The upcoming AP Population Conference in Bangkok in mid-September will be a key event for the region. It is tasked with adopting an outcome document (currently in draft) divided into four sections: (a) a preamble; (b) policy directions ;(c) priority actions; and (d) modalities for implementation at the national, regional and global levels. Section III of the draft declaration covers priority actions in the 11 thematic areas deemed critical by governments to ensure further progress in the implementation of the PoA of the ICPD. These areas are drawn from critical population and development issues already identified for the region and are closely linked to the thematic areas identified in the PoA.
As you know the GA resolution on the ICPD beyond 2014 tells us that we should collectively assess the progress and constraints of the PoA to date as well as respond to new and emerging challenges. The resolution also stated that there would be no renegotiation on existing language. Some of the emerging challenges include the lack of age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, the lack of access to contraceptives and more in general SRH services for young people regardless of marital status and the principle of non-discrimination in accessing information and services regardless of gender, ethnicity, caste, sexual orientation, etc. Several reports (ICPD regional survey, MDG reviews etc.) confirmed that there is a lot of support at the political level but that challenges remain with implementation. They also confirmed that health and education represent unfinished business and that inequities are increasing.
The regional outcome document will be important for a number of reasons:
• It will be a regional input to the global ICPD review process – including discussions at the 2014 CPD and UNGA Special Session on ICPD beyond 2014
• It will frame the commitments for the region for the coming years and as we move forward
• It will also act as an important accountability instrument.
The regional outcome document that will be negotiated in September has been reviewed several times and inputs incorporated, including in a preparatory meeting that has seen the active participation of CSO. The current draft contains language in square bracket, representing diverse views expressed during the above-mentioned intergovernmental review processes.
So far about 30 countries have registered for the APPC and many delegations include civil society, young people and parliamentarians. There will likely be between 200 and 300 participants. The meeting will consist of a segment of 3 days for senior officials followed by a 2 day ministerial segment.
The role of civil society – represented here today along with government delegations – will be crucial. CSO played a strong role in shaping the PoA at country, regional and global level in Cairo and we recognize the importance of an inclusive process. This is crucial as the document will provide clear priorities for the next ten years and will be a strong regional input to global level.
Vallese is UNFPA Representative to Nepal. Excerpts of her remarks delivered at the ICOMP regional meeting on ICPD beyond.