Last week the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted a tightly orchestrated Global Youth Forum in the run up to the twentieth anniversary of the Cairo Conference on Population and Development.
UNFPA anticipated nine hundred youth participants, including a contingent from the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. The conference produced a document that UNFPA called an unprecedented opportunity to influence global policy.
Rebecca Oas of C-FAM was one of the online participants in the forum. She reports that the hall was mostly empty most of the time. So much so that Robert Skinner of the United Nations Foundation, who emceed the opening session, remarked that rather than attending the conference the young people must be out there making connections, making friends, having fun. And thats what its all about.
So what did the empty seats accomplish? What global policies do they want to influence?
The final outcome document calls for legal abortion, and an end to all restrictions on abortion including waiting periods, parental consent, and age of consent. The delegates also called for comprehensive sexuality education including information on sexual orientation and gender identities free of religious intolerance. They want the decriminalization of sex work and government recognition of constantly evolving concepts of the family.
The document was so edgy that Dr. Eddy Hasni, who represented the Indonesian government on the steering committee, said that all the recommendations should be consistent with the 1994 ICPD, and that some recommendations . . . particularly on safe abortions, are in fact not in line with the international framework. We should be very careful on this issue as moral and religious debates are still raging.
If you wonder why UNFPA hosted this conference in distant Bali, you can guess it was to keep out dissenting voices. You can be sure that most of the youth had their expenses covered by Planned Parenthood, UNFPA, and other abortion-minded groups. Some intrepid pro-life youth cajoled their way onto the online forum.
UNFPA will present the document to the U.N. General Assembly next fall when the G.A. takes up planning the Cairo anniversary in 2014. UNFPA will say it is the voice of global youth—-at least the few youngsters who did not ditch the conference to check out the beautiful island of Bali.