H.E. Mr. Johan L. Løvald
New York, 22 March 2004.
THE COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, 37TH SESSION 22-26 MARCH 2004
AGENDA ITEM 3:
Follow-up actions to the recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development
Let me congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. My delegation looks forwards to co-operating with you to make the CPD’s 37th Session a success.
I would like to thank the Secretariat for the preparatory work carried out for the Session, and the distinguished speakers Ms Obaid, Mr Ocampo and Mr Chowdhury for their excellent introductions to our debate.
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994 was a milestone in the history of population and development, and in the history of women’s rights. The Programme of Action, adopted by consensus by 179 countries, is a forward-looking 20-year plan.
As we now celebrate its tenth anniversary, I wish to reaffirm Norway’s firm support for the goals we agreed on in Cairo, and our commitment to follow up on the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action, adopted at the twenty-first special session of the General Assembly.
The achievement of the goals of the ICPD is both consistent with and essential to the attainment of the development goals set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration. Achievement of all of the MDGs is linked to our ability to effectively address concerns relating to population issues, gender equality and reproductive and sexual health.
Although the ICPD goal of universal access to reproductive health is not included in the MDGs, we believe that progress towards achieving this goal is essential for meeting the other MDG targets, and especially for reducing poverty. We should therefore strive to avoid politicising this vital issue. By allocating resources to reproductive health care, we can save lives, stabilise population growth, slow the spread of AIDS, reduce poverty and foster gender equality.
Indeed, one of the greatest achievements of the Cairo Conference has been the enhanced focus on empowering women, both as a highly important end in itself and as a key to improving the quality of life for everyone.
This is why Norway is deeply involved in the efforts to give girls access to education. Norway has co-operated closely with UNICEF for many years and has been a prime mover in the intensification of UNICEF’s efforts to promote education for girls. To this end we have increased our support to UNICEF's girls' education programme considerably in the 2004 budget. We are also strongly supporting multilateral efforts to fight infectious diseases, including HIV/Aids, with a special focus on the vulnerability of women.
Sustainable development in general requires that the interrelationships between gender, population, resources, the environment and development are fully recognised and properly managed. Our ability to balance utilisation of resources with ecological requirements depends critically on population movements, location and growth, patterns of consumption, and management of waste. The ICPD acknowledges that the rapid growth of poor rural populations puts enormous stress on local environments. Appropriate policies are needed to reduce urban migration and promote sustainable rural population growth. Improvement of the living conditions of slum and shanty dwellers furthermore depends on political will and a commitment to allocating resources to address high urban growth rates.
It is Norway’s firm belief that strengthening political will and commitment, and establishing effective partnerships of donor and recipient countries based on country ownership and donor co-ordination, are the most essential factors in fulfilling the Cairo vision. Partnerships are especially crucial for awareness raising , capacity building and advocacy purposes. We should therefore promote a close dialogue with civil society and, in particular, the NGO community.
Although there have been recent increases in funding for population activities, current international support is less than half of the required level. Acceleration of resource mobilisation from both donor and developing countries is needed to reach the funding target of USD18.5 billion in 2005.
Norway is on track as regards devoting 4 per cent of its total allocation of ODA to population issues, and has been one of the biggest contributors to UNFPA for several years. It is Norway’s firm belief that the work being carried out by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is indispensable in promoting the Cairo agenda.
The ICPD goals and objectives should in our view be in the forefront in the social, economic and environmental processes of the United Nations, and in particular at the 2005 review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. We should therefore ensure that the CPD session next year, in line with this year’s review of national experiences, serves as a valuable input to the review in 2005. We encourage the Population Division and UNFPA to work closely together in order to facilitate the best possible input to this review.
This anniversary has given us an important opportunity to evaluate lessons learned and to seek ways and means of bringing the Programme of Action forward.
I would like to close by ensuring the Commission that Norway will continue its efforts to turn the Cairo commitments into action. In our view the Cairo vision remains just as valid today as it was ten years ago, and is indispensable in our common efforts to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals.
Thank you, Mr President