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ICPD30 Global Dialogue

Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

Published : Saturday, 18 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 385

Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

Reaffirming the need to realize gender equality and womens rights to reproductive decision-making and bodily autonomy, the opening session of the global dialogue called for sustainable investment in the human and economic potential of all, particularly of youth, older persons, and hard to reach communities.

two-day event titled "ICPD30 Global Dialogue on Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development" jointly hosted by Bangladesh, Bulgaria and Japan along with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the event attended by some 200 representatives from around the world.
There is no alternative to a combined social movement to prevent violence against women, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said.

According to the World Economic Forums Global Gender Gap Index 2023, Bangladesh ranks seventh among 146 countries and is the first in South Asia in the political empowerment of women. The participation of women in the 12th national election was 36.24 percent higher than in previous general elections, Hasina added.

"We will have to build up our women as the main driving force for change instead of only considering them as victims. There is no alternative to a combined social movement to stave off child marriage, dowry and violence against women," she said.

"In 2014, at the Girl Summit in London, I vowed to declare Bangladesh as a child marriage-free country by 2041. Our efforts in that direction are moving forward. The child marriage rate dropped significantly thanks to the Child Marriage Restraint Act amendment, the formulation of a national action plan, awareness campaigns and various government measures taken for the welfare of women and girls. We [the government] have developed child marriage prevention committees at the union level so far."

The prime minister said more than 8,000 youth clubs have been established for adolescents from various social backgrounds. A target has been set to provide information services to 10 million women through the Tottho Apa programme.

Through the launching of the national helpline 109 to prevent the repression of women and children, an effective measure has been taken to tackle sexual harassment and child marriage, Hasina said.

The government also introduced a support desk for women, children, elderly and people with disabilities under the supervision of female officers at every police station, she said.

The premier also highlighted several other programmes taken by the government to ensure health services for youths in Bangladesh, including the distribution of sanitary napkins to 5 million girls from grade six to 12.

"In addition, we have introduced a stipend programme to promote girls education from primary to higher secondary level. Girls education has been made charge-free up to twelfth grade," she continued.

Currently, around 42.6 percent of the labour force in Bangladesh is women and the government plans to raise it to 50 percent by 2030, she said.

Sheikh Hasina went on saying that her government has allocated 30 per cent of the national budget for the social and economic empowerment of women.

"To ensure health services for adolescents, we have established adolescent-friendly health service corners in 1,253 union-level services," she added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed the need for effective population management considered to be a key determinant for sustainable development.

"For the vast populations around the globe, it is necessary to transform their demographic dividend by ensuring essential education, healthcare, and other fundamental rights," she said.

The Prime Minister said transforming the demographic dividend will enable to create a prosperous global system.

"To achieve this goal, development partners and international financial institutions need to be more sincere and internally committed to ensuring the quantity and accessibility of international arrangements for general healthcare, particularly in the field of maternal and child healthcare services," she said.

The prime minister hoped that the global dialogue held in Dhaka will provide the necessary recommendations for the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024 in United Nations.

UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem said, "In a world grappling with conflicts, record humanitarian displacement, climate change, migration, rising intolerance, and a surge of misinformation and disinformation, it is evidence- and rights-based decisions that will shape the future of reproductive health and rights."

Foreign Minister  Hasan Mahmud, UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem, Minister of Social and Family Development Of the Maldives Aishath Shiham, Kiribatis Minister for Women, Youth, Sports and Social Affairs Martin Moretti, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Yasushi And State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Rokeya Sultana also among others spoke at the programme.

Around 200 representatives from local and national governments, academia, think tanks, technical experts, civil society organizations, and the private sector shared practical insights into the investments in health, education, housing or infrastructure, population change that are needed to adapt to changing demographic trends.
Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

At the opening day of global dialogue event  they arranged separated panel  discussion on  demographic diversity and dividends - promoting sustainability in a context of changing fertility and mortality; gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and demographic resilience in contexts of low fertility: unlocking the 1st demographic dividend in a context of high fertility and youthful populations; Future of sexual and reproductive health in a context of population change technology and life science: Promoting resilience for a smart future; Intergenerational wellbeing, and healthy ageing and the future of population data.

The second day of the event they discussed on Population dynamics and the climate crisis; Inequality of climate risks and impacts; Where will we live? The impact of climate on habitable spaces, relocation and forced migration; Universal Health Coverage and strategies for strengthening health systems in light of demographic change and technology advances; Promoting green, diverse ICPD - friendly cities; the changing demography of rural communities; and the future of population policies for the post-2030 agenda and sustainable development.

All the sessions were conducted by experts from all over the world as panelists.

At the dialogue programme one of the participant Petrider Paul ,- Tanzania, said, "The Global Dialogue on Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development sets precedence of the ICPD30 agenda and helps us to build a sustainable future in a diverse world by addressing the challenges ranging from womens access to reproductive effects of migration patterns attributed by climate change and humanitarian crisis by promoting human rights context to ensure such challenges are addressed in collectivity working with multilaterals through learning from diverse country experiences and providing mechanisms to address the solutions in collectivity as per country context but also lays foundation of the health care financing gaps that we can work to fundraise resources and ensure proper allocation of resources on health matters such as fertility , communicable and non communicable diseases and more ."

Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

Demographic Diversity and Sustainable Development

Another one participant  Laura Ferguson,  Associate Professor, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences and Director of Research, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, also Director, Program on Global Health and Human Rights, Associate Editor, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters and Associate Editor, American Journal of Public Health, said, "This was an extremely useful dialogue because it brought together such a diversity of expertise across different disciplines, sectors and geographies, and provided space for everyone to talk and to listen. This is exactly what we need when tackling issues as complex as demographic diversity and sustainable development. Obviously there is a lot of work now to translate what we talked about into actions, but we have taken a very important step here and the energy and commitment among participants to walk the walk is very clear."

At the closing day of the event Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) of Bangladesh, said, "On behalf of the Government of Bangladesh, I thank you all once again for your active participation in the Global Dialogue on Demographic Diversity and Population Development in the last two days. We are pleased that the second Global Dialogue has largely lived up to expectations by reaffirming the fact that "demography matters" for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development around the world."

"The Dialogue featured fourteen participatory plenary and panel sessions with contributions from subject leaders and experts from around the world. From Bangladeshs perspectives, it was particularly useful to hear a diverse range of insights and perspectives on managing the impacts of urbanization, climate change, migration and displacement, digitization as well as youth bulge and ageing on population dynamics," he added.

" We heard again and again that demographic diversity must be looked at through a rights-based approach to make sure that the voices of women, youth and the elderly are listened to and factored in. There was broad consensus that women must have the freedom to make informed reproductive choices without being subjected to misinformation, discriminations and violence. In general, we all acknowledged that the ICPD Programme of Action still remain relevant as a vehicle for accelerating our collective work on the 2030 Agenda and even beyond," he stated .

According to UNFPA, the dialogue will honour that legacy by focusing on practical responses to demographic change that reinforce a human rights-based approach to population policies that put gender equality and reproductive rights at the core.

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