United Nations General Assembly: Commission on Population and Development 55th Session – CANZ statement

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative, H.E. Justin Fepuleai

I have the privilege today to speak on behalf of Australia, Canada and my own country, New Zealand.

We join our colleagues in expressing our sincere appreciation to you, Ambassador Manalo of Philippines, and to the members of the Bureau for your tireless work in supporting the Commission’s work this year. We would like to thank, in particular, Ms Sara Offermans of the Netherlands and Ms Mayra Sorto Rosales of El Salvador, for their professionalism, diligence and perseverance, all of which were crucial to ensuring successful negotiations on the resolution for the Commission’s priority theme.

Mr Chair, we are very pleased that the Commission was able to agree by consensus the resolution on Population and Sustainable Development, in Particular Sustained and Inclusive Economic Growth. This is an important and timely issue, as the world seeks to recover from the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, address the adverse impacts of climate change, and as we come to terms with the global economic and development impacts of Russia’s premeditated, unjustified and unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

Nonetheless, achieving consensus on this resolution was by no means assured. This is only the second time that the Commission has been able to adopt a substantive resolution on its priority theme since 2016.

For too many years, we have seen negotiations break down over differences in positions on key concepts that our delegations believe are fundamental to the mandate and focus of the Commission, and to effective implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Concepts such as the need to address multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, the need to recognise and empower women and girls in all their diversity. And, crucially, the value of comprehensive sexuality education, which enables young people to protect and advocate for their own health, well being and dignity by providing them with a necessary toolkit of knowledge, attitudes and skills. We regret that these concepts, which are well understood and accepted by Member States in UN fora, were once again excluded from this year’s resolution.

We also regret that several member states continue efforts to narrow the scope of the Commission’s work, by excluding references to the outcomes of the review conferences that followed the ICPD and that serve as important guidance for the Commission and member states. References to the outcome documents of the review conferences are agreed language in SDG 5.6 and their exclusion is regressive.

Mr Chair, we believe it is important for the credibility of this Commission that member states engage in good faith in negotiations, and ensure these concepts are included in future outcome documents. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are deeply committed to working with you and all member states in this endeavour.

Thank you.


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