2012 International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action

Istanbul, Turkey, 24-25 May 2012

The Fifth International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD) took place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 24-25 May 2012. The conference was organized by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) and UNFPA in collaboration with the regional parliamentary forums and hosted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

IPCI Istanbul came at a very significant time for the ICPD mandate. With only two years before the Cairo agenda was expected to be complete, the conference was an excellent opportunity for parliamentarians to recommit themselves to this unfinished agenda.

While the international community undertakes the mandated United Nations General Assembly operational review at the national, regional and global levels, IPCI Istanbul provided the parliamentarians from around the world an opportunity to make their strategic contributions to this exercise, which will set forth the path for the ICPD agenda beyond 2014.

At the end of the two day event, the participants committed themselves to its unfinished plan by unanimously adopting the Istanbul Statement of Commitment. In it, and under the theme, Keeping Promises — Measuring Results, they determined to advocate for increased national and external funding for the entire implementation of the ICPD agenda in order to achieve access to sexual and reproductive health, including family planning. The parliamentarians pledged, among other actions to:

  • Attain at least 10 per cent of national development budgets and development assistance budgets for population and reproductive health programmes.” That includes HIV prevention and reproductive health commodities
  • Re-commit to ensuring the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for official development is met
  • Pledged to support policies that give special attention to the specific concerns and needs of young people by promoting and protecting their right to “access good quality education at all levels, health, sexual and reproductive services, including comprehensive sexuality education,” and to adopt measures to prevent all types of exploitation and abuse against them.

Finally, the participants decided to build a global network of ICPD supporters, and to ensure that “ICPD’s continuing and emerging priorities and concerns are reflected in the ICPD Beyond 2014 discussions and reporting.” They also called upon the United Nations General Assembly “to play a key role in building support for the ICPD Programme of Action,” and committed to holding themselves accountable for reporting on the follow-up to the IPCI commitments. 

The first IPCI/ICPD took place in Ottawa, Canada, on 21-22 November 2002. Held at the Canadian Parliament, the conference brought together 103 elected representatives from 72 countries and territories, and established, for the first time, a global system of regular monitoring and follow-up for parliamentarians on the implementation of the ICPD PoA.

The second IPCI/ICPD was held on 18-19 October 2004, in Strasbourg, France, under the auspices of the Council of Europe—Europe’s oldest and most representative political institution. It was attended by 119 elected representatives from 82 countries and territories, including ministers and speakers of parliaments from both developed and developing countries.

The third IPCI/ICPD was held on 21-22 November 2006, in Bangkok, Thailand, at the United Nations Conference Centre. The conference brought together over 300 parliamentarians, governments, non-governmental organizations and other participants from 100 countries. Participants took stock of the progress made so far by parliamentarians in advancing the ICPD agenda and came up with regional action plans to take their collective efforts to a next level.

The Fourth IPCI/ICPD took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the United Nations Conference Centre on 27-28 October 2009. It brought together over 400 delegates, including parliamentarians and ministers from around 115 countries. The conference, which marked the 15th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action, saw parliamentarians reaffirm their support to the principles and goals ICPD and underlined the indispensable role of its Programme of Action in achieving the MDGs. They also committed to supporting accessible and affordable health services that promote family planning, HIV prevention and the health and well-being of women and girls.

All four conferences generated critical results, with parliamentarians around the world making the Ottawa, Strasbourg, Bangkok and Addis Ababa Commitments a point of reference for their work in supporting the ICPD Programme of Action. Numerous parliamentary declarations and reports have been adopted at the national, regional and global levels in the past six years, which refer to or build on the four Commitments and their calls to action.

The purpose of these biennial conferences is to promote dialogue among parliamentarians from all regions of the world on the issues of population and development. Their two main themes remain constant: resource mobilization and the creation of an enabling policy environment for the implementation of the ICPD PoA.