ICPD Beyond 2014
With only a few months remaining in the ongoing review of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), governments, civil society organizations and many other stakeholders are now looking ahead to the final event taking place within the review process, the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD). The CPD will be an opportunity for governments to assess the status of implementation of the 1994 ICPD’s Programme of Action.
The 47th CPD marks the culmination of a multi-year process involving a global survey (174 countries responded, Canada did not completed the survey), four regional conferences, the Bali Global Youth Forum, the International Conference on Human Rights and the Expert Meeting on Women’s Human Rights. Action Canada for Population and Development was the only Canadian civil society organizations to attend the UN North America, Europe and Central Asia (UNECE) Regional Population Conference which took place in Geneva, in July. Despite not being a negotiated outcome, the Chair’s Summary contains strong language on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and calls the removal of legal barriers to young women and girls’ access to safe abortion services and barriers which restrict access to contraception on the basis of age and marital status, as well as the need to address legislative and cultural barriers that impede access to sexual and reproductive health services. It also calls for non discriminatory approaches of professional groups (health care workers, teachers, etc) towards all individuals regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity among others.
Outcomes from all components of the process will be used to assess the overall implementation of the 20-year Programme of Action and identify areas requiring further attention, beyond 2014. Central to this review process is determining the entry points for the integration of implementation gaps and emerging areas in the context of the ICPD PoA within the Post-2015 development agenda.
In 2015, the international community will meet to finalize the Post-2015 development agenda. Since 2000, the development agenda has largely been shaped by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which identified eight areas of focus, including gender equality, maternal health (including reproductive health) and HIV/AIDS. Over the past year, the global community has reflected on progress made towards reducing global poverty through the achievement of the MDGs, discussed the effectiveness of the approach taken and identified areas requiring greater attention, beyond 2015. The review process has involved national, regional and thematic consultations, expert meetings and many of which took place via interactive modalities.
Outcomes from the myriad of consultations have been captured in the Reports produced by the UN Development Group, High Level Panel, Secretary General, UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Over the coming two years, the President of the General Assembly will convene intergovernmental consultations under the theme ‘the post-2015 development agenda – setting the stage,’ through which diverse stakeholders will reflect on the contents of such reports and discuss concrete priorities for the next development agenda. These events will result in a synthesis report to be presented by the end of 2014, leading to the formulation and adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015.
Sustainable Development Goals
The post-2015 development agenda will without a doubt contain a strong focus on sustainable development. This process builds on agreements reached during the June 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit which brought together stakeholders to discuss progress in the realm of environmental, social and economic development since the 1992 Earth Summit. Emerging from the 2012 Summit was a commitment on behalf of governments to establish the 30-member Open Working Group, tasked with preparing a proposal for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The OWG will meet eight times between March 2014 and February 2014 to discuss issues including forests, nutrition, food security, inclusive economic growth, population dynamics, , global partnerships, human rights, among other topics.
Worth noting are the remaining topics to be discussed by the OWG which include: gender equality, social equity, women’s empowerment, and means of implementation.). The OWG will culminate with the drafting of a proposal for the SDGs to be presented by the end of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, in September 2014.