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Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by IPPF


  1.  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in the field of Sexual and reproductive Health, welcomes the convening of the UN Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico in March 2002.

  2.  IPPF believes that this conference will provide an important opportunity for consolidating the gains achieved at previous UN conferences, and especially at the Earth Summit (Rio, 1992), the International Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993), the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), the Social Summit (Copenhagen, 1995) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995).

  3.  The Monterrey Conference will also represent an opportunity to provide a dynamic momentum in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration Goals (MDGs) through advocacy for the need to strengthen the world's resolve to eradicate poverty in accordance with the MDGs' roadmap approved by the UN General Assembly in September 2001.

  4.  In general, IPPF agrees with the Draft outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (The Monterrey Consensus), approved on 27 January 2002 and hopes that concrete steps be taken to implement the recommendations of the Conference. As an NGO having its roots in local communities in 180 countries, IPPF is only too aware that peoples' disappointment with the lack of implementation of well-meaning declarations and statements can only add to peoples despair.

  5.  IPPF is of the opinion, however, that the Monterrey Consensus has not given the issue of health in general, and the issue of reproductive health in particular, the importance they deserve in the current draft outcome. The relationships between health and development, as mutual cause and effect have been sufficiently documented. However, the implication of this relationship has not been taken into account in the various areas of the Consensus document, as will be illustrated in the following paragraphs.


  6.  IPPF agrees with the ideas stated in the Consensus document regarding the need to create the enabling environment for mobilising resources (good governance, fighting corruption, forging public-private partnerships). IPPF itself empowers its member Associations to mobilise domestic resources to achieve their goals. As a result for every $1 raised through external support, Family Planning Associations (FPAs) raise $2 locally.

  7.  However, while there is a need to devote around $40 per capita per year to finance an adequate health system, countries with a GNP of less than $500 per capita, are not able to generate enough resources to provide health to the poor and consequently are not able to escape the poverty trap. This situation is compounded by the fact that reproductive health, including family planning, is not mentioned in the Draft Monterrey Consensus despite the fact that they were the basis of the ICPD Programme of Action. Even if the importance of health in development is mentioned in paragraph 16 of the Draft Monterrey Consensus, IPPF feels that reproductive health should be recognised in the Financing for Development outcome Paper.

  8.  In order to place health in its right place in the development process, we suggest that the conference recognise that investment in health, including reproductive health, is a major key to development.


  9.  While there was a noticeable increase in the level of private capital flows in comparison with the flow of international public funds ($120 billion versus $65 billion in 2000), most of these funds have not reached the poorest countries. Only 5 per cent of private funds have been invested in Africa. In addition, most of these funds have not benefited the health and social sectors.

  10.  It is understandable that private funding goes where the return is greater. However, the conference should emphasise the need for public-private partnerships to be active also in the health and social development sectors and not only in the industrial and agricultural sectors.


  11.  Liberalisation of international trade, especially if it is linked to removing tariffs on poor countries' exports is certainly a positive step. In this regard, IPPF supports the resolutions by the World Trade Organisation in Doha, aiming at encouraging the participation of developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations. However, in order to improve the health conditions of the poor in developing countries, it is necessary to find a solution to the inequalities in the terms of trade between the "North" and "South". These include: limits on products which can be exported by developing countries; denying access to markets for local producers; enforced liberalisation of domestic markets, whereby multinationals are able to undercut all local producers thereby creating unemployment and a worsening cycle of poverty; and the patenting of intellectual property rights by northern-owned multinational pharmaceutical companies denying access to life-saving drugs such as AZT for HIV/AIDS.


  12.  IPPF supports the request of the Monterrey Consensus paper for developed countries to make concrete efforts towards the Official Development Assistance (ODA) target of 0.7 per cent of Gross national Product (GNP). In doing so, IPPF is mindful of the fact that international security issues may be used by a number of governments in order either not to reach the agreed target of 0.7 per cent or in diverting development assistance to security consideration, an act which, in the final analysis, would compound rather than eliminate poverty which often leads to acts of defiance against unfair socio-economic and political systems. It is essential, however to have strong commitment towards the 0.7 per cent target as the 21 richest countries have cut, since 1992, their aid to developing countries by 24 per cent and public development aid from the industrialised countries has fallen to an all-time low level of 0.22 per cent of their GNP, far below the 0.7 per cent target. If donor nations would meet the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP to ODA, total development aid would increase by 100 billion USD per year, thereby providing the majority of the additional funding required.

  13.  IPPF supports the EU agreement on monitoring the increase of ODA of each Member State (MS) (EC Communication to the Council, requested in the decision of the Development Council of 8 November 2001) which sets, by an iterative process, a sequence of realistic milestones on the way to reach the 0.7 per cent of GNP to ODA target for all MS. The report proposes that by 2006 at the latest, those EU MS below the 0.7 per cent target reach at least the current EU average of 0.33 per cent; this would imply that by 2006, the EU average would go up to 0.39 per cent. In the European Commission view, the new 0.39 per cent average would then be considered as an intermediate target. By a similar process, the new 0.39 per cent average would then be used as a minimum benchmark for all MS to reach by 2010 at the latest. IPPF is very supportive of the way the EU has taken up its monitoring role. Although recognising that this agreement means a slow process, IPPF welcomes the fact that, for the first time since 1974 when the 0.7 per cent target was agreed upon, a monitoring system will be put in place at the European level.

  14.  IPPF reaffirms the need to increase international development aid for reproductive health and population issues, as there is a clear shortfall in ODA spent on these issues discussed at the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994). At this conference, the international community set a global resource target for population and reproductive health programmes, including family planning, for the year 2000 of US$17 billion from external donor funding. While many countries, both developed and developing, have increased their contributions to population and reproductive health activities since the ICPD, the target of US17$ billion is far from being met; there is a shortfall of about 36 per cent of total funding, of which 24 per cent is from domestic funding and around 61 per cent is from external donor funding.

  15.  Despite these aid commitments and the writing off of $110 billion in debt repayments through the extension of the World Bank's HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) initiative and additional bilateral commitments from Northern creditors, the impact of continued debt-service payments made by developing countries to the World Bank and Northern creditors, will prevent any substantial progress towards the MDGs, particularly the first, which aims to eradicate poverty. As long as these debts are sustained, essential funding for health, education and other critical public services will be diverted to pay back creditors. Additionally, even if all the debts of these 42 countries are cancelled, recent estimates suggest that HIPCs will need a further $30 billion each year to meet goal one and $16.5 billion to meet the other MDGs. [1]

  16.  IPPF regrets that, contrary to previous UN conferences where the role of civil society and NGOs was clearly recognised, the Draft Monterrey Consensus does not emphasise the importance of these groups nor includes clear reference to them. It was largely through the activities of civil society groups that the cancellation of $110 billion worth of debt for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries in 2000 was achieved.

  17.  The Global Information Campaign on the Internationally agreed Millenium Declaration Goals (MDGs); IPPF is in favour of the implementation of an international information Campaign on the MDGs; the increase in ODA needed to achieve the MDGs requires more than a renewed affirmation of the 0.7 per cent target but also a huge public campaign to persuade public opinion in those donor countries performing below the target that they have both a moral duty and a strong self-interest in doing better in order to create a more secure world. There is indeed very little public awareness of the reasons why donor countries should help alleviate poverty in the world. The MDGs may be an effective catalyst for political and public support for development aid. A campaign presenting each goal worldwide would mean public education and awareness programs requiring active political involvement.

1   The unbreakable link-debt relief and the millennium development goals-R. Greenhill, Jubilee Research, New Economics Foundation, February 2002. p.8. Back

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