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Statement from the Commission on Population and Development

On April 3, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the 52nd Session of the Commission on Population and Development, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York. He spoke on Agenda Item 3(b), which was dedicated to the “review and appraisal of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its contribution to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

In the statement, Archbishop Auza said that the ICPD, which is marking its 25th anniversary, was the first time the international community considered the interrelationship between population and development and noted that it rejected all forms of coercion in the implementation of population policies, recognized the family, based on marriage, as the fundamental unit of society, and focused on the full and equal participation of women in development. He stated that to suggest that reproductive health contains a right to abortion explicitly violates the language of the ICPD, violates the domestic legislation of many states and divides efforts to address the real needs of mothers and children, especially those yet unborn. To formulate governmental and international population policies on individual “sexual and reproductive rights” is unwise; governments and society ought rather to focus policies involving the transmission and nurturing of life on the promotion of the family, which is the natural and fundamental group unit of society. He also spoke of the connection between development and migration and development and the environment.

The statement can be found here.