitted to the NPU during the third week of October 1998, after which a draft report will be compiled on the basis of inputs received. The draft country report should be ready early in November, in time for the ICPD+5 Consultative Forum later in Pretoria in November 1998. Representatives from all government departments and the non-governmental community will be invited to participate in the Forum in order to give all stakeholders an opportunity to elaborate and approve the contents of the draft report. The report will be amended and completed in December 1998 on the basis of the outcome of the Consultative Forum.

The Minister for Welfare and Population Development will table the report in Cabinet in January 1999, and present it to the International Forum at the Hague in February 1999. A South African delegation of three people, including a representative from the non-governmental community, will be appointed to attend, with the Minister, the International Forum at The Hague. The report will also be submitted to the Portfolio Committee for Welfare and Population Development for final inputs before its submission to Cabinet in January 1999.

4. MECHANISMS AND PROCEDURES TO FACILITATE THE ICPD+5 PROCESS

4.1 Steering Committee

A high-level Steering Committee, consisting mainly of Directors-General of critical departments, has been established to oversee the ICPD+5 process. The Steering Committee will be chaired by the Director-General: Welfare. The six critical departments, targeted by the NPU for the current operational year, are the other Chief Directorates in the Department of Welfare, as well as the Departments of Education, Health, Home Affairs, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Agriculture, Land Affairs, and Water Affairs and Forestry. The Gender Commission and the National Youth Commission are also considered as key partners and are involved in the ICPD+5 process. Due to severe time and financial constraints, it was necessary to select a manageable number of key Departments and Commissions whose line functions relate closely to major population concerns. The rationale is to give focus to advocacy and interdepartmental liaison activities undertaken during the current operational year. However, this does not exclude the possibility' to involve other key departments where deemed necessary to address major population and development concerns that should be attended to in the ICPD+5 and subsequent national action planning processes.

4.2 Departmental coordinators

Directors-General of critical departments were requested to each nominate a coordinator to collaborate with the NPU in order to produce the ICPD+5 country report. They produce the multisectoral technical inputs required to compile the contents of the draft country report. It is expected that this collaborative and multisectoral approach would enhance the quality and authenticity of the national review. In addition, it will encourage stakeholders to take ownership of the country report and actively commit themselves to follow-up activities, including action planning and the implementation of the population policy.

4.3 Non-governmental organisations

Initially, it was envisaged that NGOs should be involved throughout the review and appraisal process. This would ensure that their inputs and perspectives would be contained in the country report. However, due to severe time restrictions for the finalisation of the country report, NGOs could not be involved as envisaged. This limitations will be partially overcome by including representatives from the non-governmental community in the Steering Committee (see 4.1), while also consulting them during the process of compiling the country report. These representatives will also be invited to participate in the Consultative Forum in November 1998.

4.4 Provincial participation

Ideally, a similar process for generating departmental inputs for the country report should be followed at provincial level. However, representatives from provincial government departments, as well as representatives from non-governmental organisations at provincial level, will be invited to attend the Consultative Forum. One representative will also be included in the official delegation to The Hague in February 1999.

It should be noted that the ICPD+5 Review and Appraisal process is regarded as an opportunity to be used even beyond The Hague. This means that multisectoral relationships that have been established during the process, as well as the outcome of the process, should serve as a useful point of departure for launching the national action planning process for operationalising the new Population Policy for South Africa. In this context, provincial participation is an essential prerequisite for the success of the rest of the planning process, from 1999 onwards.

5. THE ROLE OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT

The role of the Portfolio Committee is critical to this process. The Committee will be involved in the process, especially with regard to evaluating the country report before its tabling in Cabinet in January 1999. From the national perspective, the culmination of JCPD+5 activities covers the period of the Consultative Forum, scheduled for November 1998, to the Minister's presentation of the country report to Cabinet in January 1999. The Portfolio Committee will be briefed on the contents of the country report after the Consultative Forum in November 1998. Furthermore, the NPU will secure a standing agenda item on ICPD+5 for regular Portfolio Committee meetings to ensure the flow of periodic progress reports.

7. IN CONCLUSION

It is expected that the ICPD + 5 Review and Appraisal process will have specific benefits for South Africa. One of the most significant benefits is that it will form the basis for launching a national action planning process aimed at operationalising the new population policy. The involvement of representatives of government departments required for producing the ICPD+5 country report will strengthen intersectoral collaboration and commitment for national action planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the population policy. As a matter of fact, the country report will lay an empirical basis for national action planning through the identification of achievements, lessons learned, obstacles and loopholes in population and development interventions in this country.

DATE OF REPORT:

15 OCTOBER 1998.

Appendix 2: Statement by Dr. Nafis Sadik


Statement by Dr. Nafis Sadik
Executive Director

United Nations Population Fund

to the Commission on Population and Development

United Nations

New York

Tuesday, 24 February 1998

Mr President, Members of the Commission

First, let me thank you for your invitation to address you today. I am sorry that I was not able to attend yesterday. UNFPA presented documents on four issues – monitoring health and mortality activities; NGOs; the Inter-agency Task Force on Basic Social Services for All, and resource flows for population. As chair of the BSSA Task Force, I would like also to report on the organization of the Technical Symposium on Migration and Development as requested at the last session. I am happy to tell you that participants have been identified, and invitations have gone out to attend in their personal capacity. You will find their names, together with a draft agenda at the back of the room, as well as a note on the symposium. I am also pleased to report that Austria and Norway have agreed to support the symposium, which will be held in the Hague with the support of the Netherlands Government.

I would like to offer my personal compliments and congratulations to the members of the Commission for your very constructive work over the last four years. The Commission is the keystone of the three-tier structure set up to maintain the momentum of the International Conference on Population and Development. As such, it has become the primary arena for discussion of progress in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action and issues arising from experience. You have succeeded beyond expectations in focussing both national and international attention on population and development issues.

This is a very important session of the Commission, because it will begin the process of preparation for the Special Session of the General Assembly scheduled for 30 June – 2 July 1999. The Commission meets only once more before the Special Session, and there is a great deal to be done.

I know that all of you are eager that the Special Session should be a substantive, action-oriented meeting, and that its outcomes should reflect a frank assessment not only of the progress made in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action, but of the challenges and obstacles still remaining and ways to overcome them, including mobilizing the resources required. As the General Assembly resolution on the Special Session (A/C.2/52/L.43) states, there should be no renegotiation of agreements reached in Cairo during the process which led to the Programme of Action. Your countries’ intention in calling for the Special Session was that it should offer a clear and authoritative guide to future action to implement these agreements.

Our successful arrival at such an outcome calls for a thorough and focussed process of preparation. I am very happy to know that you have set up a working group at this session of the Commission to make recommendations on this process, and I look forward to our close co-operation.

Your aim is to establish a mechanism which will represent all the relevant groups, interests and points of view, and draw together the various substantive issues into a coherent framework for discussion and action. In my position as the Secretary-General of the ICPD, Chair of the Inter-agency Task Force on implementing the Programme of Action and Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Basic Social Services for All, I have had the opportunity to meet with many Governments, organizations and individuals, and to discuss with them issues arising from ICPD and implementation of the Programme of Action. I am most grateful for the confidence you have shown in me; and I hope you will permit me to offer some tentative suggestions on how the process might unfold in the coming months.

The landmarks are:

–this year’s session of ECOSOC

– the International Forum on Population and Development to be held in February 1999;

–the 1999 session of the CPD, when it meets in open-ended session as the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session;

–and finally the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, from 30 June – 2 July 1999.

I would propose the following arrangement:

As the General Assembly resolution says, the next session of this Commission will have for its consideration the outcome of the quinquennial review and appraisal by the Secretary-General of the United Nations of implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. This Report should also give an overall assessment of the progress achieved and constraints faced in the implementation of the Programme of Action.

When the Commission meets in open-ended session as the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session it should have before it only one document, the draft of the Secretary-General’s report for the Special Session of the General Assembly. The Report should be short, concise and action-oriented.

The process would begin with an annotated outline for the Secretary-General’s Report which would be presented to ECOSOC at its 1998 session. In order to assist the working group and facilitate your substantive discussions, I will be happy to take responsibility for preparing the draft annotated outline, and subsequently the full Report for your consideration, in full and close co-operation with the Population Division. I look forward to your guidance on the structure of the Report, which might follow the format established by the Programme of Action in presenting, with regard to the relevant chapters of the Programme of Action, progress made since ICPD and obstacles to implementation; what remains to be done, and future action to secure full implementation.

The Forum which we are proposing to hold in February 1999 will make an important contribution to the Secretary-General’s Report and UNFPA has been in close consultation with Governments on its organization. The Forum will be attended by 120 programme countries, as well as international organizations, NGOs and civil society organizations. In preparation for the Forum, four issues of special concern have been identified which will be discussed at four informal round tables. The subjects are adolescent reproductive health; reproductive health and reproductive rights, including the empowerment of women and the responsibility of men for reproductive health; the involvement of civil society in implementing ICPD, and population and macro-economic linkages. Three technical meetings will also provide inputs, on international migration (as directed by this Commission); on the implications of population ageing, and on reproductive health in emergency situations.

In addition, UNFPA is conducting an intensive process of consultation with governments, international organizations and civil society. We hope to be able to document the many successes and considerable progress since ICPD in many areas: but we will also identify problems and difficulties encountered in the process of implementation.

United Nations regional commissions will be holding their regular conferences during which they will take ICPD implementation into account, and we expect that there will be some sub-regional meetings to discuss specific issues of concern. You will find more details in a conference room paper on the tables behind you.

I have been impressed by the enthusiasm of NGOs at both national and international levels for the ICPD process. I believe that governments welcome increasing engagement of the civil society as an important contribution to their efforts. As time goes by, national NGOs in particular are becoming more and more an integral part of implementation mechanisms. We will include in the Forum NGOs, women leaders; parliamentarians; media institutions and other civil society organizations in our consultations, and benefit from their experience. We expect a good representation from civil society at the Forum itself, and we are also looking into the possibility of a NGO meeting in connection with the Forum.

The Forum will have before it a paper based on the discussions of the various meetings and consultations as well as the quinquennial review and appraisal. The recommendations of the Forum should be of an operational nature. Drawing on experience, they will point clearly to future action. The Forum will be held, by kind invitation of the Government, in the Netherlands. I note with pleasure the strong commitment of the Netherlands to the ICPD process, and I very much welcome this further evidence of their support.

The Forum will be an opportunity for frank and open discussion of both positive and negative aspects of ICPD implementation, drawn from operational experience. The Forum’s report will be one of the documents presented to this Commission at its 1999 session for your consideration as part of the review of experience.

The next meeting of the Commission will therefore have for its consideration the quinquennial review and appraisal prepared by the United Nations Population Division. and the Report of the Forum. As the Director of the Population Division told you yesterday, discussions between UNFPA and the Population Division have brought to our attention the need for a further document synthesizing the findings of the quinquennial review and the Forum, for consideration by the Preparatory Committee as the Secretary-General’s Report for the Special Session of the General Assembly. We seek your concurrence for this document, and hope that you will offer guidance on its preparation.

I have outlined an extensive and inclusive process which responds to the commitment and desires of the members of this Commission, of governments of all countries and of the civil society. Our common aim is the successful implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. I believe that it is important to use the time between now and the Special Session to deliberate on the challenges before us and on action needed to meet them. The ICPD Programme of Action stretches into every area of family, community and national life: its full implementation is a key to the realization of human rights and of the full development of each individual woman and man. It is fitting that the United Nations system should do justice to the importance of the Programme of Action by preparing a process which will spur countries to take decisive and focussed action.

I hope that the Commission will find these suggestions worthy of consideration. I wish you every success in your deliberations.

Appendix 3: UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA)

Information Note on UNFPA and ICPD + 5

The year 1999 will be the fifth anniversary of the ICPD. To mark this event, a comprehensive review of the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action at the country level will be undertaken. Particular emphasis will be on the constraints and obstacles countries have encountered in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action. The review would be carried out in consultation and cooperation with all concerned partners - governments, the United Nations system and various groups in civil Society, including NGOs, parliamentarians, academic institutions, foundations and private sector groups.

In response to decisions at the annual meeting of the UNFPA Executive Board (May 1997) and the Economic and Social Council (July 1997), a report on "Proposals on the process and modalities for the review and appraisal of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development" is being prepared for submission to the 52nd Session of the General Assembly. The Economic and Social Council recommended that the fifty-second session of the General Assembly decide on the process and modalities of the Assembly's review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action of the international Conference on Population and Development. This report will include consolidated recommendations from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), UNFPA, the regional Commissions and other relevant United Nations entities on activities to be undertaken in preparation for the review and appraisal.

As part of the broader ICPD review process, UNFPA will work with countries in analysing the operational experience in implementing the Programme of Action, with particular attention to drawing out "lessons learned." This would encompass both operational research and events such as round tables and expert group meetings. Many of these would he part of UNFPA's regular work programme, while others would be funded or sponsored by Governments and foundations.

UNFPA will assist countries to carry out a systematic analysis of their experiences in

operationalizing the Programme of Action, identifying facilitating and constraining factors. In its dialogue with countries, UNFPA would assist in articulating a strategy designed to respond to existing and foreseeable constraints in order that countries could achieve the agreed-upon ICPD goals more expeditiously.

At the global and regional level a number of special activities will be carried out. Research studios will be commissioned and expert meetings will be convened to address key cluster topics, e.g., population and development linkages, reproductive health, with special attention to the needs of adolescents; gender equality and the empowerment of women; the role and participation of civil society organisations in implementing the Programme of Action; and resource mobilisation. At the regional level, UNFPA will work with the UN regional commissions to ascertain progress to date and strategies for realizing goals agreed to in regional conferences prior to ICPD as well as ICPD goals.

Another aspect of the ICPD + 5 review exercise would be to assess the impact of a shortage of resources on the prospects for achieving ICPD goals. This would involve thorough analysis of the actual funding being channelled to population compared to the target levels laid out in the Programme of Action. Such an analysis would include data from both donor and developing countries as to the amount of domestic resources going to population activities. It is hoped that the very process of the implementation review might spur governments and the private sector to channel additional support to population programmes.

It is anticipated that the comprehensive country level review and related special activities would culminate in an international forum (along the lines of the 1989 Amsterdam Forum organized by UNFPA), to be held early in 1999. This forum would bring together the various partners in the review process to identify ways of responding more effectively to countries' needs. The forum would have before it a background paper synthesizing the country level analyses. The report of the forum would be submitted to the UNFPA Executive Board in 1999 (coinciding with the 30th anniversary of UNFPA). The outcome of the forum would be part of the review and appraisal of the Commission on Population and Development, which would subsequently be submitted to the 1999 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council, and ultimately, to the General Assembly at a two day plenary meeting during its 54th session, if such a event is agreed to.

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