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International thinking on population policies and programmes from Rome to Cairo: Has South Africa kept pace?
South African Journal of Demography. 1996; 6(1):49-56.This paper reviews global thinking on population policy expressed at the world conferences on population matters from 1954 to 1994. The review is complemented by an overview of trends in South Africa that constituted a de jure population policy during the apartheid era. There is also a brief discussion of the Population Green Paper tabled in 1995, aimed at the establishment of a national population policy for South Africa. This is evaluated against the Programme of Action decided on at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994. There is an indication that finally, South Africa can be said to be genuinely moving in the direction of respect for human rights in its population policies in harmony with global convention. In a sense, it is catching up with global trends in the population field after years of isolation resulting from sanctions against the apartheid government. (author's)
In: An agenda for people: the UNFPA through three decades, edited by Nafis Sadik. New York, New York, New York University Press, 2002. 113-135.The remarkable originality and achievements of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in September 1994, have sometimes been disregarded in the years since. Most fair-minded people acknowledge that ICPD succeeded in its main aims. But for those of us who participated in earlier population conferences and in the preparations for Cairo, it can be said to have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams -- in terms of its intent and programmatic content at least. In addition, it helped mobilize the population, health, women's rights and allied communities to shape a broad agenda for the population and related development fields for the next two decades. Of the three international conferences organized by the United Nations to help build world consensus on the need to address population issues, ICPD was by far the most successful, measured by numbers attending, levels and quality of delegates, international media attention, and the quality of the final consensus -- and an important watershed. After long preparation and vigorous debate, more than 180 countries agreed to adopt the 16-chapter ICPD Programme of Action. The 115-page document outlines a 20-year plan to promote sustainable, human-centred development and a stable population, framing the issues with broad principles and specific actions. The Cairo Programme of Action was not simply an updating of the World Population Plan of Action (WPPA), agreed to at Bucharest and revised at Mexico City, but an entirely fresh and original programme, calling for a major shift in strategies away from demographic goals and towards more individual human welfare and development ones. ICPD was the largest intergovernmental conference on population ever held: 11,000 representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies and intergovernmental agencies participated, 4,000 NGOs held a parallel forum, and there was unprecedented media attention. ICPD was not just a single event, but an entire process culminating in the Cairo meeting. There were six expert group meetings, and regional conferences in Bali, Dakar, Geneva, Amman and Mexico City. There were many formal and informal NGO meetings and three official Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings. Other crucial influences came from the 1987 Safe Motherhood Conference, the 1990 World Summit for Children, the 1990 Jomtien World Conference on Education for All, and the 1993 Vienna Conference on Human Rights. (author's)