Edwin Huizing, Director of UNFPA Sub-Regional Office Johannesburg, giving the opening address.
Whether the future of the current youth generation will be a better one for all compared to their parents’ situation depends on the sound use of all human and natural resources available in Africa. A step to ensure that bright future is sound national development planning that puts people, as actors and beneficiaries, at the centre.
This planning is assisted by tools such as Population Situation Analysis (PSA), which has been developed by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and by evidence-based programming and the availability of reliable data.
The UNFPA Africa Regional Office is holding a regional training workshop on PSA and Planning on Integrating Population and Environmental Issues into National and Sector Development Frameworks, in Johannesburg from 23-27 July.
“The tools are at the heart of the UNFPA mandate. UNFPA has supported data collection, analysis and application in planning and programming, through the rounds of censuses, demographic health surveys and others,” Edwin Huizing, Director of UNFPA Sub-Regional Office Johannesburg, said in an opening address, on behalf of the Africa Regional Director, Bunmi Makinwa.
“The countries in the region are committed to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) principles and the Maputo Plan of Action, as they are committed to reach the Millennium Development Goals. UNFPA has over the years assisted countries and their governments in operationalizing these principles and development goals in do-able strategies, plans and development processes,” he said.
The development of the PSA tool is part of UNFPA’s continued support to help strengthen countries’ capacity in population situation analysis and to ensure the integration of population issues in development frameworks. In this respect, UNFPA aims to strengthen the capacity of the key stakeholders of national development planning and coordination.
Participants listen to a presentation.
More than 70 participants from all over Africa are attending the workshop, reflecting the importance that countries, governments and the UN system attribute to the integration of population issues in national development frameworks. The Population Situation Analysis is designed to highlight this.
“The PSA was developed by UNFPA and expresses the commitment of the Fund to mainstream population dynamics, reproductive health and gender issues into National Development Strategies and Frameworks, explicitly adopting a human rights, culture and gender perspective,” Mr. Huizing said. “It gives key national development stakeholders a tool to enrich and improve development planning and can only be successful in a context of full national ownership.
“The PSA has to contribute to more evidence-based programming to achieve the outcomes needed for countries and people,” he said. It presents a flexible conceptual framework that is able to consider transitions, long term and emerging trends, for example regarding the character of the national economy and employment, which can also be linked to the demographic transition in countries."
The PSA is based on an increased capacity for data generation, the consolidation of available evidence and promotion of the use of such evidence. “This is needed to ensure the integration of population dynamics and its linkages with Sexual Reproductive Health, Gender and HIV/Aids into policy making,” he said.
“Last year the world reached 7 billion and Africa now counts over 1 billion people, a figure that is projected to double by 2050. Globally we live longer, healthier and chose to have fewer children. We are confronted with an increasingly global and ‘smaller’ world, in which 24/7 has become the norm and the description of ‘remote area’ has a different meaning.
“It is a world characterized by connectivity, thanks to technology, but that does not always mean greater connectedness and solidarity. A world battling with climate change and scarcer natural resources is in need of development planning that takes population issues to heart,” he said.
“In the African continent we see that economic growth is accelerating and improving the lives of many, but great inequalities and inequities remain. Also, governments trying to meet the needs of a rapidly growing young population have to cater for aging populations, previously thought to be an issue only for richer countries. Hence, a far wider number of population issues need to be catered for, even in low income and lower middle income countries. And the development of many African countries is also characterized by an increasing vulnerability to natural disasters, food insecurity and water shortages.
The workshop participants and trainers at Hilton Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg.