Magazine article UN Chronicle

One 6 ... and Nine O's

Magazine article UN Chronicle

One 6 ... and Nine O's

Article excerpt

As the world population neared 6 billion, hundreds met in New York this summer at the five-year review and appraisal of the Cairo Conference of 1994. Most United Nations Member States were represented, together with 24 accredited non-governmental organization (NGOs). A large display, made up of a '6' and nine '0's, reminded delegates and representatives why they were there: "Population is not about numbers--it's about people", it read.

"The process has been tough, but we made it", said Gunvor Alida Endresen, advisor to the Norweigian Mission, after the consensus was reached. "The negotiation time before the summit had to be extended, as the issues are sensitive. This is about politics, but it is also about very personal questions. Personal both to the individual and the many nations and cultures taking part in this conference."

Not everybody at the Special Summit shared her confidence in the need for consensus. "The United Nations cannot ignore the different cultures of the different nations", said Maria de la Luz of Chile, representing an NGO called Right to Life. "Why do people want to get rid of diversity? It is a problem that consensus is sought all the time, when there is not really enough time for negotiations. …

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