Posted on | June 13, 2012 by Timothy Herrmann |
We just finished with the latest round of negotiations on the health and gender sections of the Rio +20 draft document. Here is an update:
As previously mentioned, delegations like the Holy See are concerned with the language found in both paragraph 8 and 9 of the health section. Both paragraphs mention sexual and reproductive health. Paragraph 8 in particular calls for the “full implementation” of the Programme of Action of ICPD. The G77 asked to replace “full implementation” with different language since “full implementation” could imply the implementation of the Programme of Action without its many reservations, such as its reservation on abortion.
The Holy See has a number of reservations in both paragraphs and is attempting to encourage language supportive of maternal health care as well as universal health care over access to “sexual and reproductive health” and family planning. So far they do not have much support, but tomorrow morning we will have a better idea of where we stand.
The negotiations on the health, gender, and education sections of the text are chaired by Norway. This means that everyday, after negotiations, Norway is in charge of what language is included in the draft text to be negotiated the next day. Though this does not mean that they have the final word, it does mean that they can continue to influence the way that the sexual and reproductive health agenda, which they support, remains in the text.
During negotiations New Zealand attempted to suggest, once again, language supportive of population control. Their suggestion comes directly from the UNFPA and uses the term “population dynamics”. We have already covered the problems with this language in a previous post that can be found here and here. Thankfully their proposal was not accepted. The G77 group, made up countries from the developing world with burgeoning populations, even stated during negotiations that such terminology is seen as promoting population control and could not be accepted by any means. This is a major defeat for the UNFPA which has been lobbying heavily to include this term in the text.
The G77 also asked for clarification in health paragraph 9, which claims that adolescents have a “human right” to “have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality”. New Zealand claimed that such language was agreed upon at the recent conference on “Adolescents and Youth” held by the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) this year. Thankfully, the Holy See pointed out that the document agreed upon at CPD was only “agreed upon” by the 54 nations that sit on the commission and was not an actual document of “consensus”.
Additionally, no agreed definition of adolescents or youth (in terms of the actual age range the terms should include) exists in UN documents. As a matter of fact, not even the CPD document on “Adolescents and Youth” agrees upon a definition. For this reason, it is our hope that the reference to adolescents (or youth) will be taken out entirely.
Negotiations will get started again tomorrow morning. As always, C-FAM will keep you posted.