Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development

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The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development is a population-control organization that was formed in 1981 at the Asian Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development in Beijing.[1]

The New Zealand Parliamentarians on Population and Development is a member committee of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.[2]

Contents

About

Mission

The mission of the AFPPD is found on its website:[3]

"To contribute to the establishment of lasting world peace.To encourage and promote parliamentary initiatives designed to improve the living standard and welfare of the people of Asia. To educate, motivate and involve members of parliament in population, reproductive health and family planning programmes in Asia and the Pacific. To promote parliamentary activities aimed at building support among governments and their people toward these causes."

Promoting Population Control

The AFPPD supports population control techniques.[4] An article published in the July - August 2003 newsletter entitled "Educating Girls Key to Population Control" stated,

"Education, which results in more knowledge, more skills and better income, is a key factor in families choosing to have fewer children. Additionally, education of girls reduces family size, improves family health, increases the educational attainment of future generations and improves the status of women. Education is second only to family planning in lowering family size."

AFPPD Vice-Chair, Chinese Member of Parliament Dr. Sang Guowei MD is also a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China as well NPC Vice-Chairman of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee. In November 2003 Guowei was interviewed in the AFPPD newsletter. He was asked the question, "Do you think that sustainable development is possible without population planning?". Guowei responded,

"Recently certain groups of individuals have been condemning the concept of population control and consequently do not support family planning programmes. This attitude is inappropriate in my opinion. I firmly believe that population is a determining factor in the realisation of sustainable development and it is not practical to discuss sustainable development if population planning isn’t taken into consideration."[5]

In a book entitled "The Population Challenge in Asia: Parliamentarians as Advocates and Policy Makers" written by Jyoti Shankar Singh and published in 2002 and revised in 2006, the AFPPD's population control agenda is clearly spelled out. The section entitled "Programme of Action" in the book reads:

"Any programme of action seeking to address the complex issue of population and development must, by definition, be rooted in three basic principles: (1) that population, resources and the environment are inextricably linked; (2) that development cannot be sustained without due regard to each of these factors; and (3) that economic growth must be balanced with population growth, concern for the environment and social progress. Thus, an effective development strategy must, growth, balance population distribution, protect the environment, ensure adequate food supply to all sectors of society, in particular those most disadvantaged and eliminate poverty. It must also attempt to reduce maternal and infant mortality, improve the status of women, pro- vide for the security of the aged, address the special needs of youth and enhance health care and family planning services."
Reducing Population Growth:
Rapid population growth among other things, impedes balanced development, destroys forests and degrades land and water supplies. This in turn threatens the food supply and lessens the quality of life. For their part, Parliamentarians should use their considerable influence and good offices to initiate or support the following actions to help reduce population growth rates:
  • Encourage the formulation and strengthening of comprehensive national population strategies as integral components of national development plans;
  • Integrate population planning into all other aspects of development planning;
  • Foster governmental and societal support for fertility regulation;

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Events

1995 Beijing Gathering

In September 1995, the evening before the of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 91 parliamentarians from 57 countries gathered to address key themes of the upcoming conference -- themes echoing those of 1994's International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The gathering was jointly organized by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, the Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, the Inter-African Parliamentary Group on Population and Development and the Steering Committee of the Africa and Middle East Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development. Members of the International Medical Parliamentarians Organization also participated in the event, which was supported by UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).[6]

New Zealand Members

New Zealand Involvement

New Zealand has had the following involvement in the AFPPD:[8][9]

2007

New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group Report on Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) The “Youth Sexual Health: Our Health, Our Issue” report, prepared by the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development, was presented to Mr. Pete Hodgson, Minister of Health, on April 3 in Wellington. The report is the result of the open hearing held on December 2006 that provided an opportunity for key government agencies, NGOs and other individual experts to present submissions to parliamentarians on youth SRH issues. The report calls for a cross-government approach to improve youth SRH by developing a teenage pregnancy strategy and establishing a ministerial taskforce.

New Zealand’s Youth Parliament 2007 With the support from the Ministry of Youth Development, 121 young people from New Zealand had been chosen by their local MPs to be Youth MPs. During the Youth Parliament 2007 in Wellington on 8-11 July, the Youth MPs had the opportunity to debate a mock bill, engage in a general debate, sit on selected committees and ask parliamentary questions. The event aimed to give young people a chance to have their views heard by the key decision-makers and the public, to help them to understand and actively participate in the parliamentary processes, learn how to influence the governmental decision-making as active citizens, and understand how the decisions are made.

2006

The launch of the report entitled “A Passage to Hope: Women and International Migration” was organized by the Family Planning Association International Development and hosted by Ms. Steve Chadwick MP, Chair for the Standing Committee on Women of AFPPD. One hundred participants – including MPs, members of the migrant community, and representatives from the government, the development community and the NGOs, attended the event.

Mr. Najib Assifi of the UNFPA Pacific Region presented the report to Hon. Pete Hodgson, Health Minister of New Zealand. In accepting the report, the minister highlighted that the migrants’ rights to education and health were critical; particularly given the impact on the health of those who were adapting to a new home, language and culture, and the difficulties posed in treading cultures.

The AFPPD granted New Zealand "A Set of Tools for Parliamentarians to Enhance Their Ability to Enact Gender Responsive Governance"

2005

The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) hosted a function on October 12 to launch the UNFPA State of World Population 2005 report and an NZPPD report on violence against women and children in New Zealand. More than 70 people, including MPs and government and NGO representatives attended the launch, which was held at Parliament in Wellington. The UNFPA State of World Population Report, The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals, highlights the critical importance of the empowerment of women - through education, access to reproductive health services, and ending gender-based violence - in achieving the overarching Millennium Development Goal of reducing world poverty by 2015. The UNFPA Report was presented by UNFPA Representative for the Pacific Mr. Najib M. Assifi to the Minister of Social Development and Youth Affairs Hon. Steve Maharey. Receiving the report, the Minister noted the critical linkages between peace, human rights and development, and the importance of gender equality in reducing poverty. He said that the integration of the goal of universal access to reproductive rights into agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, at the recent UN World Summit 2005, was a great achievement. Supported by AFPPD, the NZPPD report, Creating a Culture of Non Violence, focuses on violence against women and children closer to home, highlighting the fact that, even with strong strategies and support for laws, violence against women and children in New Zealand continues at an alarmingly high rate. Creating a Culture of Non-Violence is the outcome of an open hearing into the prevention of violence against women and children, held by the NZPPD in March, and funded by AFPPD as part of a regional initiative. The report provides a ‘snapshot’ of the situation presented to MPs at the March hearing, and outlines a plan of action to guide activities in the lead-up to the New Zealand government’s report to the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee in 2006.

2004

New Zealand and Pacific parliamentarians visited Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in April on a 10-day study tour focusing on the successful management of HIV/AIDS. This study tour brought home the reality of HIV/AIDS. The group visited a range of care situations, witnessing the face of HIV/AIDS in all its tragedy. During their stay in Thailand, the delegation met and discussed with a number of HIV/AIDS experts who provided the parliamentarians with valuable information on HIV an had disscussion with Thai parliamentarians. In Cambodia, the enormity of the problem was evident at a hospital overwhelmed by the need to care for more than sixty critically ill people in a ward with the capacity for twenty. In Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, the group visited an orphanage of sixty children and babies, all HIV positive. The study visit was organiazed by parliamentarians for population, Family Planning Association of New Zealand and supported by Asia Pacific Alliance (APA) and AFPPD.

2001

The New Zealand Parliamentarians Group on Population and Development took part in a panel discussion that discussed population growth and the effect it has on the environment.

1997

A study visit of Australian and New Zealand parliamentarians to Thailand and Vietnam in May/August 1997 to witness first hand RH, family planning and HIV/AIDS programmes in both countries was organised by AFPPD. The visit was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ministry of Public Health (Thailand) and Partners in Development, the National Parliament of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Association of Parliamentarians on Population and development (VAPPD), and the Australian and New Zealand Embassies. Ten parliamentarians from Australia and four parliamentarians from New Zealand participated in the study visit.

References

  1. AFPPD website: Background (accessed on 9 July, 2010)
  2. AFPPD website: Members (accessed on 9 July, 2010)
  3. AFPPD website: Main Objectives (accessed on 9 July, 2010)
  4. AFPPD website: Newsletters: July - August 2003 (accessed on 10 July, 2010)
  5. AFPPD website: Newsletters: Nov-Dec 2003 (accessed on 10 July, 2010)
  6. UN: Parliamentarians Address Cairo and Beijing Themes, ICPD News, No. 2, October 1995 (accessed on June 4, 2012)
  7. ALRANZ website: SPECIAL BULLETIN JULY 2010 ON STEVE CHADWICK'S BILL (accessed on 9 July, 2010)
  8. AFPPD website: National Activities (accessed on 9 July, 2010)
  9. AFPPD website: Special Activities (accessed on 9 July, 2010)
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