Press Releases

    15 April 2005

    Commission on Population and Development Concludes Thirty-Eighth Session, Says Urgent Action Against HIV/Aids Crucial to Meeting Global Anti-Poverty Goals

    Urges Increased Development Assistance to Fight Epidemic, Measures to Empower Women to Protect Themselves from Infection

    NEW YORK, 14 April (UN Headquarters) -- As it concluded its thirty-eighth session this afternoon, the Commission on Population and Development stressed the profound impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on social and economic development and urged the international community to complement the efforts of developing countries to fight the epidemic through increased development assistance.

    By unanimously adopting a five-page resolution on Population, Development and HIV/AIDS with a particular emphasis on poverty (document E/CN.9/2005/L.4), as orally revised, the Commission said urgent and sustained action was required in all fields and at all levels. It urged governments to take measures to increase the capacity of adults and adolescents -- empowering women in particular -- to protect themselves from HIV infection.

    In explanations after the resolution’s adoption, the representatives of the United States, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador said that they had agreed with the consensus on the understanding that no terms in the text could be interpreted as endorsing a right to abortion. Luxembourg’s representative, on behalf of the European Union, along with the representative of Norway, reaffirmed that reproductive health services were integral to the struggle against HIV/AIDS and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

    The Commission adopted one additional resolution and three draft decisions to close its thirty-eighth session this afternoon. In its second resolution (document E/CN.9/2005/L.5), the Commission reaffirmed the contributions of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

    The Commission also adopted by consensus a draft decision on its methods of work (document E/CN.9/2005/L.7, as orally revised), by which it decided to establish at its upcoming session a multi-year programme of work to cover a series of general themes which would be based on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and its implementation.

    In addition, the Commission adopted its report on the thirty-eighth session (document E/CN.9/2005/L.3, also orally amended), which was introduced by Majdi Ramadan (Lebanon) in the absence of the Commission Rapporteur. It further adopted its provisional agenda for the thirty-ninth session (document E/CN.9/2005/L.2), with a special theme, entitled “International migration and development”, and took note of the substantive documents submitted to it by the Secretariat, namely documents E/CN.9/2005/4,5, 7, 8 and 9. It also decided on a special theme for the year 2007 (document E/CN.9/2005/L.6, as orally revised), entitled “The changing age structures of populations and their implications for development”.

    Closing remarks were made by the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Patrizio Civili, who said that the Commission had rightly recognized that an intensified and effective global response to HIV/AIDS should be a crucial, integral part of the effort to achieve the internationally-agreed development goals. Imelda Henkin, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that fully linking interventions for reproductive health and HIV/AIDS would allow the hardest-hit groups, women and young people, to be reached for prevention and treatment.

    Finally, Crispin Grey-Johnson (Gambia), the Commission’s Chairperson, and Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division, thanked delegates and United Nations staff for their work.

    The Commission’s thirty-eighth session took place from 2 to 8 April. During the session, the Commission heard from two key-note speakers. On 3 April, Debrework Zewdie, Director of the World Bank’s Global HIV/AIDS Programme, addressed the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and its implications for development. On 4 April, Paulo Texeira, Senior Coordinator, São Paulo (Brazil) STD/AIDS Programme, spoke on strategies to prevent HIV transmission and reduce the spread of the epidemic. [For background information on the Commission and summaries of the reports before it, see press release POP/920 of 31 March.]

    Immediately following the closure of the session, the Commission met to elect the Bureau of its thirty-ninth session. Crispin Grey-Johnson (Gambia) was elected as Chairperson. Majid Ramadan (Lebanon), Ewa Fratczak (Poland), Elena Zuniga (Mexico) and Albert Karl Graf (Germany) were elected as Vice-Chairpersons.

    The Commission on Population and Development will meet again at a date to be announced in the Journal.

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