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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Survey on Ottawa Follow-Up
ISSUE 15 - 30 January 2004
As a follow-up to the first International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI, held 21-22 November 2002, in Ottawa, Canada), and in preparation for the next IPCI, which will take place 18-19 October 2004, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, the Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (IEPFPD) conducted a questionnaire with the regional and global parliamentary groups to determine what actions they have taken to promote the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) and the Ottawa Commitment.
Below is a summary featuring the results of the questionnaire.
Results Overview: Questionnaire on Follow-up Activities, International Parliamentarians Conference on ICPD Implementation
Since the inaugural IPCI in Ottawa, parliamentary groups have been working effectively across the globe in order to make the Ottawa Commitment visible not only to their peers and national legislators but also on the regional and international stages.
The sections below illustrate key trends in activities already undertaken by the regional and global parliamentary groups on the IPCI Steering Committee. These findings, divided by global, regional and national-level activities, serve as a useful basis from which to begin discussions on how to further advance the Ottawa Commitment.
The following parliamentary networks responded to the questionnaire:
- The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD);
-The Forum of African and Arab Parliamentarians on Population
and Development (FAAPPD);
- The Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (IAPG);
- The Inter-European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
- Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA).
Despite political changes and instability in some regions, the analysis presented here demonstrates the significant impact that Ottawa has had on the parliamentary community active in population and development around the world.
Activities carried out to Provide Visibility / Publicity to the Ottawa IPCI and the Statement of Commitment
Generally speaking, all regions used the very visible tool of newsletter articles to sensitize their constituencies to the outcomes of Ottawa. Many of the groups saw the communications tools provided by UNFPA, such as the IPCI poster, as very useful.
A. Regional Level
AFPPD representatives reported that they benefited from participating in the IPCI almost immediately; particularly during the ICPD Implementation Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, which was part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific's (UNESCAP) Population Conference. AFPPD also covered the Ottawa Commitment extensively in several editions of its newsletter.
FAAPPD organized two sub-regional workshops to sensitize parliamentarians to the Ottawa Commitment, one for Central Africa countries (held 11-12 July 2003, in Yaoundé, Cameroon) and the other for countries in Southern Africa (held 11-14 August 2003, in Lusaka, Zambia). English and Portuguese versions of the IPCI poster were distributed in the Lusaka Workshop.
In the Americas, IAPG dedicated a special edition of its newsletter to IPCI with a focus on Latin America. The newsletter and a specially designed version of the Ottawa Commitment were widely disseminated in the IAPG region.
In Europe, IEPFPD made special mention of the IPCI in its annual report (which featured a foreword by Thoraya Obaid), in its newsletters and on its web site. European parliamentarians who had participated in Ottawa also briefed relevant committees in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
B. National Level
At the national level, a number of parliamentary groups have been actively raising the visibility of Ottawa. Parliamentarians agreed that UNFPA-produced posters were very helpful in providing an identifiable and visible link to the issues.
All regions have proactively approached national parliamentarians about the IPCI through written communications (e-mails and briefings) and through face-to-face contact. In particular, PGA Junior Professional Officers (JPOs), working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, the Nigerian National Assembly and the National Assembly of Mali, have been actively promoting the ICPD Programme of Action and the Ottawa Commitment. They have organized a number of meetings for PGA members in Mali and Nigeria, providing parliamentarians with information on the outcomes of the ICPD and the IPCI. PGA has also initiated a targeted one-on-one dialogue with key parliamentarians in a number of member countries.
Member groups of IEPFPD and FAAPPD presented the Ottawa Commitment to their respective national parliaments, both in the main chambers and in committee meetings.
Integration of the Ottawa Commitment into the Work of Parliamentarians
All IPCI-participating parliamentary groups successfully integrated the Ottawa Commitment into their work programmes for 2003.
A. Global Level
At the invitation of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB), AFPPD, IAPG and IEPFPD held a workshop on population and development at the PNoWB Annual Meeting held in March 2003, in Athens, Greece. In the workshop, parliamentarians from the three population groups addressed an audience of new parliamentarians not yet active on population issues. The speakers sensitized their new peers to the progress on population and development issues and to the responsibilities of parliamentarians in these matters, encouraging them to use the Ottawa Commitment as the basis for their work.
B. Regional Level
FAAPPD organized two sub-regional training workshops on Adolescent Reproductive Health Advocacy, Fund Raising and Resource Mobilization. One of the objectives of the seminars, which together had attendees from 19 countries in the Africa region, was to sensitize participants to the Ottawa Commitment.
In the Americas, IAPG organized a study tour to Colombia and Brazil in May 2003, expressly to demonstrate the concrete meaning of the Ottawa Commitment.
AFPPD has been actively cooperating with UNFPA country offices to stimulate the creation of an enabling environment in the Asia region. Currently, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia and Vietnam have UNFPA country offices funding their parliamentary programmes. Seven other countries also have full time staff support for parliamentary programmes.
At the IEPFPD Third Council Meeting held in May 2003, in Lisbon, Portugal, parliamentarians from other regions were given the opportunity to address the gathered delegates, and all of them highlighted the IPCI. Moreover, IEPFPD has decided to integrate the Ottawa Commitment into its work by creating two working groups, one on creating an enabling environment and another on resource mobilization. Two members of the IEPFPD Executive Committee have been assigned as vice-presidents in charge of each issue.
C. National Level
In Asia, AFPPD is currently conducting a unique programme on "person-to-person advocacy", in which each parliamentarian is individually met with to discuss population and development-related programmes in four countries funded by the Hewlett Foundation.
Measures taken in the Field of 'Resource Mobilization for the ICPD' Since the IPCI Ottawa
Given the run-up to the tenth anniversary of the ICPD and the goals set in Ottawa, all IPCI-participating parliamentary groups have had very clear benchmarks to follow.
A. Global Level
On the occasion of its 25th anniversary in September 2003, a PGA-organized parliamentary delegation from countries that have already made commitments to increase spending on population and development activities visited the U.S. In addition, another delegation of parliamentarians from developing countries that depend heavily on U.S. foreign assistance met with legislators from the U.S. House and Senate who represent a variety of views -- including those who have either not yet made commitments or who seek programme reductions -- and discussed the impact of foreign assistance and the ways of achieving political action in parliament and within their constituencies.
B. Regional Level
FAAPPD initiated a letter-writing campaign asking the governments of all member groups to increase budget allocation to national population and development programs.
C. National Level
In Europe, parliamentarians have counteracted highly organized attempts by opposition forces to halt funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights and have also managed to see an increased funding commitment from many governments. Notably, the European Parliament approved €73 million ($90.6 million) for four years funding to the ICPD. In Ireland, parliamentarians worked to bring about a 38 per cent increase in national funding for reproductive health. Active resource mobilization efforts are taking place in all European donor countries where an IEPFPD member group exists.
In Asia, the Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP), a member of AFPPD, has continuously worked to either enhance or maintain Japan's contribution to UNFPA. AFPPD affiliates in New Zealand and Australia have done the same in their respective countries.
PGA members in various countries have been campaigning in their home parliaments to increase aid to developing countries in order to meet the challenges set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Ottawa Commitment, especially the goals of eradicating poverty and hunger, improving reproductive health efforts, combating HIV/AIDS and promoting gender equality.
Measures Taken in the Field of 'Creating an Enabling Environment' Since the IPCI Ottawa
Since Ottawa, there have been a number of pivotal policy developments across the globe. Parliamentarians within the population and development community have been gathering knowledge from concrete examples around them to share experiences so that they can move the ICPD Programme of Action forward in their respective countries. This has taken the form of seminars, workshops and structured dialogues.
A. Global Level
In Asia, AFPPD has worked closely with PNoWB and other parliamentary groups, and has sent parliamentarians to international events and on study visits to other continents.
PGA has organized a series of dialogues between Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians that focused on the environmental issues relating to their countries' shared water sources. These meetings resulted in the creation of a coordination council that oversees the work of parliamentarians from both countries to clean the water sources. This council includes a number of regional experts, a parliamentary facilitator, parliamentarians and an international consultant.
B. Regional Level
In the Americas, IAPG has been working with UNFPA to help create a stronger network of parliamentarians. The collaboration is intended to help parliamentarians become more involved with population and development issues in line with the Ottawa Commitment and the Cairo Programme of Action and in order to counter the opposition.
FAAPPD, in collaboration with the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a sub-regional workshop in Conakry, Guinea, for parliamentarians from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. These countries have adopted policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the workshop was designed to help attendees move their countries beyond that stage and towards the implementation of laws and policies.
In Europe, IEPFPD has ensured that its member groups in regional assemblies, such as the Council of Europe, have been extensively briefed on population and development policy issues. Parliamentarians from IEPFPD member groups played a crucial role to ensure that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a report on the Global Gag Rule, which endorses the Ottawa Commitment. The chairs of the Finnish, Swedish and U.K. groups were pivotal in this initiative.
C. National Level
IAPG has asked each of its board members to report on what their governments have done to follow up on the Ottawa conference.
In national parliaments across Europe, parliamentarians have regularly tabled questions on IPCI-related issues.
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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