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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Santiago Parliamentary Statement
ISSUE 18 - 25 March 2004
On 10 and 11 March 2004, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) held a meeting in Santiago, Chile, where over 300 delegates from the 40 member states reaffirmed their support for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action adopted in Cairo ten years ago.
Below is a statement read by Member of Parliament from Ecuador, Hon. Myriam GARCES at the end of the meeting on behalf of eight parliamentarians in attendance.
At the Open-Ended Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the ECLAC Sessional Ad Hoc Meeting on Population and Development
Santiago, Chile, 11 March 2004
I am speaking on behalf of eight members of parliament present at this meeting from seven countries. I would first like to place on record our gratitude to the President of the session for allowing us to make this short intervention to express our support for the Cairo Programme of Action. I would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Honourable Deputy Saa of the National Congress of Chile who so warmly hosted our delegation in Valparaiso and provided us the opportunity to learn of the many advances currently in progress in Chile.
1. “Life or death is a political decision” was the alarming message over 100 parliamentarians from over 70 countries heard at the International Parliamentarians Conference on ICPD Implementation held in Ottawa in November 2002. The urgency of this realisation has catalysed parliamentary work in favour of ICPD implementation all over the world.
2. The ICPD Programme of Action specifically recognises a strategic role for members of parliament and I am happy to state that parliamentarians from all regions of the world have increasingly lived up to this role thanks to the support of UNFPA, IPPF and numerous other NGOs. To cite a concrete example, eight parliamentarians from seven countries are present at this meeting, from: Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, France, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela. In addition, at the UN regional commission meetings on ICPD implementation in other regions, most recently in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, parliamentarians played a key role in ensuring that their Governments protected and reaffirmed the ICPD Programme of Action.
3. At national level, parliamentarians have a duty in creating an enabling environment and mobilising resources. This includes monitoring implementation of the Programme of Action, adopting new laws and policies and allocating the funding needed to achieve the ICPD Programme of Action in favour of sexual and reproductive health and rights. We fully understand that the ICPD Programme of Action is a fundamental precursor in poverty alleviation and attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
4. Even though much remains to be done and our work is far from finished, I would like to use this opportunity to cite a few examples of the progress we have achieved in the past ten years:
a. Constitutional changes which incorporate the principles established within the Cairo Programme
b. Adoption of laws on violence against women in many countries
c. Greater attention to HIV/AIDS prevention and improved access to HIV/AIDS treatment in many countries
d. Despite many challenges to the use of emergency contraception, it is now increasingly accepted in many countries
e. And currently work is underway in a number of countries towards adopting comprehensive legislation on sexual and reproductive health
5. In Europe, all European countries have remained committed to funding UNFPA and in France, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Sweden, among others, parliamentary groups are actively working to increase their country’s funding to the ICPD Programme of Action. Only two days ago, the European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a strong resolution on ten years of implementation of the Cairo Programme of Action.
6. Another important role of parliamentarians has been to assume the necessary leadership in defending the ICPD Programme of Action against attempts to turn back advances acquired nationally, regionally and internationally.
7. In conclusion, I would like us to recall that only a few days ago the entire world celebrated International Women’s Day. When we speak about these issues as we have been in this meeting, we are inevitably speaking about saving women’s lives. It is for this reason that the ICPD Programme of Action still today after ten years remains a living document and the source of inspiration and responsibility for our work at national level and in our regional networks. The lessons we have learned at this meeting will shape our future work at national level and in our regional networks: the IAPG and the IEPFPD. We as parliamentarians pledge to remain committed to the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action in the LAC region. Finally, I would also like to extend my warm congratulations to colleagues in the United States Congress who reaffirmed their commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action in a letter of yesterday.
Members of Parliament:
1. Hon. Danielle BOUSQUET, MP - France
2. Hon. Erika BROCKMANN, MP - Bolivia
3. Hon. Myriam GARCES, MP - Ecuador
4. Hon. Ana MANSO, MP - Portugal
5. Hon. Marelys PEREZ MARCANO, MP - Venezuela
6. Hon. Luisa Portugal, MP - Portugal
7. Hon. Victor VELARDE, MP - Peru
8. Hon. Maria Antonietta SAA, MP - Chile
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as secretariat for the biannual International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (the first conference was held in November 2002, in Ottawa, Canada). These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can be kept informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow parliamentarians in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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