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International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

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Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development

Chapter 14 : International Cooperation

A. Responsibilities of partners in development

B. Towards a new commitment to funding population and development


A. Responsibilities of partners in development                                 [ UP ]

Basis for action

14.1. International cooperation has been proved to be essential for the implementation of population and development programmes during the past two decades. The number of financial donors has steadily increased and the profile of the donor community has increasingly been shaped by the growing presence of non-governmental and private-sector organizations. Numerous experiences of successful cooperation between developing countries have dispelled the stereotyped view of donors being exclusively developed countries. Donor partnerships have become more prevalent in a variety of configurations, so that it is no longer unusual to find Governments and multilateral organizations working closely together with national and international non-governmental organizations and segments of the private sector. This evolution of international cooperation in population and development activities reflects the considerable changes that have taken place during the past two decades, particularly with the greater awareness of the magnitude, diversity and urgency of unmet needs. Countries that formerly attached minimal importance to population issues now recognize them at the core of their development challenge. International migration and AIDS, for instance, formerly matters of marginal concern to a few countries, are currently high-priority issues in a large number of countries.

14.2. The maturing process undergone by international cooperation in the field of population and development has accentuated a number of difficulties and shortcomings that need to be addressed. For instance, the expanding number and configuration of development partners subjects both recipients and donors to increasing pressures to decide among a multitude of competing development priorities, a task which recipient Governments in particular may find exceedingly difficult to carry out. Lack of adequate financial resources and effective coordination mechanisms have been found to result in unnecessary duplication of efforts and lack of programme congruency. Sudden shifts in the development policies of donors may cause disruptions of programme activities across the world. Re-establishing and adhering to national priorities requires a new clarification of, and commitment to, reciprocal responsibilities among development partners.


14.3. The objectives are:

(a) To ensure that international cooperation in the area of population and development is consistent with national population and development priorities centred on the well-being of intended beneficiaries and serves to promote national capacity-building and self-reliance;

(b) To urge that the international community adopt favourable macroeconomic policies for promoting sustained economic growth and sustainable development in developing countries;

(c) To clarify the reciprocal responsibilities of development partners and improve coordination of their efforts;

(d) To develop long-term joint programmes between recipient countries and between recipient and donor countries;

(e) To improve and strengthen policy dialogue and coordination of population and development programmes and activities at the international level, including bilateral and multilateral agencies;

(f) To urge that all population and development programmes, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of each country's people, adhere to basic human rights recognized by the international community and recalled in the present Programme of Action.


14.4. At the programme level, national capacity-building for population and development and transfer of appropriate technology and know-how to developing countries, including countries with economies in transition, must be core objectives and central activities for international cooperation. In this respect, important elements are to find accessible ways to meet the large commodity needs, of family-planning programmes, through the local production of contraceptives of assured quality and affordability, for which technology cooperation, joint ventures and other forms of technical assistance should be encouraged.

14.5. The international community should promote a supportive economic environment by adopting favourable macroeconomic policies for promoting sustained economic growth and development.

14.6. Governments should ensure that national development plans take note of anticipated international funding and cooperation in their population and development programmes, including loans from international financial institutions, particularly with respect to national capacity-building, technology cooperation and transfer of appropriate technology, which should be provided on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, taking into account the need to protect international property rights, as well as the special needs of developing countries.

14.7. Recipient Governments should strengthen their national coordination mechanisms for international cooperation in population and development, and in consultations with donors clarify the responsibilities assigned to various types of development partners, including intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, based on careful consideration of their comparative advantages in the context of national development priorities and of their ability to interact with national development partners. The international community should assist recipient Governments to undertake these coordinating efforts.

B. Towards a new commitment to funding population and development
                                                                                                              [ UP ]

Basis for action

14.8. There is a strong consensus on the need to mobilize significant additional financial resources from both the international community and within developing countries and countries with economies in transition for national population programmes in support of sustainable development. The Amsterdam Declaration on a Better Life for Future Generations, adopted at the International Forum on Population in the Twenty-first Century, held at Amsterdam in 1989, called on Governments to double the total global expenditures in population programmes and on donors to increase substantially their contribution, in order to meet the needs of millions of people in developing countries in the fields of family planning and other population activities by the year 2000. However, since then, international resources for population activities have come under severe pressure, owing to the prolonged economic recession in traditional donor countries. Also, developing countries face increasing difficulties in allocating sufficient funds for their population and related programmes. Additional resources are urgently required to better identify and satisfy unmet needs in issues related to population and development, such as reproductive health care, including family-planning and sexual health information and services, as well as to respond to future increases in demand, to keep pace with the growing demands that need to be served, and to improve the scope and quality of programmes.

14.9. To assist the implementation of population and reproductive health care, including family-planning and sexual health programmes, financial and technical assistance from bilateral and multilateral agencies have been provided to the national and subnational agencies involved. As some of these began to be successful, it became desirable for countries to learn from one another's experiences, through a number of different modalities (e.g., long- and short- term training programmes, observation study tours and consultant services).


14.10. The objectives are:

(a) To increase substantially the availability of international financial assistance in the field of population and development in order to enable developing countries and countries with economies in transition to achieve the goals of the present Programme of Action as they pursue their self-reliant and capacity-building efforts;

(b) To increase the commitment to, and the stability of, international financial assistance in the field of population and development by diversifying the sources of contributions, while striving to avoid as far as possible a reduction in the resources for other development areas. Additional resources should be made available for short-term assistance to the countries with economies in transition;

(c) To increase international financial assistance to direct South-South cooperation and to facilitate financing procedures for direct South-South cooperation.


14.11. The international community should strive for the fulfilment of the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of the gross national product for overall official development assistance and endeavour to increase the share of funding for population and development programmes commensurate with the scope and scale of activities required to achieve the objectives and goals of the present Programme of Action. A crucially urgent challenge to the international donor community is therefore the translation of their commitment to the objectives and quantitative goals of the present Programme of Action into commensurate financial contributions to population programmes in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Given the magnitude of the financial resource needs for national population and development programmes (as identified in chapter XIII), and assuming that recipient countries will be able to generate sufficient increases in domestically generated resources, the need for complementary resource flows from donor countries would be in the order of (in 1993 US dollars): $5.7 billion in 2000; $6.1 billion in 2005; $6.8 billion in 2010; and $7.2 billion in 2015. The international community takes note of the initiative to mobilize resources to give all people access to basic social services, known as the 20/20 initiative, which will be studied further in the context of the World Summit for Social Development.

14.12. Recipient countries should ensure that international assistance for population and development activities is used effectively to meet national population and development objectives so as to assist donors to secure commitment to further resources for programmes.

14.13. The United Nations Population Fund, other United Nations organizations, multilateral financial institutions, regional banks and bilateral financial sources are invited to consult, with a view to coordinating their financing policies and planning procedures to improve the impact, complementarity and cost-effectiveness of their contributions to the achievement of the population programmes of the developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

14.14. Criteria for allocation of external financial resources for population activities in developing countries should include:

(a) Coherent national programmes, plans and strategies on population and development;

(b) The recognized priority to the least developed countries;

(c) The need to complement national financial efforts on population;

(d) The need to avoid obstacles to, or reversal of, progress achieved thus far;

(e) Problems of significant social sectors and areas that are not reflected in national average indicators.

14.15. Countries with economies in transition should receive temporary assistance for population and development activities in the light of the difficult economic and social problems these countries face at present.

14.16. In devising the appropriate balance between funding sources, more attention should be given to South-South cooperation as well as to new ways of mobilizing private contributions, particularly in partnership with non-governmental organizations. The international community should urge donor agencies to improve and modify their funding procedures in order to facilitate and give higher priority to supporting direct South-South collaborative arrangements.

14.17. Innovative financing, including new ways of generating public and private financing resources and various forms of debt relief should be explored.

14.18. International financial institutions are encouraged to increase their financial assistance, particularly in population and reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health care.

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