Istanbul, Turkey, 9-10 December 2011
(An informal summary of key points emanating from the ICPD Beyond 2014 Civil Society Stakeholder Group Consultation. An official report of the meeting should be available in due course)
UNFPA held a 2-day ICPD Beyond 2014 Civil Society Stakeholder Group Consultation in Istanbul, Turkey, on 9-10 December 2011. It provided an opportunity for some 50 representatives of Civil Society and Youth Organizations to be informed and to share information about the ICPD beyond 2014 operational review process; to discuss its component parts; and to identify thematic issues for consideration. In addition, it gave CSOs and Youth Organizations an opportunity to get feedback as to how they can be involved more effectively in the process.
A different type of review
At 5-yearly intervals since the time of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) there have been reviews of progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA). In format they have all be different, although they have included Expert and Technical Meetings, Regional Conferences and NGO activities. In 1999, for ICPD + 5 the Hague Forum was held, followed by a Special Session of the General Assembly at which the Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (Key Actions) were adopted. In 2004, for ICPD@10 a Global Survey was undertaken, the results of which were published in a report Investing in People. In 2009 there was no Special Session and no Global Survey, instead the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the ICPD PoA was marked with a Commemorative Session.
General Assembly Resolution A/65/234
Activities for the 20-year review are set out in UN General Assembly resolution A/65/234. The resolution provides the road map for activities for the process. It extends the ICPD Programme of Action indefinitely, although it is recognized that there are goals and targets that have, or will, become obsolete. Governments are encouraged to undertake reviews of progress that has been made at the national level. It calls on UNFPA to prepare an analysis on the state of population and development through an operational review. Relevant issues will then be compiled and forwarded to a Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 2014 in an index report that identifies recurrent themes and key elements and the findings of the operational review. Finally, it clearly states that there shall be no renegotiation of the ICPD Programme of Action.
The global review could provide the opportunity for the development of a monitoring framework through the outcome document, which will not be negotiated. This is something that is new in the ICPD process and that has not been tried before. It could, moreover, become the driver for moving forward beyond 2014. (see also Enabling resolution A/65/234 for ICPD at 20 and ICPD beyond 2014)
Involvement of Civil Society in the process
In addition to specialized agencies and other parts of the UN system, Civil Society and Youth Organizations are invited to be involved throughout the process of the operational review, particularly in the Global Survey that will be carried out during 2012 and the first part of 2013. It is hoped to expand the network of supporters of ICPD, although they will still remain a small part of civil society in general.
The process is predicated on the General Assembly resolution, which means that the timetable for involvement in the process is very tight and is not flexible.
Given that the General Assembly Special Session is likely to be held in either September or October 2014, there are less than 34 months for the Global Survey to be carried out, the Technical and Expert Group meetings to be held together with the Regional Conferences and the reports prepared. The questionnaires for the Global Survey will have to go to Governments in the second part of 2012 to ensure that they are completed in time for consideration in the Regional Conferences in 2013. Subsequently the reports will have to be prepared and go via the Commission on Population and Development to the Special Session.
UNFPA is planning regional level and youth consultations in the first part of 2012 including other organizations, and not just sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights organizations and youth groups, as the Global Survey will cover all areas of the ICPD PoA.
The Global Survey will be completed at the national level (see below) through a ‘country consultation process’, which UNFPA Country Offices will assist in convening and which will bring together Government, civil society including NGOs, youth organizations and academia, and others. Another process that CSOs might wish themselves to initiate is that of preparing a ‘shadow report’, which they may already do in other contexts, eg for Human Rights Treaty Bodies.
The operational review will comprise a series of inter-related activities including the Global Survey, country consultations, regional consultations, thematic reports, in-depth studies and expert group meetings. The Global Survey will be the core element of the process and all 193 Member States will be invited to contribute to it, through UNFPA Country Offices or their UN Missions in New York.
The core module will include:
- An ICPD Country Implementation Profile (CIP) based on an agreed list of process and impact indicators to be compiled with input from the regional commissions and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA);
- A questionnaire to be completed via a consultative process; and
- Optional modules to allow in-depth exploration of progress or lack thereof in specific areas, which will be developed by the UN Regional Commissions in consultation with UNFPA.
The following is an outline of the main steps in implementing the Global Survey:
- Development of an indicator framework for a systematic review of the ICPD PoA and Key Actions, the identification of existing data sources and a series of consultations with key stakeholders and specialists;
- The convening of an expert meeting to discuss the indicator framework and set priorities for the CIP, the template for which will be designed by UNFPA and the preparation of the Optional Modules;
- Compilation of data required for the CIP by UNFPA, in collaboration with the UN Regional Commissions and UNDESA, and distribution of completed CIPs with blank modules of the Global Survey for completion through a country consultation process for which guidance notes will be prepared and working methods developed;
- A database to be developed containing the coded and edited data and information collected through the Global Survey, with the information from the Survey being analysed and used for the reports at regional and global levels. The database which will be ready by February 2013 can be shared with the Regional Commissions and other partners;
- Regional reports to be prepared by the Regional Commissions by April 2013 as a basis for the regional review meetings which will take place between August and October 2013. The regional reports and outcomes of the regional review process documents will be transmitted to the ICPD Beyond 2014 technical team, based in UNFPA, between August and October 2013, to be fed into the global review process with their major conclusions being reflected in both the long and short reports on the operational review.
In developing the Global Survey, criteria will be used that are consistent with human rights standards and indicators as developed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Other components of the Operational Review
As mentioned above, Expert and Technical Meetings will be convened and Regional Conferences held, all of which will contribute to the report of the Operational Review which will be considered by the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) (2014) The relevant issues will then be compiled and forwarded for consideration by the UN General Assembly Special Session with “an index report indicating recurrent themes and key elements found therein, along with the finding of the operational review”.