Saturday, September 14, 2013
ACTIVE NEGOTIATING IN GLOBAL ISSUES: CASE OF POPULATION CONFERENCE IN CAIRO 1994
ZAMBIA'S NEGOTIATING INTERVENTIONS DURING THE ICPD IN CAIRO, EGYPT, 1994: A REPORT BY CHAIRMAN OF THE NEGOTIATING TEAM TO THE MAIN COMMITTEE OF THE ICPD CONFERENCE, DR KATELE KALUMBA MP TO THE HEAD OF DELEGATION.HIS HONOR THE VICE PRESIDENT, BRIGADIER GENERAL MIYANDA MP
DELEGATION STATUS: VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE
The Zambian advance Party participated in pre-conference preparations in which Zambia, was elected to the Vice Presidency of the Conference along with other 26 member states as provided for under Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure governing the conduct of the conference. Formally, the Zambian delegation leader , Hon. Brigadier- General Miyanda , served in the capacity of the Vice President of the Plenary. In the plenary, the Vice President was supported by Hon. Keli Walubita, MP, Minister of Information who deputized in the Plenary; Hon. Dr Katele Kalumba; Hon. Paul Tembo, and the Zambian Ambassador to Egypt Dr Angel Mwenda.
Under Section IX of the Rules of procedure, Rule 46 empowered the Conference to establish the substantive negotiating or operating Committee called the Main Committee whose mandate was to negotiate and or approve the text of the Conference Document to be adopted by the Conference on Population and Sustainable Development. The Leader of the Zambian delegation designated Hon (Dr) Katele Kalumba as Chairman of the Zambian negotiating Team on the Main Committee as provided for under Rule 47. Under the same Rule, Hon. Paul Tembo, Dr Caleb Fundanga, Ms Josephine Mapoma, Dr Mary Shilalukey-Ngoma, Mr Raymond Chipoma, Mr Stephen Sianga, Hon Lavu Mulimba, Ms Edridge. Mutale., and Ms Mwila Chigaga were available as "alternate representatives and advisers".
WORKING METHODS OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE
Rule 46 provides for the establishment of subcommittees or working Groups and other informal structures such as "friends of the Chair" as negotiating devices on matters likely to require extra attention or may have proved to be highly contentious. And in accordance with established traditions before the Cairo conference, the Chairman of the Main Committee, Ghana represented by Dr Fred Sai, conducted wide ranging consultations with member states' "groupings" such as the Group of 77 chaired by Algeria, in which Zambia was represented, the European Union represented by Germany, The Caribbean States. Egypt and Pakistan led the Islamic Group that liaised with the Holy See on matters of common interest. Attempts to establish a consensus building Group around the OAU chaired by Tunisia in order to refocus the conference on development issues was not successful. Part of the difficulty related to the potential for duplication particularly in the context of the G77. the other reason may have been a strict definition of the meaning of Rule 16 (2) which proscribed discussions on "recommendations resulting from pre-conference consultations." As it turned out, other groups or delegations did not respect this rule and opened up debate on issues agreed upon in Preparatory meetings before.
The Holy See, backed by Benin, Argentina, Peru, Malta and the Dominican Republic formed a significant block referred to as the "Population Police" or the "Abortion Watchers". These groupings called informal consultative meetings on contentious items in order to secure a common negotiating position with other groups.
The working methods of the Main Committee required that the Head of the Negotiating Team in each delegation was backed up at all times by his or her support team to cover the many informal consultative meetings and collect intelligence on shifting positions in other delegations.. It also meant the use of Team members in addition to, and under the mandate of the Team leader, to participate in lobbying for support on country positions from other delegations. For any delegation, this requires a great amount of team work and a degree of social interactiveness that would be non-intrusive by other delegates.
Because much of the negotiating was going on informally and at different times, most delegations used targeted lobbying effectively to rally support around their proposals. Some other delegations such as the US; Pakistan, the Holy See, and the UK convened special informal meetings with countries sharing common or even opposing stances on some specific issues in their offices to fashion out proposals. The Zambian delegation participated in such meetings to varying degrees depending on availability of support staff and space at any point in time. Coordinating these activities was not always easy for the Zambian delegation even though much was achieved under the circumstances.
Zambia's negotiating position was based on the ( i) Draft " Zambian Delegation's Negotiating Position Paper on the Draft Cairo Programme of Action"; (ii) The International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP), Cairo Egypt 5-13th September 1994 National Paper, and Plenary Presentation by the Vice President. As in all major strategic negotiating scenarios under the UN system which applies the consensus approach, key negotiators have to avoid being put in a reactive stance and position their delegation, as the negotiation proceed on the ground as close to the centre of the key players as possible. Under the traditions of the UN systems, it is often the case that decisions are reached based upon considerations external to the substantive rationale of each country's formal or publicly declared position. There is therefore need to be clear for the negotiating team, about its political mandates as well as its margins of room to manouvre. And since , in many instances, compromises on difficult issues are reached under various informal settings, structured and unstructured consultations were necessary within the team and between the Team Leader and the Head of Delegation.
Applying such understanding, the Zambian delegation moved to define its substantive negotiating positions on the ground by blending its mandates as set out in its official Conference texts and through a careful study of other delegations documents and exchanged notes , and rules of procedures. Rule 33 of the Rules of Procedure on Decision Making encourages consensus or what is referred to as "General Agreement". This meant in effect, that meetings are conducted informally and only formally to announce agreement. The workings of the Main Committee strictly adhered to this rule. Rule 20 provided for members to raise points of order while Rule 21 provided for members to address the committee on the question before the conference and Rule 24 provided for the Chair's privilege to accord a member the Right of Reply on a question relevant to its core position often when critical remarks were made. Debates about rules of procedures are often devices used to raise substantive issues outside the question before the floor and changes in them prejudice outcomes on specific formal issues. Zambia's delegation paid particular attention to the need to maintain consultation with strategic partners such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Swaziland, Namibia, Norway, Sweden, Egypt, South Africa and even the Holy See as grounds shifted on certain procedures and issues such as Sexual and Reproductive rights, Rights to family re-unification, marriage, other unions and the family etc. On resources, Zambia had to initiate specific negotiating position for the Committee's consideration that opened up new avenues of debate in light of consultations with WHO, Ambassadorial briefs from the UN and Egyptian offices.
THE ISSUES DISCUSSED IN THE MAIN COMMITTEE AND ZAMBIA'S STANCES:
1. CHAPTER 1: PREAMBLE
It was the position of the G77 with the agreement of the European Union that the Preamble, which had not been discussed during the PREP COMM just as Chapter 2 on Principles will be taken up first. When discussions opened on the chapter to consider proposals by the G77 to make it more concise, it however, introduced new language which raised new concerns by members.
It became immediately clear to the Chair and the Committee during discussions on the G77 proposals that consensus on it would require further refinement. Many members spoke on this chapter forcing the Main Committee Chairman to suggest that he constitutes a meeting of "Friends of the Chair" to redraft the Preamble.
Zambia's intervention on the Preamble were registered at two points:
a) Before the text was withdrawn for redrafting and the G77 proposal was no longer tenable. The text of Zambia's intervention drew the attention of the Committee to the logical structuring of the Chapter in the Preamble in support of the G77 proposals. Zambia argued that para 1.1 set the optimism that justified this new global initiative and which was best captured in the last sentence of this paragraph, "Never before has the world community had so many resources......" and logically followed this by a tempered appreciation of the challenges that made the CAIRO Conference necessary as listed in paras 1.2; 1.3; 1.4; However, the interpositioning of paras 1.5; 1.6;1.7; which were followed by further listing of challenges in paras 1.8 to 1.16 appeared logically cumbersome or convoluted. The interposed paras 1.5-7 discuss previous International Conferences and Summits and Future Summits relevant to issues the Cairo meeting was to address. In other words, while substantive, a discussion of previous and future conferences at this point interrupted the logical flow of the argument.
b) Zambia intervened the second time on 9th September, 1994, when a new Preamble was submitted to the Main Committee formally by the Chairman Dr Sai. Zambia supported the new text which had a coherence in its logical structure : The text of Zambia's support of the preamble was cast against a negotiating position on resources as follows:
1. Zambia supports the broad goals on education, universal access to reproductive health services (including family planning).
2. Zambia supports the 20/20 iniatiaves that will greatly correct the imbalance of the macroeconomic adjustment and their effects on human development priorities--- education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation etc.
Zambia endorsed the final text of the preamble which made reference to its concerns on resources on September 12th, 1994 without any reservation.
CHAPTER 2: PRINCIPLES
Zambia agreed with other delegates that this chapter formed the core of the rest of the text and should therefore be very carefully and precisely worded. Zambia participated in the G77 meetings to reach consensus on the wording of the "Chapeau" suggested by the EU/Ammended by G77 on 9 th September 1994. This was later submitted to the main committee for approval. The Chapeau or introduction to Principles approved by the G77 read:
The Implementation of the recommendations contained in the Programme of Action is a sovereign right of each country consistent with its national laws and development priorities, with full respect for its diverse religious and ethical values, and in conformity with universally recognized international human rights principles. International cooperation and universal solidarity, guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter, and in the spirit of partnership, are crucial in order to improve the quality of life of the peoples of the world.
Zambia endorsed, the final text of the Principles as agreed upon by the G77 and as presented to the Main Committee on 12th September, 1994 without reservations.
CHAPTER 3: INTERRELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POPULATION, SUSTAINED ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Zambian delegation approved the text presented by the Chairman's working Group in which the following changes were made:
a) 3.16 delete the bracketed text in line five and add "all" after guarantee of ... ; insert "developed and " between the text in the next sentence which says women in....developing countries; remove the brackets in the rest of the text .
b) 3.21 revise end of first sentence by removing brackets and after environmentally sound basis insert " and greater investment in human resource development and the development of ... end sentence with "good governance".
3.22 Remove brackets on text.
CHAPTER 4: GENDER EQUALITY, EQUITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
The Zambian delegation negotiating team had no problem accepting the Revised Text with its very minor changes which preserved the core principles of the chapter. In accepting the chapter, the Zambian delegation was guided by and made specific reference to the Address to the Plenary by the Head of the Zambian Delegation to Cairo on the Empowerment of women.
CHAPTER 5: THE FAMILY, ITS ROLES, RIGHTS, COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE
5.1 The Zambian negotiating delegation accepted and in fact had argued for and persuaded the Holy See to accept the changes to the first sentence which had been revised from " While various concepts of the family...." to " While various forms of the family" on the grounds that Zambia believed that :
" Families as social structures or entities can only exist in real nature as forms and not as concepts".
This position was unanimously endorsed by the delegates and although the Holy See initially made reservations, it accepted the change after informal consultations which included a lobby by the Zambian negotiating Team.
5.5 The Zambia delegation while accepting the rest of the chapter registered very strong reservations to the Revisions on this section sought by Islamic countries as a possible compromise with the EU and some Caribbean states. The EU insisted that despite their participating in the Working Group they reserved their position to retain the original language which would make reference to "marriage, other unions, and the family " knowing clearly well that Islamic countries had labelled this conference a Conference on homosexuality on account of the words "other unions". Zambia was the first to register a "counter" reservation to dropping the words "marriage" followed by Zimbabwe and many other countries including the Holy See. It also successfully persuaded Egypt to share the stance. Zambia's strategy was that this reservation offered the Main Committee a negotiating position with the EU in addition to the legal status of the institution of marriage.
The Chairman therefore proposed a working group to examine a compromise. In its submissions to the Working Group, Zambia proposed the use of the terms " various forms of marriages and families" as the existence of diversity of the legal status of conjugal relationships in common law and otherwise would be respected. This was acceptable to the Caribbeans but not to the European Union. Zambia and Zimbabwe argued that our stance on "marriage" was also related to the need to empower governments to promote policies which would control cultural practices inimical to the status of women such as in "forced marriages" and also "sexual cleansing" practices which promoted the transmission of killer diseases such as HIV\AIDS. Zambia argued, in trying to help the EU come out of its social policy dilemma that the proposed formulation suggested by Zambia assumed that unions other legal marriages are accepted in EU's common law and customary laws of many societies and therefore may not preclude social policies in support of peculiar forms. Furthermore, the phrasing does not assume issues of the gender forms in these marriages or their structure: monogamous or polygamous. The EU negotiators felt that while the proposal was acceptable, they had no mandate from their Ministers to trade the language and would therefore go back to consult. There was a chance that this issue might be opened up during the Plenary by the EU. In this regard, Zambia must reserve the right to speak on it in defense of the institution of marriage as proposed above.
CHAPTER 6. POPULATION GROWTH AND STRUCTURE
The Zambian delegation to the main committee approved the revisions in chapter 6 and specifically 6.27 which included an insert in the sentence after "enable them to (insert) 'have tenure and manage their lands'. It accepted the removal of the letter "s" within brackets in the words "indigenous peoples".
CHAPTER 7: REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS , [ SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH] AND FAMILY PLANNING
This was one of the most contentious chapters because of the reference to "Fertility Regulation" , "Sexual and Reproductive Rights", "Sexual" , "Reproductive". After broad consultations there was consensus over the terms "sexual and reproductive health" but not on " Fertility regulation" or reference to "Reproductive Rights."
7.1 The Zambian delegation submitted a compromise proposal to the working Group to consider "Fertility Decisions" instead of regulation as the later implied policy interventions and a technical definition by the WHO which referred to abortion after some informal consultations with some countries of the EU, the USA, Australia, and Zimbabwe. Two terms were proposed during this consultation under the Chairmanship of the USA . "Regulation of Fertility" and "Fertility Decisions" . Later consultations with Holy See signalled that they would approve the concept of "Fertility Decisions" but countries with Research programmes on expanded definition of choice on Fertility regulation would not. Zambia's submission was that the concept of "Fertility decisions", does not carry any embedded meaning of abortion and could be so defined by the Conference as to refer to reproductive choices families or individuals are called upon, in nature, to make. It allows policy makers and health promoters a necessary imperative that in fertility issues individuals have the challenge and are primary actors in "deciding" within the bounds of national laws. Intensive lobby persuaded the Holy See and its allies to accept in the working group, the compromise term of "regulation of fertility choices which are not against the law". This was a great compromise with the reservation by the Holy See that this did not signify that the Vatican approved abortion.
7.2 In supporting the concept of "Sexual and Reproductive Rights" The Zambian delegation to the main committee was guided by Zambia's speech to the Plenary as well as by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 para 1. and on the basis of Recommendation 30 of the 1984 Mexico City Report on the International Conference on Population and Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action Part 1, para 18.
This chapter has yet to be approved by the main committee. In making its case, Zambia argued that the issue required the Committee and the Conference to address the concerns of women. The full text of the Zambian position in contributing to the combined discussion on item 7.1 and 7.2 also argued on need to maintain a balance between moral imperatives in the governance of society and concepts of social emancipation. Zambia believed that the human capacity for self-reproduction far exceeded that of self-annihilation and therefore the real issue had to do with the cries for the need to maintain the social and physical integrity of women.
CHAPTER 8: HEALTH, MORBIDITY, AND MORTALITY.
The most widely debated part of the Proposed Programme of Action has been para 8.25 of this chapter. The Zambian delegation reacted to this paragraph consistently at three points. In its first intervention before the Chairman Revised text. It supported ALTERNATIVE 8.25 in the Conference document with suggestions to seek a consensus between those countries calling any form of TOP as illegal and /or sin and those seeking to secure a language that would consider the safety of both the mother and the unborn child.
The second intervention was to the Chairman's Revised first Draft: The Zambian reaction was to endorse the proposal as the minimalist position. However, as a country with a law that provides for TOP when medically indicated, Zambia would reserve its endorsement if there were any further attempts to dilute this text or to remove reference to the fact, there are countries, where legal instruments exist to protect the lives of women when threatened by complications of pregnancy. Zambia supported the formulation that protects the sovereign rights of members to take measures on the question of abortion within their national legislative framework.
The last intervention was in recognition of the fact that Zambia's concerns had been taken care of in the final text of "Friends of the Chair" which was accompanied by a WHO definition on "unsafe abortion".
CHAPTER 9: POPULATION DISTRIBUTION, URBANIZATION AND INTERNAL MIGRATION
Zambia endorsed this chapter without 'bracketed" terms as these had dropped.
CHAPTER 10: INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION
Zambia endorsed the changes to para 10.7 as proposed by the chair. However, Zambia along all the G77 countries and others except the EU, Canada, Australia etc, registered strong reservation on revisions to para 10.12 which did not recognize the "Right to family re-unification" of documented migrants. Zambia's stance was based on the consistent view that CAIRO must protect the institutions of marriage and the family in legal and moral stances. Furthermore, Article 10 (1) in the Conventions on the Rights of the Child, the right to family re-unification is already an existing convention. State Parties are bound by that Convenant on the Rights of the Child to protect this Right. Zambia could not violate therefore, its international obligations on the issue. These objections forced a revisiting of the text which accommodated these concerns in the final text which Zambia and all delegates approved on September the 12th, 1994.
CHAPTER 11: POPULATION DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION.
Zambia endorsed the revised 'unbracketed'" text without reservation.
CHAPTER 12: TECHNOLOGY, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Zambia's position endorsed the final text presented on the 12th September with reference to consensus on "regulation of fertility" in Chapter 7. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Article 15.1 (b) recognises the right to "the benefits of scientific progress" and hence protects a stance which would argue for the expansion of reproductive choice as an objective of research.
CHAPTER 13. NATIONAL ACTION
Zambia's position on this chapter was to support the 20/20 initiative. The country position was formulated and presented to the Main Committee and later to the Working Group as a proposal.
Zambia argued against making family planning another vertical program. The challenge at country level was to offer integrated reproductive health services within PHC that were affordable at the national and individual levels. In order to do this there need to make use of existing infrastructures and revitalize these. Zambia argued that notwithstanding para 13.14 paragraph 13.15 was suggesting a new delivery system centered on the family planning infrastructure. We noted paragraph 13.17 proposed "additional resources for the health centre". This was a vague term. The health sector was only one vehicle for interventions on reproductive health. This was not conceivable given the small allocation of resources set out in 13.15 (b). Different formulations were circulated centered around this position by other delegations and some compromise reached on the 12th of September that stressed the importance of para 13.14. Zambia endorsed the final text.
CHAPTER 14: INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Zambia's stance was to remove brackets on paras 14.3 (b); 14.3 (f); 14.11; seek clarification on 14.14 and 14.15 in a manner that is inclusive of African interests before brackets are removed; remove brackets on 14.17. This was achieved and therefore Zambia endorsed the final text.
CHAPTER 15: PARTNERSHIP WITH NGOs
Zambia's position was to drop all brackets and to advise that sexual and reproductive health are used sparingly in this chapter i.e. only when necessary.
CHAPTER 16: FOLLOW-UP ACTION :
Zambia's stance was to remove brackets and support the first alternative.
September 12, 1994