Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Commission on Population and Development to Focus on Contribution of ICPD to MDGs

This week (30 March- 3 April) the forty-second session of the Commission on Population and Development will meet at the United Nation's headquarters in New York. The theme this year is "The contribution of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development to the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals."

Founded by the Economic and Social Council in 1946, the Commission is most recently involved in monitoring and assessing the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD 1994). This year's session will focus on lowering population growth, and effective family planning in the least developed nations of the world, in order to reduce overall poverty and remove the barrier to achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Since the 1960's, the least developed nations, many in sub-Saharan Africa, have been unable to reduce their overall fertility rates, leading to rampant population growth. On average, these countries have fertility rates of 4.6 children per woman, which is significantly higher than the estimated goal of 2.17 births per woman to achieve "near-replacement-level fertility." Hindered by their inability to reduce population growth, the Commission will emphasize the necessity for these least developed nations to ensure a quicker decline in fertility, in order to "reduce maternal mortality, improve child survival, promote women's empowerment and contribute to poverty reduction." The Commission on Population and Development's second focus this year is on effective family planning, helping to contribute to poverty reduction. By reducing the number of births within a family, the ability to save money becomes more easily attainable and a greater investment in the health and education of each individual child born into the family can be achieved. Furthermore, improved access to efficient family planning contributes to enhanced maternal health and a greater survival rate of young children.

Although efforts are underway to improve the implementation of both population reduction and family planning, the forty-second session this week will express the need for a stronger political commitment and increased funding, in order to achieve significant progress on the ICPD PoA. In addition, the Commission recommends continued implementation of successful programs, an emphasis on national leadership and ownership, the development of effective health systems, and an investment in pro-poor policies.

The Commission explicitly points to South-South cooperation as vital in order to identify what programs are working, and what policies are most efficient, stating that "South-South cooperation is valuable, especially for the identification of best practices and the exchange of lessons learned." A continuous exchange of information between countries will help to improve the overall trend in reaching the MGDs.

Population growth and family planning are crucial topics that must quickly be addressed, and it is the PPD ARO's hope that the this year's session of the Commission on Population and Development will be able to bring to light this year's crucial issues and further encourage South-South cooperation in population and development. Keynote speakers this year include David Canning (Harvard School of Public Health), Jean-Pierre Guengant (Representative from Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Burkina Faso), and Zeba Sather (Country Director of the Population Council in Pakistan).

To learn more about the Commission on Population and Development, you can access a summary of the session at

You can also read the keynote address, official statements, and agenda items in English and French for the Forty-second session at:


PPD Africa said...

JYOTI SHANKAR SINGH PPD, Permanent Observer at the UN, made the following comments during the General Debate at the Commission on Population and Development on 2009-04-02(WORK IN PROGRESS--POP/973)

JYOTI SHANKAR SINGH, Permanent Observer, Partners in Population and Development –- a South-South Initiative, said the group had been established at the Cairo Conference as an intergovernmental coalition of developing countries dedicated to the promotion and strengthening of South-South cooperation on population and development. Now with 22 members, the group noted with concern that family planning was losing its centrality in terms of budgetary allocations and population and reproductive health policies. International population assistance allocated to family planning had dropped from 55 per cent in 1995 -– or $723 million -– to 5 per cent in 2007 -- $338 million.

Noting UNFPA’s suggestion about the need to revise and update estimates adopted at the International Conference -– including $49 billion a year for sexual and reproductive health programmes -– he said those proposals should be debated in various meetings and conferences dedicated to the 15-year review of Cairo that consensus could be reached on what was needed now and how best to raise further support for reproductive health programmes. While recognizing the integral relationship between Cairo’s goals and the Millennium Development Goals, there were two other aspects of the Goals that were equally important: women’s health and the basic right of both men and women to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children; and having the information, education and means to do so.


PPD Africa said...

JYOTI SHANKAR SINGH's (Permanent Observer, Partners in Population and Development) full official statement is now online at: