Commission Hears that Reproductive Health Is Essential for Poverty Eradication

  • 08 April 2002

The United Nations Commission on Population and Development concluded its thirty-fifth session in New York on 5 April by adopting, without a vote, a resolution requesting the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to continue its programming on reproductive rights and reproductive health. The resolution also asked the Population Division of the Department of Economic Social Affairs to continue its research on population issues.

The Commission urged the two bodies to continue to work in close collaboration with each other and with all other relevant funds, programmes and agencies of the United Nations system.

In statements before the Commission, Members States reaffirmed their continued confidence and support for the UNFPA and its staff.

The Representatives of Italy, Philippines, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, France and Portugal, in separate statements, deplored the continued and unwarranted allegations against the UNFPA by ideological opponents of the Fund, who accuse it of involvement coercive practices.

Gerry Ash, the Representative of the United Kingdom, said that his country strongly supports the work of the UNFPA and deplored allegations that the organization supports forced abortions.

Brunella Borzi Cornacchia of Italy restated her country's support for the UNFPA and announced that Italy had steadily increased its contributions to the Fund, while Mr. Brunborg of Norway described the work of the UNFPA as valuable.

Members States also welcomed the UNFPA's effort to help countries achieve greater well-being. The representatives of India, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Philippines and South Africa, among others, praised the Fund for providing technical and financial support which makes possible the implementation of programmes, including those aimed at adolescents and youths.

Speakers also stressed the importance of effective implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994. The representative of Spain, Juan Maria Lopez-Aguilar, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that reproductive and sexual health are crucial to any strategy for the eradication of poverty and for achieving other development goals of the United Nations' 1999 Millennium Declaration.

Charlotte Hohn, the representative of Germany, said it has become obvious that the sustainability of all development programmes will depend heavily on how the Cairo Programme of Action continues to be implemented. "Only when men and women are able to exert their right to protection against unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS, will they be in the position to use their own potential and have a role in promoting sustainable development."

Olga Sharapova of the Russian Federation said that the decisions of the ICPD have been a significant impetus for her country to shape its general policy in the reproductive health sphere. Because of measures it has taken to implement the Cairo programme, the Russian Federation has cut the number of abortions by 50 per cent in the past few years.

The United States is committed to providing assistance to achieve the three principal goals adopted in the ICPD Programme of Action, including making reproductive health care accessible to all individuals of appropriate ages through the primary health care system; reducing maternal mortality; and ensuring universal access to primary education, said Sichan Siv, the country's representative.

The 35th session of the Commission on Population and Development had as its theme reproductive rights and reproductive health, with special reference to HIV/AIDS. The Executive Director of the UNFPA, Thoraya Obaid, addressed the session during its opening on 1 April.

Contact Information:

Obi Emekekwue
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