Implementation of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration and the programme of action of the ICPDICPD+5 logo



The ICPD marks a turning point in population policy development for all member States of the United Nations family. It has provided the opportunity for reformulation and/or reorientation of previous policies that were devoid of sustainable development considerations. Implementing ICPD-PA recommendations in various thematic areas will require in each ECA member State, "the evolution of a national consensus on the policy, legal and institutional implications of the concepts and on the action needed to convert them into reality. Not only the governments but also all the actors in civil society have to commit themselves fully and unequivocally to this process" (Singh, J. S., Creating a New Consensus on population (Earthscan Publications Ltd. London, 1998).


This report which has been prepared in the context of the quinquennial review and assessment of the implementation of the ICPD-PA as mandated in the General Assembly Resolution (52/188) of 18th December 1997, assesses the extent to which ECA member States have utilized the DND and the ICPD-PA recommendations in the formulation and implementation of their NPPs. Indications are that a significant number of them have done so despite several constraints. A number of them have also mobilized additional internal resources for the implementation of these NPPs.


It will be important for each ECA member State to learn from success stories, but it will be equally important for each of them to identify, early on, the problems and constraints that impede progress. The lack of infrastructure and trained personnel and a serious shortfall of resources remain serious problems in most of these States and will slow down efforts to realize the commitments accepted at Cairo unless the international community demonstrates a clear resolve to help them overcome these constraints. The full involvement of the NGOs sector, including women's groups, in policy dialogues and consultation at all levels, and increasing their participation in advocacy, information and service delivery projects, is not only desirable but necessary. The identification and examination of best practices can contribute significantly to the formulation and implementation of effective policies and programmes. Consideration of best practices tends to show how constraints can be overcome and how broad principles (such as integration and mainstreaming) can be operationalized.


Nonetheless, it is essential that best practices evolve over time in light of experiences and changes in needs and that in each case, a best practice should be adapted before it is adopted. While implementation of a specific measure, such as dissemination of research findings to policy makers or revision of a law, may constitute a step in the right direction, it may not signify that a key objective has been attained. Moreover, in such key areas as reproductive health (RH) care services; information, education and communication (IEC) activities; and data management, needs are likely to evolve over time. Equally, an assessment of achievements since the adoption of the ICPD-PA necessarily focuses on the adoption and implementation of policies and programmes as distinct from actual changes in social, economic and demographic conditions. Even within some States, there are substantial differences in the extent to which new policies and programmes have been successfully launched and implemented.


Accordingly, given the diversity of ECA member States, generalisations and conclusions about their achievements and best practices since the adoption of the two development frameworks are necessarily approximative and should be considered tentative; albeit it remains true that many of the member States are moving in the same direction to tackle such problems as high maternal mortality, the spread of HIV/AIDS and insufficient access to reproductive health information and services, among others.


The report draws on a variety of sources including ECA administered Country Questionnaire as well as regional and sub-regional reports. Among the reports are analyses of lessons learnt as compiled by UNFPA Country Support Teams and two ECA field missions in 12 selected member States to document achievements, best practices and constraints in the implementation of the ICPD-PA recommendations. At the time of preparing this report (i.e. end of October 1998), only 41 completed Country Questionnaires (out of an expected total of 53) had been received. The indicated percentages of the various responses in the Report are based on this number. The content is in three parts.


In the first, some background information is provided on the demographic dynamics, socio-economic dimensions, population and development interrelationships and policies and programmes in the ECA region. The second part is in two sections. The first section presents a report of the third meeting of the Follow-up Committee (FUC.3) held from 23 to 25 September 1998 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to assess the achievements, best practices and constraints experienced by ECA member States while implementing the recommendations of the DND and the ICPD-PA. The second section presents the main recommendations of FUC.3. The third part contains the report of such implementation in the following thematic areas: reproductive health and reproductive rights; family, youth and adolescents; gender equality, equity, empowerment of women and male involvement; role of NGOs and the private sector in programme evaluation and coordination; population development strategy, policy and institutional mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, evaluation and coordination; and advocacy and IEC strategies. (The report incorporates the observations and comments made by the third meeting of the Follow-up Committee (FUC3). It was also enriched by the inclusion of the findings from analyses of (i) additional questionnaires received after the FUC3; (ii) open-ended questions in the completed questionnaires; and (iii) UNFPA Country Questionnaire on "Inquiry of the country level experience since ICPD".)


Visit the introduction or one of the thematic areas identified in the assessment below.




 Theme 1 Reproductive health and rights

Reproductive health & rights

 Theme 2 Family, youth and adolescents

Family, youth & adolescents

 Theme 3 Gender empowerment

Gender empowerment

 Theme 4 NGO and private sector roles

NGO & private sector roles

 Theme 5 Policy and development strategies

Policy & development strategies

 Theme 6 Advocacy and IEC Strategies

Advocacy & IEC Strategies