04/10/2014 12:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Day 3 Recap: Getting Over the Hump


Hump day: The middle of a work week (Wednesday); used in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through a tough week.

I often use the "hump day" phrase with international colleagues only to be (frequently) met with blank stares. But I think we can all agree that today's session at the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) was a hump that needed -- nay, needs -- to be overcome. Remember, we're reporting live, so scaling the hump is a work in progress!

Day 1 was a logistics struggle; Day 2 featured some irrationality about content; and today, Day 3, is a complicated mix of both.

What stood out to us is the often constructive but also complicated notion of regions and regional discourse. These groupings can be geographic in nature (e.g., small island nations); ideological in nature (e.g., like-minded group); or economic in nature (e.g., the G77 +China had its earliest roots as a collective voice for developing countries).

When these blocs help countries articulate and promote their collective interests (economic, social or otherwise) and enhance their joint negotiating capacity within the United Nations system, great. And when they promote cooperation for development -- from South-South to North-North to South-North -- even better.

But to succeed, we need to come to grips with where national, regional and global voices can each help advance a shared agenda.

Where national leadership is strong and deserves recognition are instances where countries should separate from the pack. Zambia (as you've seen in earlier posts from PAI) has a robust and vibrant civil society and their contribution to national progress should be a model for their neighbors to follow.

Where a unified voice carries more weight, blocs can help important, but overlooked, perspectives be heard. The intervention of the small island nations on the urgency of climate change and the need to adapt to its impacts is one example.

And finally, where national experience in country after country provides a robust and indisputable evidence base, and where regional review processes confirmed these experiences, the global community must use one voice and speak the truth. That truth being that the Programme of Action developed at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 20 years ago was and is transformative for women and girls, men and boys, the world over.

It is our job to keep that momentum going. Let's get over the hump.

For live daily updates from #CPD47, be sure to follow Suzanne (@SuzannePAI) on Twitter!