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

 

Home
Home

PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRD FOLLOW-UP COMMITTEE MEETING

23-25 September 1998, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

Table of contents

 

   Attendance and organization of work

 

   Welcome address and introductory remarks

 

   Process and modalities for the ICPD+5 review

 

   General presentation of the Report on African experiences

 

   Thematic presentation and discussion:

 

   Reproductive health & rights

 

   Family, youth & adolescents

 

   Gender empowerment

 

   NGO & private sector roles

 

   Policy & development strategies

 

   Advocacy & IEC Strategies

 

Top
Table of Contents

Attendance and organization of work

The Third Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration (DND) and the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD-PA) was held at ECA Headquarters, Addis Ababa, from 23 to 25 September 1998. Mr. K.Y.Amoako, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa opened the Conference. Representatives from UNFPA, OAU, ADB, as well as the Chairperson of the Africa Population Commission (APC) and the Chairperson of the Follow-up Committee on the implementation of DND and ICPD-PA delivered introductory remarks.

The Committee was attended by representatives of the following African States: Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte D'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Republic of South Africa, Republic of Tanzania, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

 

Also attending the Committee were representatives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the African Development Bank, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organizations that have been mandated to work with ECA in carrying out the activities of the Committee.

 

Representatives of the following organizations and institutions also participated at the Committee: Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographiques (IFORD), Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), Population and Human Resources Development in Africa/African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (PHRDA/IDEP), Center d'Etudes et de Recherches sur la Population pour le Développement (CERPOD), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), South-South Cooperation, Forum des Parlementaires africains et arabes sur la population et le développment (FAAPPD), and Center for African Family Studies (CAFS).

 

The composition of the Bureau was as follows:

  • Chairperson Senegal

  • First Vice-Chairperson - Egypt

  • Second Vice-Chairperson - Kenya

  • First Rapporteur - Rwanda

  • Second Rapporteur Namibia

 

Table of
contents
Table of Contents

Welcome address and introductory remarks

Mr. K. Y. Amoako, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), welcomed the Committee to Addis Ababa, to the ECA, and to the Third meeting of the Follow-up Committee on the implementation of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration (DND) and the ICPD-PA. He referred to the importance of the follow-up which was stressed at several key Committee meetings since 1992, and to the creation of the Follow-up Committee, in 1993. He also commended the partnership between ECA, OAU, ADB, UNFPA, including the three Country Support Teams (CSTs) based in Africa, and the Regional Institutes on population and development. Furthermore, he alluded to the many useful Committees organized over the last years to reflect on the achievements and constraints.

 

Among the achievements in the area of population in Africa, the Executive Secretary added that many countries now have a policy and institutional frameworks. These have contributed to the progress in the area of population and development, in reproductive health, reproductive rights, and IEC, for example. However, he noted that several areas need further improvement, including advocacy, and involvement of civil society and the private sector. Further more, some social and economic factors hinder the implementation of the DND and ICPD-PA, including the reduction in the social sector spending. This contributes to increased poverty and reduced access to health and education. African Governments face an enormous task to reduce the incidence of high fertility, high infant and maternal mortality rates, as well as the spread of malaria and HIV/AIDS.

 

Mr. Amoako then referred to the ICPD+5 process which will lead us to the General Assembly in June-July 1999 and indicated that already several activities have been undertaken, including analysis of questionnaires sent to all African countries and missions to some ECA member States to identify best practices and constraints. Finally, he highlighted the critical role of the Committee in reviewing success and challenges, in consolidating the African experience into a report, and in identifying key future actions needed to accelerate progress.

 

Ms. Virginia Ofosu-Amaah, Director of the Africa Division at UNFPA Headquarters, welcomed the meeting and indicated the pleasure of UNFPA to work with the ECA, OAU and ADB in partnership. She reminded the meeting about how African Governments were concerned, in 1992 in Dakar, about population matters in their countries; how they decided to take the prime responsibility to improve the quality of life of their people; and how they established targets to be reached by years 2000 and 2010. She also referred to the ICPD+5 process leading to the General Assembly, which will give an opportunity to Governments and partners to recommit themselves to the ICPD-PA. Several Round Tables, technical meetings and a symposium on several population-related issues will have taken place before the International Forum on ICPD-PA Implementation to be held in The Hague, in February 1999.

 

The Director then referred to some of the main issues emerging from the analysis conducted so far by UNFPA. Among the achievements, she mentioned the increased number of countries with population policies, the increased partnership among governments, NGOs, women and youth groups, and local communities in population-related activities. She also referred to the persistence of strong traditional values as a key obstacle to achieving gender equality and empowering women. Although there was significant progress in most countries in improving access to, and quality of reproductive health (RH) services, more efforts need to be made to better address the needs of the under-served groups as UNFPA is now more involved in addressing the needs of these populations.

 

Ms. Virginia Ofosu-Amaah noted that refugees and displaced populations should also have better access to RH services. In this respect and as a result of the Rwanda crisis, she reported that the UNFPA Executive Board mandated UNFPA to address the reproductive and sexual health of refugees and currently UNFPA was working with UNICEF, UNHCR and NGOs on this. Several constraints remain in the goal of universal access to reproductive health services. These include limited access to truly integrated services; insufficient trained personnel, inadequate financial resources, ineffective advocacy strategies, etc. Ms. Virginia Ofosu-Amaah stressed the little progress in HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa and called for a considerable stepping up of efforts in this area, so that achievements in the economic, social and health sectors are not eroded. Violence against women, including female genital mutilation (FGM), is also part of the ICPD-PA, and Ms Ofosu-Amaah reminded the meeting about the African Initiative on gender-based violence launched recently during the 40th Anniversary of the ECA.

 

Ms. Ofosu-Amoah further noted that UNFPA has been giving increased attention and financial assistance to population activities in Africa. But still the mobilization of adequate resources is a concern, as the financial support of a number of key donors have stagnated or fallen. All countries have to advocate for more funding for population activities, and the private sector should be taped for resources. Finally, she referred to the special needs of adolescents and of youths, which need to be addressed as priority concerns.

 

Lt. Col. Chris Ugokwe, Chairman of the African Population Commission (APC) first expressed his appreciation to the Joint ECA/OAU/ADB Secretariat in liaison with UNFPA for their efforts at convening the meeting. He then recalled the participation of the APC at the OAU Council of Ministers and Assembly of Heads of States, in 1994, in Tunis when the Tunis Declaration on Population and Development was adopted. He reminded the meeting about the role of the APC in the formulation of the African Common Position during the ICPD and in the preparation of the African submission to the 1995 World Conference on Women. The task of the meeting is heavy, he said, referring to the agenda of the meeting and to the fact that the Committee is the technical arm of the APC, and that the deliberations will reach and engage the Council of Ministers and Heads of States.

 

The Chairman of APC went on to highlight some of the activities, progress and findings of the APC over recent years. Some of the recent activities of the APC include forging collaboration and partnership with other key African Population Institutions, participating in many international conferences, and conducting field visits to seven African countries. He then mentioned some of the key findings of these field visits.

 

Lt. Col. Ugokwe informed the Committee about the financial difficulties met while implementing the 1997-1999 APC workplan, adopted in 1997. He added that the ADB is now committed to be more involved and supportive of APC's activities, and that the Government of Nigeria has already allocated an amount of $60,000 for the APC.

 

On behalf of the senior management of the African Development Bank Group, Ms. Almaz Amine, the representative of ADB joined the ECA Executive Secretary and the Director of the Africa Division of UNFPA in welcoming the Committee to the meeting. She then reported that the African Development Bank has placed population matters high on its agenda. To this effect, she reported, the Bank Group had adopted a policy on population issues in 1993 that provides a framework for the expansion of its activities in the population sector; fosters a dialogue with member States; stimulates inter-agency cooperation; and provides leadership to member countries in their efforts to develop and implement successful population policies and programs.

 

Narrating the important activities that the Bank Group has been undertaking in the area of population, the representative of ADB said that the Bank Group has collaborated with OAU and ECA in establishing the African Population Commission in May 1994 as well as in organizing workshops and other activities designed to promote and enhance population activities in member countries. Moreover, she reported, ADB held a fruitful meeting with APC on 17 and 18 September 1998 to define areas of close collaboration between ADB and the APC.

 

The ADB representative stated that the Bank Group has embarked on assisting some member States to implement the recommendations of the DND and the ICPD-PA through financing projects and programs in the area of poverty reduction, health, education, gender and population.

 

In conclusion, Ms. Almaz indicated the high importance that the ADB attaches to the Third Follow-up Committee meeting and wished the Committee to critically review the African experience in the implementation of the DND and ICPD-PA.

 

Like the previous speakers, Mr. Hassan, the representative of OAU welcomed the participants to the meeting. He then stated that the Follow-up Committee and the Joint ECA/OAU/ADB Secretariat have been evaluating and following up the progress member States have made in the implementation of the DND and ICPD-PA.

 

Towards substantiating OAU's keen interest in population and development activities in the region, the representative mentioned the Organization's contribution to the creation of the APC, the assessment made by the Follow-up Committee in the implementation of the DND and ICPD-PA, and the activities undertaken in sensitization and advocacy. Furthermore, he said, the Treaty of the African Economic Community endorsed by OAU has given great importance to population and development factors.

 

Despite the improvements made by member countries in the implementation of DND and ICPD-PA, the OAU representative stated, there still remained serious challenges to arrest the widespread poverty exacerbated by rapid population growth, and to promote social and economic development on a sustainable basis. Levels and trends of some socio-demographic indicators were cited to indicate the extent of the challenge. He noted that the progress made by member countries in achieving demographic transition was largely in those countries where governments have managed to alleviate poverty, increase GDP growth rates, make improvements in reproductive health and family planning services, reduce mortality levels and improve literacy levels and health care. Thus, he said, other member countries should learn a lesson from such an experience.

 

In conclusion, the OAU representative highlighted what was expected of the meeting and appealed to all member countries to implement the DND and ICPD-PA with more commitments and resource mobilization. He also appealed to donor agencies to provide financial assistance to African countries to help them realize their commitment towards implementing the DND and ICPD-PA.

 

Joining the previous speakers, Ms Rokhaya Sene, Chairperson of the Follow-up Committee, thanked the ECA/OAU/ADB and UNFPA for the organization of the meeting and for their assistance in the field of population in Africa. The current session of this Committee is important because it provides a forum for a regional review towards ICPD+5, which will provide an indication of trends and whose findings will be brought to the attention of Ministers and Heads of States. Ms. Sene referred to the fact that since Bucharest (1974), the principle of the interdependence between demographic and socio-economic variables has been recognized and since Kilimandjaro (1984), Africa has opted for a global and integrated approach in the field of population and development. Still, she reminded the meeting that Africa has high population growth and fertility rates which slow down development, and which should be reduced. She called on member countries to redesign their strategies to give adequate importance to the socio-economic conditions of individuals, in the context of increasing poverty.

 

Ms Sene highlighted some priority areas. High mortality exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic; the need to address the specific needs of adolescents; the unequal distribution of development between different regions in a given country; the inadequate understanding of the cultural, economic and social factors associated with demographic behaviors; the inadequacy of financial resources; and the weakness of the commitment from African countries to tackle the issues of population.

 

Table of
contents
Table of Contents

Process and modalities for the ICPD+5 review and appraisal of DND and ICPD-PA

Introducing this agenda item, (Doc. FSSDD/ICPD/FC.3/98/4), a representative of the Secretariat informed the meeting that the regional review and appraisal of ICPD+5 has compiled and analyzed experiences at the country level with a view to identifying achievements, best practices and constraints in achieving the goals of the ICPD-PA as well as key actions to overcome these constraints and meet the needs of ECA member States.

 

He informed the meeting that the Report of the planned International Forum (February 1999) in the Hague will serve, through the ECOSOC, as an input to the report of the Secretary General which is to be submitted to the Special Session of the 54th General Assembly from 30 June to 2 July 1999 for its review of the ICPD-PA. At the regional level, other meetings and events designed as input to the review and appraisal of the ICPD-PA have been scheduled by several of the United Nations bodies including the Regional Commissions.

 

The representative then reviewed the activities conducted by the Joint ECA/OAU/ADB Secretariat in collaboration with UNFPA towards the preparation of the regional input to ICPD+5. In this regard, the meeting was informed that a Country Questionnaire for assessing national implementation of the DND and the ICPD-PA was sent to all ECA member States and two field missions to twelve ECA member States were undertaken by the ECA to identify achievements, best practices and constraints in such implementation. Furthermore, the meeting was informed that the report of its current session on the implementation of the DND and the ICPD-PA will be revised and presented to the first session of the ECA Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD1), scheduled for January 1999. A summary of such report will be made available to the Hague Forum in February 1999 and a Statement on the implementation will also be prepared and submitted for endorsement by the OAU Summit of Head of States in June-July 1999

 

Finally, the representative of the secretariat informed the meeting about other activities of the Joint ECA/OAU/ADB Secretariat including the organization and servicing of the Seminar on Population Policy (Nairobi: March 1998); First Meeting of the Working Group for the Follow-up Committee (Dakar: May 1998); and the Third General Assembly of the African Population Commission (Abuja: April 1999).

 

Table of
contents
Table of Contents

General presentation of the Report on African experiences in the implementation of DND and ICPD-PA

Introducing this agenda item (Doc. FSSDD/ICPD/FC.3/1998/3), a representative of the Secretariat informed the meeting that the report which has been prepared in the context of the 5-yearly review and assessment of the implementation of ICPD-PA, outlines the main achievements and constraints as well as best practices as derived from reported national experiences in the course of implementing the DND and the ICPD-PA.

 

The ICPD-PA, according to the representative, has marked a turning point in population policy development as an integral part of overall national development planning by ECA member States. Major changes are taking place in the ways in which population policies are being developed particularly the opportunity for reformulation and/or reorientation of such policies hitherto devoid of sustainable development considerations. In a significant number of cases, the level of awareness about the importance of the population and development nexus especially among central level policy makers and the recognition of the complex interrelationships between population, development, gender and environment has grown considerably. Nevertheless, implementing ICPD-PA recommendations will require in each member State, the evolution of a national consensus on the policy, legal and institutional implications of these concepts as well as on the action needed to convert them into reality.

 

Elaborating on the developments within the new population policy environment, the representative informed the meeting about the main achievements by member States as well as constraints in the areas of population and development strategy; reproductive health and reproductive rights; family, youth and adolescents; gender equality, equity and empowerment of women; NGOs and private sector; institutional mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, evaluation and coordination. He added that the report assesses the extent to which member States have utilized the ICPD-PA recommendations in the formulation and implementation of their National Population Programs (NPPs).

 

Given the constraints to population policy development including the lack of infrastructure and trained personnel and a serious short fall of resources, the representative of the Secretariat noted that a number of member States have mobilized internal resources for the purpose and called upon the international community to demonstrate a clear resolve to help overcome these constraints. He stressed that full involvement of the NGOs sector, including women's groups, in policy dialogues and consultation at all levels as well as increasing their participation in advocacy, information and service delivery projects, is not only desirable but also necessary.

 

In concluding, the representative then called on the meeting to focus attention on recommendations that will capitalize on the achievements and best practices and simultaneously deal with the constraints with a view to charting a path for the way forward in terms of improving on the development and implementation of NPPs within the region.

 

During the discussion, the meeting congratulated the Secretariat for the quality of the report. Regarding the difficulties of retrieving the completed responses, the accuracy of the addresses used by the Secretariat was questioned. The Secretariat explained that the Sub-Regional Development Centers (SRDCs), the UNFPA Country Offices and the identified focal points (for monitoring the implementation of the ICPD-PA) in the member States were all mobilized to follow-up on the retrieval. The meeting was informed that only 36 questionnaires were received by end of August and were used in preparing the report.

 

Commenting on the structure of the report, the meeting observed that the document was heavily focused on reproductive health and reproductive rights with little emphasis on general health and adolescent development issues as education, income generation and employment. It added that there is the need to also highlight the importance of reducing infant and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and to increase life expectancy. Furthermore, the meeting suggested that in revising the report, such achievements as regional networking of youth such as the Youth Forum held at ECA in Addis Ababa in 1997 which led to the adoption of an OAU Resolution on adolescent reproductive health (ARH), and subsequent sub-regional fora in Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, should be included.

 

The meeting then expressed concern about the inadequate treatment of the "Family" and "Refugees" in the report. In accordance with the DND, it observed that the role of the family as a unit in ensuring the improvement of the quality of life of individuals should be clearly acknowledged; the role of the aged in society especially in relation to its impact on population and development should be emphasized; political and social instability which impact on the refugee situation as well as on internally displaced persons should be placed in the right context in the report.

 

Given the interrelationship between the roles of NGOs, the private sector and civil society, the meeting noted that it is essential to distinguish between them when reviewing achievements, constrains and the way forward in the implementation of the ICPD-PA. It was further noted that such distinction is predicated on the differences between ECA member States with respect to the characteristics and performance of NGOs, the private sector and civil society.

 

With regard to IEC and advocacy strategies, the meeting observed that the achievements highlighted in the report have concentrated on the process rather on the impact. For example, IEC and advocacy have played a major role in fertility decline and in resource allocation. This should be recognized. The meeting also noted that the important role played by civil society in advocacy using traditional media should also be recognized. It added that it was essential to spell out in the report how inter-personal communication has been used in the development of IEC and Advocacy strategies.

 

The meeting also observed that it would be important to discuss the progress made towards the achievements of the goals and targets of the ICPD-PA. In response, the Secretariat explained that the limited time frame did not permit the inclusion of analysis of the qualitative targets. Even with the quantitative targets, it was rather too early to assess any achievements made. The meeting then proposed that during the 2000 round of censuses and surveys, member States should collect information to develop indicators for use in evaluating the DND and ICPD-PA targets. Since the questionnaire contained a lot of data whose analysis could be used by relevant institutions and researchers, the meeting then suggested the utilization of the information to create databases.

 

 

 

Visit the Thematic presentation and discussion which followed the above proceedings or visit one of the six thematic areas identified in the assessment of the African experience:

 

 

 

 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

 

 

Top
Top

Home
Home