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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Activities by the IEPFPD in the Second Half of 2003 and Early 2004
ISSUE 40 - 24 September 2004
This issue of UNFPA's Global Population Policy Update highlights population-related activities undertaken by the Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD) in the latter half of 2003 and early 2004. It is a follow-up to Issues 29 and 33, which highlighted activities undertaken by other key parliamentary groups on population and development during the same period.
1. Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD) http://www.iepfpd.org
On 2 September 2003, the Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD) participated in the World Health Organization (WHO)- organized Inter-Ministerial Consultation on Macro-Economics and Health meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was part of a preparatory series of ministerial consultations on the subject of macroeconomics and health launched by WHO in October 2003. The President of Botswana, H.E. Mr. Festus Mogae, opened the first session on â€œIncreasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor. IEPFPD was invited to take part in these consultations and was represented at the October meetings by its President, Ms. Ruth Genner, MP (Switzerland).
On 17 October 2003, IEPFPD convened the Steering Committee meeting of the second International Parliamentarians Conference on ICPD Implementation (IPCI/ICPD) in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting was opened by Ms. Genner and Mr. Stirling Scruggs, then Director of the Information, Executive Board and Resource Mobilization Division of UNFPA. Parliamentarians and officials from global and regional parliamentary groups attend the meeting. These included the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD); the Forum of African and Arab Parliamentarians on Population and Development (FAAPPD); the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (IAPG); IEPFPD; Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); European Parliament Working Group on Population and Development (EPWG); Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB) and the Council of Europe.
The meeting was organized by UNFPA in cooperation with IEPFPD in order to discuss the agenda and directions for the upcoming IPCI/ICPD (18-19 October 2004, Strasbourg, France), which will focus on the 10th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The upcoming conference will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the ICPD goals and demonstrate how, with parliamentarians support, achieving these goals will contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Reports on activities undertaken to follow up on the first IPCI/ICPD (November 2002, Ottawa, Canada) were then presented by the executive directors of AFPPD, FAAPPD, IAPG, IEPFPD and PGA. (See UNFPA Global Population Policy Issue # 15 for a summary of their reports.) Other points for discussion included an overview of plans for the ICPD at 10, the agenda of the second IPCI/ICPD, and coordination and synergies of the conference with other ICPD at 10- related activities.
During the 10th IEPFPD Executive Committee meeting in Brussels on 10 November 2003, the Committee decided by a vote of 5 to 1 to establish an independent secretariat for IEPFPD. The Committee further decided to entrust Ms. Genner, Ms. Ulla Sandbaek, MEP (Denmark) and Senator Mary Henry (Ireland) with the task of working with the secretariat in setting up such an independent office.
The Executive Committee also accepted an offer by the Turkish Grand National Assembly to host the next IEPFPD annual Council meeting in Ankara, Turkey, in April 2004. It further decided to grant full membership for the Latvian Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, which brought to18 the total number of IEPFPD member groups, and adopted a work plan for 2004 and a framework budget.
On 6-7 December 2003, AFPPD organized the 5th International Medical Parliamentarians Conference on Family Health in cooperation with the International Medical Parliamentarians Organization (IMPO) and UNFPA in Bangkok, Thailand. Specifically convened for parliamentarians with a medical background, the conference aimed to highlight family health issues as well as define the linkages between reproductive health, women's health, HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance abuse and ageing. Some 153 participants attended the conference, 91 of whom were medical parliamentarians. IEPFPD facilitated the participation of over 20 parliamentarians from Europe. IEPFPD Executive Committee Member, Senator Mary Henry (Ireland), spoke at the meeting on maternal health.
On 10-11 December 2003, IEPFPD launched an 18-month project in London entitled the Young Decision Makers Initiative, which aims at working with young decision-makers and parliamentarians in Europe. This initiative was inspired by a similar Swedish project led by a Swedish NGO, RFSU. Thanks to the generous support of the U.S.-based Summit Foundation, IEPFPD was able to create a group for young leaders in Europe, ranging from young parliamentarians to the heads of political party youth sections, and has been making efforts to involve them in every step of the ICPD at 10 process. The young leaders who attended the meeting in London in December 2003 agreed to focus on implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, including the resource commitments necessary from donor countries, and on the issue of HIV/AIDS.
In late 2003 and early 2004, IEPFPD welcomed three new parliamentary groups from Latvia, Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Forum.
Latvia: Under the Chair, Ms Sarmite Kikuste, MP, eleven Latvian parliamentarians from all main parties have created an all-party parliamentary group. This group, which is named the Subcommittee on Demographic Development Matters, enjoys the status of a sub-committee in the Latvian Parliament and will focus on issues of social demography, reproductive health and combating drugs and psychotropic substances.
Germany: On 29 April 2004, four German parliamentarians, one from each of the main political parties, met in Berlin with the Executive Director and parliamentary programme coordinator of ProFamilia (the German Family Planning Association) to create a German Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. The German Parliamentary Forum adopted a statement of objectives in accordance with IEPFPD standards; set priorities for work in the coming months, including looking at the teenage birth rate and the sexual and reproductive health and rights situation in the Eastern Europe; and considered activities for 2004-2005.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Family Planning Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, XYII, held a meeting on 22 February 2004 with parliamentarians interested in forming a Parliamentary Group for Population and Development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Five parliamentarians launched an initiative in the parliament for establishing the Parliamentary Group that would meet periodically with parliamentary groups from other countries and civil society organizations.
All previous issues of the UNFPA Global Population Policy Update can now be found on UNFPA's website at: http://www.unfpa.org/parliamentarians/news/newsletters.htm
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as secretariat for the International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (November 2002, Ottawa, Canada). These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can be kept informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow parliamentarians in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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