UN Headquarters, New York. The Commission on Population and development is the working wing within the United Nations, responsible for Monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA). The 50th Session on the Commission on Population and Development was held earlier in April from 3rd to 7th April 2017 with the theme; “Changing population age structures and sustainable development”. The chair for this year’s CPD was Her Excellency Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani from Qatar – Asia-Pacific Group.
The conference provided a global framework that will guide countries in implementing policies and activities at both regional and national levels for topics related to population development. At the end of the conference governments that ratified the ICPD PoA, committed to work and make progress in population issues. This formed a basis where these governments could be held accountable for implementing their agreements
Over the years the commission has met annually to discuss and review its outcome document. The commission this year commemorated its 50th session since it started functioning. The session witnessed the presence of over 80 member states from all continents participating. Other participants included persons from civil society organizations, other UN agencies as well as the African Union.
In times when there are changes in population with a lot of challenges, climate change, global financial crisis and increased refugees and displaced persons, it has become important that countries that are progressive especially with relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights to streamline their activities and policies in line with the PoA and also in the coming years.
During the week countries presented their statements in line with the theme stating how far they have come as well as looking at the way forward. There were also informal negotiations where governments negotiated and lobbied for thematic areas that should be included in the draft resolution at the end of the session. This resolution will provide new areas and ways of dealing with population issues in line with the CPD.
Also during the session Ghana was part of the eight countries who had volunteered to make national presentations on how far they had gone in implementing the ICPD program of action. Civil society also read oral statements that called on delegations to prioritize some areas during negotiations. Another major activity that happened were the various side events organized by CSOs and various missions. They presented opportunities for participants to deliberate further about some of the issues whiles sharing ideas and best practices whiles moving forward.
One major challenge I felt as a young person was the low level of youth participation at this year’s CPD. Although a few of the young people present had come with civil society, most delegations had no young persons in their teams. This is disheartening especially when reaping demographic dividend cannot be achieved without meaningful youth participation.
The session unfortunately ended without a resolution. This was due to the fact that delegates had not been able to reach a consensus on some areas in the resolution. This is sad and unfortunate because in a time when we are working towards achieving the agenda 2030, which also seeks not to leave anyone behind, such situations hinder the progress being made.
Esenam Amuzu, Curious Minds