Report of the International Forum for the Operational Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD - Creating an Enabling Environment



Election of Forum Office-bearers and other Matters

Functioning of the Forum

Findings and Proposed Actions

Creating an Enabling Environment

Enhancing Gender Equality, Equity and Empowerment of Women

Promoting Reproductive Health, Including Family Planning and Sexual Health, and Reproductive Rights

Strengthening Partnerships

Mobilizing and Monitoring Resources


37. The ICPD Programme of Action underscored that good governance, transparency, accountability, and the promotion of democracy are essential to achieving sustainable development. It emphasized that the interrelationships between population, resources, environment and development must be recognized, managed and brought into balance. It called upon States to reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and to adopt population and development policies that would meet current needs without compromising the prospects of future generations. Country development strategies should take into account, at both the national and local levels, the linkages between population, resources and environment and the need to bring patterns of production and consumption into balance.

Progress made

38. The five-year review of experience in implementing the Programme of Action indicates that considerable progress has been made in transforming the words of the Programme of Action into concrete realities. Selected examples of progress are:

39. There is a strong political commitment in all regions to create the enabling environment for the achievement of the ICPD goals.

40. Several countries have articulated and are implementing broad-based population policies, grounded in a human rights framework, which encompass the linkages between population trends and socio-economic development.

41. More women are benefiting from legislation protecting their human rights and outlawing gender-based violence, including harmful traditional practices.

42. Civil society groups are increasingly recognized as effective entities for the further implementation of the Programme of Action.

Constraints and issues

43. The ICPD+5 review has brought to the fore a number of constraints and issues that need to be addressed:

1. Global economic trends. Recent economic crises in several regions have had an adverse effect on the pace of implementing the Programme of Action. Globalization, unrestricted flows of capital and structural adjustment programmes have led to real cuts in social sector spending and have had a negative impact on vulnerable groups.

Falling gross domestic products, rapid to improve people's quality of life, implement social protection programmes and promote a human rights agenda.

2. Environment. The need to respond to economic crises has deflected government attention from addressing environmental concerns. Unbalanced production and consumption patterns persist and contribute to environmental degradation. Unregulated movement of toxic materials compromises people's health, particularly women's reproductive health.

While some progress has been made, population issues have not been integrated sufficiently into environmental policy and planning. Insufficient attention is being paid to the relationship between population, environment and poverty, especially as they affect the most vulnerable groups. Analysis of these linkages has been limited by the use of traditional static and linear models that are unable to take into account the dynamics of these factors

3. Countries emerging from conflicts and crises. The impact of natural disasters, serious instability and armed conflict has affected the ability of Governments to implement the ICPD Programme of Action. A breakdown in governance, inadequate infrastructure, and competing financial priorities have reduced access to a range of basic social services, particularly quality health care and reproductive health services.

4. Resources. While a number of countries have increased their financial commitment to population, considerable efforts are still needed to mobilize the resources required to fund the integrated population and reproductive health package as set out in the ICPD Programme of Action.

5. Migration. Migrants, both internal and international, encounter numerous problems that have not been adequately addressed. They are generally faced with cultural and family disruption and often lack adequate access to basic social services and health care.

Involuntary migrants, displaced persons and refugees, particularly women, are especially vulnerable to exploitation and human rights abuses.

6. Changes in population age structure. The largest-ever cohort of young people has put enormous pressure on the education infrastructure and job-creation ability of countries world-wide. At the same time, the number of people surviving to older ages is increasing dramatically. Inadequate attention has been paid to their health, economic and social needs.

Proposed actions

44. Over the past five years, many countries have made impressive progress in putting in place policies and programmes designed to achieve the ICPD goals. Nevertheless, much remains to be done. Successes to date and lessons learned thus far provide a foundation on which to build. In order to respond to the constraints and issues identified above, action needs to be taken in the following areas:

Global economic trends

45. Some of the proposed actions to be taken on the issue of global economic trends are:

a. The international community and Governments need to promote a supportive economic environment to enable developing countries to achieve sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development and to establish mechanisms for the management and regulation of capital flows.

b. Efforts should be made to support countries in their quest to eradicate poverty by promoting an open, equitable international trading system; by stimulating direct investment; by reducing the debt burden; and by ensuring that structural adjustment programmes are responsive to social and environmental concerns.

c. Gender equity, equality and the empowerment of women must be an integral part of policy initiatives for sustainable development.

d. Health sector reform and sector wide approaches must give priority to gender-sensitive reproductive health services that ensure universal access to quality care.

e. Planners and decision makers at national and local levels need to be trained to better understand population, environmental and macro-economic linkages.


46. Proposed actions to be taken on the issue of the environment are:

a. Governments need to initiate legislative and administrative measures designed to promote balanced patterns of consumption and production, foster sustainable resource use and prevent environmental degradation.

b. Demographic factors should be integrated into environmental impact assessments and other planning processes. There is a need for better frameworks to analyse population, environment and poverty linkages.

c. Additional research is needed on the impact of environmental degradation on health, especially. women's reproductive health.

Countries emerging from conflicts and crises

47. Actions proposed on the issue of countries emerging from conflict and crises include:

Special attention needs to be paid to strengthening the capacity to deal with population and development issues in countries in crisis situations and those beginning to recover from the effects of war, civil strive, climatic disasters and economic setbacks. Countries emerging from crises should receive special financial and technical assistance.

Financial resources

48. In order to achieve the ICPD goals, countries need to redouble their efforts to mobilize the resources needed to implement the costed package of an integrated population and reproductive health programme defined in the Programme of Action and to use existing resources effectively and efficiently. Better methodologies should be developed to track the flow of resources; cooperation between the World Bank, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), bilateral donors and UNFPA in this endeavour should be strengthened.


49. Actions proposed on the issue of migration include:

In view of the increasing migration at the global, regional and national levels, the root causes of migration and the conditions of migrants should be documented.

There is a critical need to promote dialogue between sending, transient and receiving countries in order to ensure that the human rights of migrants are protected and to guarantee their access to basic social services, including health services.

Concerted attention should be paid to ensuring the rights of migrants, particularly migrant women. To improve the situation of migrant workers, States should become a party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Attention should be paid to ensuring the fair treatment and rights of migrants, refugees and displaced persons, including providing for their reproductive health needs.

Population age structure

50. On the issue of population age structures, the following actions were proposed:

Governments need to invest in education and skills training for young people and provide programmes to meet their sexual and reproductive health needs taking into account the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

With respect to older persons, provisions should be made for their economic and social security and for their health care, particularly for ageing women.

Emphasis should be placed on fostering inter-generational solidarity through better communication and mutual support.


51. Actions proposed to be taken on the issue of partnerships include:

Efforts should be made to establish, maintain and nurture partnerships with a full range of civil society organizations, including NGOs, youth groups, and grassroots groups. Partnerships between public and private sector groups for the further implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action should be intensified.

Assistance should be provided to NGOs to enhance their managerial, technical and administrative capacities so that they can fully carry out their responsibilities in monitoring the implementation of the commitments made at the ICPD and other global conferences.


52. On the issue of advocacy, the proposed actions included:

Use of mass media and information technology, including Internet technology, should be expanded to increase awareness and understanding of population and sustainable development linkages and to promote gender equality, women's empowerment, and the reproductive health approach.

National networks and advocacy coalitions need to be strengthened to target audiences at all levels.

Advocacy campaigns should be utilized to build and sustain political commitment for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. They should convey messages about population and development in popular, easy-to-understand language.

Data and indicators

53. Proposed actions to be taken on the issues of data and indicators include:

Efforts should be made to strengthen national data systems to produce reliable statistics in a timely manner, including information on poverty status. Data should be disaggregated by gender.

Indicators, both quantitative and qualitative, should be identified to monitor progress in achieving the goals agreed to at the ICPD. These should focus on identifiable measures of women's access to and control of economic and social resources and poverty rates at household and aggregate levels (including in female- and male-headed households). Benchmarks and milestones are needed to track intermediate progress in achieving overall goals.

Support should be given to least developed countries and countries with economies in transition for censuses and surveys so as to build a solid database for multisectoral development planning and monitoring of progress.

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