At the fifth global parliamentarians’ conference on population and development, held in Istanbul on 24-25 May, some 400 delegates, including more than 200 parliamentarians, discussed a course of action over the coming years to implement the ICPD Programme of Action by 2014 and beyond. They also considered ways to influence any new development framework to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, ahead of the crucial Family Planning Summit that will take place in London in July 2012.
“ICPD is about human beings, respect, rights, and what we can do to ensure that every individual can make his or her own decisions,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. “Only then would the world be in a better place.”
This sentiment was echoed by EPF President Hon. George Tsereteli, MP, who said: “the ICPD is the agenda of survival, compassion, dignity and love.”
With only two years until the Cairo agenda is expected to be complete, delegates committed themselves to its unfinished plan by unanimously adopting the Istanbul Declaration of Commitment. In it, and under the theme, Keeping Promises — Measuring Results, they determined to advocate for increased national and external funding for the entire implementation of the ICPD agenda in order to achieve access to sexual and reproductive health, including family planning.
In particular, they committed to strive to “attain at least 10 per cent of national development budgets and development assistance budgets for population and reproductive health programmes.” That includes HIV prevention and reproductive health commodities. They also re-committed to ensuring the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for official development is met.
They pledged to support policies that give special attention to the specific concerns and needs of young people by promoting and protecting their right to “access good quality education at all levels, health, sexual and reproductive services, including comprehensive sexuality education,” and to adopt measures to prevent all types of exploitation and abuse against them.
Finally, delegates decided to build a global network of ICPD supporters, and to ensure that “ICPD’s continuing and emerging priorities and concerns are reflected in the ICPD Beyond 2014 discussions and reporting.” They also called upon the United Nations General Assembly “to play a key role in building support for the ICPD Programme of Action,” and committed to holding themselves accountable for reporting on the follow-up to the IPCI commitments.
The Istanbul conference, which concluded with an address by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was organized by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) and UNFPA, under the auspices of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly. It followed four similar global conferences, in Bangkok in 2006, Strasbourg in 2004, Ottawa in 2002 and Addis Ababa in 2009.
EPF's sister networks AFPPD (from Asia) and IAPG (from the Americas) were also closely involved in the organisation of the conference.