The Global Leadership Meeting on Population Dynamics, one of 11 leadership meetings being convened as part of the UN’s global thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, took place from 12-13 March 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The meeting, which was attended by over 100 participants including over 50 government representatives, focused on four mega-trends: high fertility and population growth; low fertility and population aging; migration and human mobility; and urbanization.
Six working sessions took place during the two days of the meeting. On the first day, sessions were held on setting the scene; high fertility, population growth and large youth populations; and international migration and human mobility. On the second day, working sessions addressed urbanization, cities and sustainable development; population aging and population decline; and the way forward for national, regional and global level action.
A small group, coordinated by the governments of Bangladesh and Switzerland, was established on the first day to discuss and reach consensus on the meeting’s outcome document, the Dhaka Declaration on the Global Leadership Meeting on Population Dynamics in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Declaration, which was adopted in the closing session of the meeting, will be used to engage with the UN High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP), the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other key processes in preparation for the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2013 and beyond.
A number of issues representing convergence across the four mega-themes emerged during the discussions over the two days, including: putting humans at the center of the development agenda and the discussion on population dynamics; the need for public-private partnerships, and inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral collaboration; and support for rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to address the challenges and opportunities associated with population dynamics. Several participants noted the need for a paradigm shift in order to link population dynamics to other aspects of the post-2015 agenda, such as global health and inequalities. Many concurred with the notion that “demographics is not destiny,” and that equal access to resources is critical for development. There was a call for integrating unfinished elements of the MDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, and for the SDGs to build on the MDGs.
Areas of divergence also emerged, for instance on whether there should be a stand-alone goal on population dynamics, or whether population should be addressed as a cross-cutting development issue, with implications for goals and indicators in a number of areas. Participants debated referencing South-South and North-South concerns, with some stressing that the issue of population dynamics cuts across these divides.
This report summarizes the inaugural and closing sessions, six working sessions, and the Dhaka Declaration adopted at the end of the meeting.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GLOBAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE POST-2015 AGENDA
At the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly on the MDGs held in New York in September 2010, governments called for accelerating progress towards achieving the MDGs, and also for proposals to advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015. In response, the UN undertook several initiatives aimed at developing a post-2015 development agenda, including: setting up a UN System Task Team (UNTT); launching a HLP; appointing a Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning; and launching national and global thematic consultations.
In addition to the above, other processes that will feed into the post-2015 discussions include: the work of the OWG on SDGs, a 30-member group mandated by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Outcome Document to prepare a proposal on SDGs for consideration by the UNGA at its 68th session; regional consultations by the Regional Economic Commissions, which will result in a report on regional perspectives on the post-2015 development agenda; inputs from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, set up by the UN Secretary-General in August 2012 to support global problem-solving in critical areas of sustainable development; and input from businesses and the private sector through the UN Global Compact.
In order to ensure coherence across these different work streams, an informal senior coordination group of four Assistant Secretary-Generals (ASGs) has been set up, which includes the ASG for Economic Development DESA, the ASG for Development Policy at the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the ASG for Policy and Programme at UN Women, and the Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning. A “One Secretariat” has also been established to facilitate coordination and coherence across the work streams.
UN System Task Team: UNTT, which includes more than 60 UN entities and agencies, and other international organizations, was set up to assess ongoing efforts within the UN system, consult all relevant stakeholders and define a system-wide vision and roadmap to support deliberations on the post-2015 UN development agenda. UNTT presented its report, Realizing the Future We Want for All, in June 2012, calling for an integrated policy approach to ensure inclusive economic development, social progress and environmental sustainability, and a development agenda that responds to the public’s aspirations for a world free of want and fear. The report, which recommended the post-2015 vision be built on the principles of human rights, equality and sustainability, will serve as a reference for additional, broad and inclusive consultations on the post-2015 development agenda. UNTT, which is co-chaired by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and UNDP, continues to provide technical support to the OWG on SDGs, aiming to support the multi-stakeholder consultations being led by Member States on a post-2015 global development agenda by providing analytical inputs, expertise and outreach.
High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The UN Secretary-General launched the HLP in June 2012 and appointed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom as Co-Chairs. It includes leaders from civil society, the private sector and governments. The HLP, which reports to the UN Secretary-General and is not an intergovernmental process, is expected to publish its report in May 2013, outlining its vision and recommendations on a post-2015 global development agenda. This report will feed into the Secretary-General’s report to member states at the Special Event on MDGs in September 2013.
Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning: In June 2012, Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria was appointed ASG and Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning to coordinate, on behalf of the Secretary-General, the process of developing and building consensus among member states, UN actors and key external actors. Mohammed also serves as ex-officio member on the HLP, represents the Secretary-General in the post-2015 debate and advises him on related matters.
National and Global Thematic Consultations: The UN Development Group (UNDG) initiated national and global consultations on the post-2015 development agenda aimed at bringing together a broad range of stakeholders to review progress on the MDGs and discuss the options for a new framework. The national consultations are taking place online and offline in more than 60 developing and developed countries, with national stakeholders exchanging their inputs for a shared global vision of “The Future We Want.”
At the global level, UNDG initiated 11 multi-stakeholder thematic consultations on: inequalities; education; health; governance; conflict and fragility; growth and employment; environmental sustainability; hunger, nutrition and food security; population dynamics; energy; and water. The final meetings of the global thematic consultations on health, inequalities and governance have already taken place.
Each thematic consultation is co-convened by two or more UN agencies with support from governments, working together with representatives from civil society, the private sector and academia. The consultations, which seek online contributions on the “World We Want 2015” website, aim to explore the role each theme could play in a new framework, the key issues and priorities within the theme, the various ways in which they can be best addressed, and the linkages among them. A high-level meeting is taking place for each thematic area to consider the results and recommendations of the consultations and develop recommendations to inform the larger process.
UNDP, the UN Millennium Campaign, the Overseas Development Institute and the World Wide Web Foundation developed and are facilitating an options survey called “MY World” that aims to gather public opinions on development priorities and allows citizens to vote online and offline for issues that would make the most difference to their lives.
Global Consultation on Population Dynamics: The global thematic consultation on population dynamics is led by the Governments of Bangladesh and Switzerland. It is co-convened by DESA, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN-Habitat, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in close collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNAIDS, UN Women, UNDP, UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
The global consultation process included the preparation of background papers, online consultations, and “focused” consultations with key stakeholders including experts, civil society and the private sector. Informal discussions and briefings with member states were held in January and February 2013 in New York and Geneva, respectively. The discussions during the process have focused on four mega-trends: high fertility and population growth, low fertility and population aging, migration and human mobility, and urbanization. The discussions highlighted the multidimensional nature of population dynamics, and the implications for human rights, gender equality, economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty, social protection and pensions, health, education, housing, sanitation, water, food and energy.
REPORT OF THE FINAL MEETING OF THE POST-2015 THEMATIC CONSULTATION ON POPULATION DYNAMICS
On Tuesday morning, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, National Coordinator on SDGs, Bangladesh, highlighted population dynamics as a crosscutting issue. Referencing the definition for sustainable development as an integrated socioeconomic and environmental process with human beings at the centre, Ahmad called for future goals to empower people to respond effectively to increasing population pressures.
Noting the importance of this consultation in helping to identify the place for population dynamics in the post-2015 development agenda, William Lacy Swing, Director-General, IOM, called on the meeting to prioritize: challenges faced in migration and mobility; new policies on global migration trends as they relate to mobility, urbanization and disaster risk reduction; and scaling up implementation of agreed measures, particularly on the protection of global migrants in host countries.
Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA, discussed re-conceptualizing the development agenda by identifying the role of population dynamics to inform other development goals while addressing human rights and gender equality. Prioritizing the protection of young women and girls, he noted the urgent need for: partnerships with civil society and the private sector to ensure income security, social protection, transfer of technical skills, gender equality, and access to healthcare for young people in vulnerable communities; investment in access to health, particularly sexual reproductive health and adequate nutrition; and raising standards to protect the environment.
Noting that the issue of population dynamics is “not about North-South politics,” Martin Dahinden, Director-General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), advised that discussions on the nature of the post-2015 development agenda should build on the MDGs, place humans at the center, and focus on human rights, equity and sustainability. He called on participants to go beyond national-level responses to take into account the principle of shared costs and shared benefits; and build partnerships to promote the exchange of best practices on addressing the impacts of population dynamics.
Dipu Moni, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, highlighted the collaboration between Bangladesh and Switzerland, and the work being done in Bangladesh to bring the people’s voice to the world stage. Sharing Bangladesh’s experience towards achieving the development goals, she drew attention to diverse approaches to maximize limited resources through strong leadership, partnerships, and flexibility. She also called for additional resources to be made available for countries to meet their development targets.
Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Oversees Employment, Bangladesh, noted that his country is one of the top “migrant exporting” countries in the world. He said migration is both a challenge and opportunity, and urged governments to prioritize migrant protection. He called for training young people with “employable skills,” enhancing private sector engagement for responsible migration, and promoting secure migration policies to protect the most vulnerable.
The meeting was then officially declared open by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, who shared Bangladesh’s achievements in the social sector, including in poverty eradication, which she said have been recognized and applied globally. Hasina outlined elements for consideration during the meeting, including: employment for young people through the pursuit of vocational and technical education; viewing mobility of people as a productive endeavor; and developing partnerships and collaborations.
The meeting was organized into six working sessions to identify key recommendations for public policy. A group, coordinated by the governments of Switzerland and Bangladesh, was established to draft a Dhaka Declaration on Population Dynamics, with an additional session dedicated to its adoption.
WORKING SESSION I: SETTING THE SCENE
Martin Dahinden, SDC, chaired this session. Michael Hermann, UNDG, spoke on the post-2015 process, highlighting that it was an “uphill battle” to incorporate elements of population dynamics, particularly sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), into the Rio+20 Outcome Document. He outlined the consultation’s progress in engaging academia, the private sector and civil society, all of whom placed population dynamics at the center of the development agenda. He listed the messages from the consultations as, inter alia: addressing population dynamics through rights-based and gender-responsive policies; and including population dynamics in the post-2015 agenda as they affect global development priorities.
Khalid Koser, Deputy Director, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, delivered a keynote presentation highlighting the importance of, inter alia: promoting cooperation and coherence among government agencies, civil society and the private sector; linking narratives from the varied specialized fields within population dynamics and the range of stakeholders; and safeguarding human rights. He urged for a transparent process and concrete outcomes for the post-2015 process, which he said will impact the decades to come.
Commenting on the keynote address, Shahidul Haque, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, lamented that the migration issue is still on the periphery of development discussions. Lauding the consultations for drawing attention to migration, Haque stressed that it is a multilayered phenomenon, noting the difficulty of integrating it into the already complex discussions on sustainable development.
Ursula Müller, Director-General, Ministry of Economic and Social Development, Germany, noted: the different population dynamics countries are facing, including decreasing fertility rates in countries where populations continue to grow; unprecedented urbanization in Africa and Southeast Asia; and human mobility and its effects on developed and developing countries. Calling for improved planning practices by policymakers, she highlighted her ministry’s development of a multi-sectoral approach to population dynamics. Müller stressed that human rights-based approaches and universal access to sexual and reproductive health services are crucial for the improvement of the quality of life for the younger generation.
John Wilmoth, DESA, proposed a new way of thinking based on adapting as well as mitigating aspects related to the megatrends of population dynamics, and called for flexibility in the development of policies that respond to an uncertain future.
In the ensuing discussion, several countries supported using population dynamics as an indicator to measure the integration of development goals at the national level. Other participants commented on the integral and overarching nature of population dynamics, supporting that it maintain its own set of goals.
Participants discussed engaging the private sector in implementing new development goals and overcoming existing barriers. A suggestion to include South-South cooperation as a solution to challenges related to population dynamics in developing countries in the Dhaka Declaration was opposed by many participants, who were of the view that this could exclude more global recommendations.
WORKING SESSION II: HIGH FERTILITY, POPULATION GROWTH AND LARGE YOUTH POPULATION
Moderating the session, María José Alcalá, Director, High-Level Task Force on the International Conference on Population and Development, raised several questions on ways to influence population momentum; the role of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in population growth; the consequences of reducing fertility levels; gender-based violence; and the link between child brides and maternal mortality rates. She outlined findings from the consultations on this issue, including the agreement that population control measures can lead to human rights violations; the importance of maintaining an “equity lens” to hear the voice of women, girls and young people; and strong accountability systems to comprehensively address high fertility and population growth.
Diego Palacios Jaramillo, UNFPA, reiterated that rights-based approaches should be prioritized in the sustainable development agenda. He spoke about the important role of the youth in shaping this agenda, noting calls heard during online consultations for governments to address inequality, and to ensure that economic growth is inclusive. Jaramillo stressed the importance of focusing on women and girls, underscoring the need for girls to be in charge of decisions regarding their reproductive health.
Responding to a question on Bangladesh’s efforts to address population momentum, A.K.M. Nurun Nabi, University of Dhaka, corrected the perception that Bangladesh is a high fertility country, saying that the average fertility rate is 2.3 children. He noted the country’s reduction in the mortality rate, and the new challenge for the country as the size of the aging population rises. He described Bangladesh’s efforts to convert its “demographic dividend” into economic gain through education, training and the development of skills among the youth. He suggested creating an enabling environment for women and girls to exercise their SRHR. Nabi stressed that a “cross-cutting issue is nobody’s issue,” underscoring the need to clearly define an issue for various sectors to understand how best to address it.
Lambert Grijns, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands, addressed the importance of a rights-based approach to population dynamics, describing his country’s experience. Calling for a redefinition of the role of women in society, he outlined the right to information on SRHR; the right to access to reproductive health services; and a woman’s right to control her body as key in addressing high fertility rates. Noting the low abortion and teenage pregnancy rates in the Netherlands, he informed participants of the country’s investment in information on SRHR for young women to make better choices; universal access to reproductive health care commodities and facilities; and open discussions on SRHR at the household level, in schools and religious centers, and via the media. Grijns suggested maximizing the potential of population dynamics in order to take advantage of the benefits associated with age, migration and urbanization.
In the discussion, most participants stressed that aspects of the health-related MDG that have not been addressed, particularly SRHR, should be dealt with in the post-2015 development agenda. Other issues raised by participants included: the role of culture and tradition in furthering sex education and family planning; the role of social media in communicating SRHR messages to young people; and the role of UNFPA in dealing with family planning and population policy. Participants noted the need to: maintain broad discussions on SRHR instead of reducing it to a discussion on family planning; tear down silos around the 11 post-2015 thematic consultations, and link the discussions on SRHR to the consultations on inequalities, education and health; address the link between high fertility rates, teenage pregnancy and poverty; and view men as important agents of change in the area of reproductive health.
WORKING SESSION III: INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND HUMAN MOBILITY
Moderator John Bingham, International Catholic Migration Commission, framed discussions on international migration and human mobility to identify recommendations for public policy, highlighting the role of civil society. Highlighting the important role of migration and mobility in the economy of states, Bingham called for considering: mobility, not just migration, as an important economic factor; both the international and internal movement of people; and whether migration is a transversal/overarching issue or a stand-alone issue, requiring separate goals.
Swing noted statistics showing that one in seven persons is a migrant, justifying its place in human development discussions. Swing defined several drivers of migration, inter alia: aging populations in the north and youth explosion in the south; labor shortage in north and labor surplus in south; the digital revolution; and an increase in man-made crises. Swing reflected on the strengths of MDGs as concrete measurable goals, as well as their weaknesses, including the lack of guidance to achieve goals. Depending on good governance, Swing said migration could be an enabling force in economic and social development, and environmental protection. He underscored the need to strengthen the evidence and knowledge bases that inform policymakers by improving the measurement and collection of data related to migration and mobility. Swing introduced a “high road” policy concept, developed from a range of options that includes: multiple entry visas; dual citizenship laws; decriminalization of irregular migrants; a rights-based alternative to deportation; and “circular migration programmes”.
Supporting the integration of migration in the post-2015 development agenda, Eva Åkerman Börje, Sweden, outlined perspectives from Sweden that migration is transformative, and is an immediate strategy for poverty reduction. Börje shared recent Swedish activities to promote coherent migration policy, including the hosting of an Expert Policy Dialogue on the issue. She noted that migration and mobility have been drivers of human advancement throughout history. On moving forward, Börje suggested: gaining consensus on politically viable proposals; promoting a people-centered approach and “embracing the interests of migrants”; and enhancing partnerships and cooperation among governments, the private sector, and civil society.
Badri Pokhrel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal, discussed the impacts of migration on all aspects of development in Nepal where one in four households have a member living outside the country. He shared the perspective that migration is a natural phenomenon, and it is up to governments to manage it. Pokhrel explained that migration transfers development from one place to another, reflecting that migration was left out of the MDGs because it was too political. He underscored that migration is not a “single country agenda,” and needs to be addressed as an international issue.
While many participants discussed the value of migration and mobility to development goals, and the need to develop the narrative on the contribution of migration to development, they also voiced different experiences on the fragmentation of families due to migration, and drew attention to “brain-drain.” Agreeing that migration cannot be stopped and must therefore be managed, participants shared specific experiences of successful regional cooperation and mobility partnerships that addressed the balance between national sovereignty and the human right to freedom of movement, and called on the Dhaka Declaration to establish global partnerships on migration. They debated whether it would be good to call for an increase in South-South partnerships or do away with distinguishing geographic regions in discussions on migration, as migration affects both the global North and South albeit in different ways.
Participants agreed on the lack of existing reliable data on population dynamics, pointing to the need to strengthen national capacity to collect and analyze migration data. They discussed the role of UNFPA in this consultation. On producing specific goals and measurable outcomes, some participants suggested reflecting the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, while others shared experiences in comprehensive approaches to migration and development in national-level policy development. Participants also outlined challenges in unique situations such as illegal migration and refugee conditions and their links with human rights issues.
WORKING SESSION IV: URBANIZATION, CITIES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
On Wednesday morning, Aisa Kacyira, Deputy Director, UN-Habitat, moderated the session on urbanization, noting the expansion of the inequality gap and the increase in violence and insecurity in cities. Noting that the focus on rural development may not be the solution to the challenges posed by rural-urban migration, she said urbanization is an intrinsic dimension of socioeconomic transformation, and called on governments to plan for it, to turn it into an engine of growth.
Rosalinda Marcelino, Deputy Executive Director, Commission on Population, the Philippines, shared experiences, listing causes of rural-urban migration as, inter alia: migration of young women of reproductive age to urban areas; reclassification of villages to urban areas; and the presence or closure of US military facilities in certain areas, promoting population shifts. She noted the government’s response to urban growth, including: the implementation of an Urban Development and Housing Act; the creation and operation of administrative structures for managing metropolitan issues; the introduction of a socialized housing project, supported by the private sector; and the establishment of migration information centers to monitor the movements of migrants.
Mary Rowe, Municipal Art Society, New York City, called on governments to: embrace urbanization; create enabling environments for urban residents to develop their own management strategies; create incentives for the private sector to create solutions for infrastructure and sustainable social and environmental development; and coordinate the transition from informal communities to more formal communities in terms of service delivery. Responding to comments regarding rural development, Rowe stressed that urbanization is a natural process of human development, and refuted the notion of limiting movement to urban centers, calling for greater investment in cities to attain sustainable development.
Reporting that urban population in Brazil accounts for 84% of the population, César Bonamigo, Brazil’s Deputy Chief of Mission to New Delhi, shared his country’s experience dealing with urbanization, drawing attention to the challenges faced including social integration of slum-dwellers in city planning policies, transport, pollution and the high cost of living. He described the role of the Ministry for Cities, which is in charge of urban planning, transport and supporting municipalities in land-use planning policies. Highlighting the ministry’s part in the reclamation of favelas in Rio, he described the government’s efforts in the provision of greater social and security services, as well as the introduction of social amenities in these areas. Describing the city of Curitiba as a success, he described its transportation network, which he said has inspired other cities. In the discussion, he agreed that decentralization must be coupled with autonomy, but added that it must be well funded in order to create and implement successful policies.
In the discussion that followed, there was convergence on the need for better land-use planning policies in cities to prevent urban sprawl and better management of low-income areas and slums; and the importance of leveraging the “global value chain” to promote rural development in developing countries.
Participants agreed on the need to manage pollution, with one panelist suggesting the use of clean gas in transport systems, and others calling for a balance between the use of natural gas in the transport industry and at the household level. Participants considered rural-urban migration, with some agreeing that it is an inevitable part of human development, and others proposing rural development to counter the expansion of urban areas.
Other issues raised include the need for capacity building for developing countries to create more sustainable cities; the need for partnerships among governments and with the private sector to promote the uptake of clean energy technologies; the challenges faced by megacities; “rural to international migration” causing a decline in agricultural production; the need to design planning policies that incorporate people’s livelihoods; and the importance of sharing best practices.
WORKING SESSION V: POPULATION AGING AND DECLINE
Wilmoth framed the discussion by differentiating population aging from decline, describing population aging as the final stage in the demographic process. He addressed the technically challenging topic of population aging by illustrating distribution among low, intermediate and high fertility populations. He noted that the proportion of people over the age of 65 would continue to increase.
Chen Bingshu, National Population and Family Planning Commission, China, shared experiences from China, noting the current rise in the aging population. She reported data projections for a “graying world” in fifty years, when one in every three people in China will be over 60. Bingshu noted the unbalanced distribution of this graying world across the provinces of China, highlighted its implications for economic and social development, and identified key challenges linked to pension programs, migration patterns, health insurance, family development, and long-term care. She said China has engaged in research and planning to improve the legislative system, and proposed policy suggestions including, inter alia: integration of a population strategy into national and local development plans; and improving social security.
Kanta Jamil, US Agency for International Development, Bangladesh, presented views from Bangladesh on populations in different stages of the demographic cycle, and outlined the policies needed to appropriately support and employ each group. She stressed addressing the dependency ratio and urged cross-sectoral, long-term policy planning to address migration and health issues with a focus on prevention and pro-natal advocacy, and a revision of the retirement age. Jamil highlighted that in order to reap the benefits of the demographic dividends, policies should focus on productivity of the working age groups by investing in education and employment in other countries.
In the ensuing discussion, participants underscored the value of sharing best practices, and addressing aging populations and sex ratios. They posed questions on how the changing demographics would challenge existing social security and pension programmes, with some providing insights to comprehensive social protection strategies. Participants favored long-term planning to address aging populations, suggesting inter alia: a revision of the retirement age; gender equity; strengthening families; relaxing immigration policies; and support for child care through tax-based avenues.
With respect to varying cultural values and traditions, several countries drew attention to challenges arising from a preference for male children, which exacerbates the sex ratio imbalance. Some participants raised the inherent cultural respect of elders, supporting the development of dignified and healthy conditions for the elderly through national “healthy lifestyle” plans such as the Active Aging programme in Indonesia, and development of social environments such as leisure parks and senior citizen clubs.
One participant challenged the aging population paradigm by distinguishing a shrinking working age population from a shrinking labor force, suggesting that the focus should rest not on the number of employed individuals, but on the productivity of those employed.
WORKING SESSION VI: WAY FORWARD AT THE NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND GLOBAL LEVEL
Moderator Haque introduced the session noting that the process to formulate MDGs had not been as consultative as current post-2015 discussions, and thus the issue of population dynamics was left out of the MDGs.
Speaking on migration in the post-2015 development agenda, Börje advocated a rights-based approach in the management of migration. She called for the involvement of local governments in crafting regulations pertinent to migration and migrants. She stressed mainstreaming migration into sectoral goals like education and health; and creating partnerships to ensure rights-based migration and human mobility policies and practices.
Noting support from his country and region for the Dhaka Declaration, Niel Sharma, Minister for Health, Fiji, called for public-private partnerships, strong monitoring and evaluation systems, coherent policies on migration and incorporating climate change as a theme when considering population dynamics.
Maitha Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, United Arab Emirates, shared her country’s policies in trying to deal with challenges associated with population dynamics in relation to the post-2015 development agenda, including the provision of: free education and training services in order to incorporate the youth into the labor market; health services to tackle issues relating to aging populations; and clean energy through exploiting nuclear energy.
Informing participants about his country’s successes in health, education and gender equality, Neomal Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Sri Lanka, drew attention to the need to link climate change to population dynamics to ensure that the global community will support most vulnerable populations.
Yuri Thamrin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia, highlighted Indonesia’s experience with integrating population dynamics into policy through people-centered development by enhancing human resources and providing support for most vulnerable communities. Thamrin called for strong leadership on all levels for clear, concise, compelling and ambitious goals that: build on lessons learned from experiences with the MDGs; eradicate poverty, through an emphasis on human development; promote sustainable development with equity; build models of development that are sustainable; and embrace global partnerships.
Participants agreed that population dynamics are an important consideration in sustainable development, remarking that the post-2015 agenda should take into account issues raised and unresolved from the MDGs, such as: partnerships and participation; gender equity specifically as impacted by migration; linkages to climate change and environmental factors; and universal access to health. Some participants called for the development of a financial package to avoid the gaps in implementation experienced with the MDGs.
On the process of how the consultations will deliver recommendations to the HLP, some participants voiced concern over the lack of substantive debate resulting in lack of clarity, including on how to achieve a global partnerships on migration. A participant proposed a global mechanism to regulate trade in services to support migrant workers, expressing hope that it will gain traction.
ADOPTION OF THE DHAKA DECLARATION ON POPULATION DYNAMICS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE POST-2015 UN DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
In the closing session, Kacyira lauded the government of Bangladesh for hosting an inspirational meeting, and the active participation of states and UN agencies demonstrating a “commonness of purpose.” She highlighted the calls to strengthen partnerships and collaborations in order to enhance coherence in the post-2015 process.
Dahinden noted his satisfaction at the deliberations carried out at this final meeting. He drew attention to discussions geared towards rights-based approaches and gender-responsive policies, noting that the “right approaches can only be done through collaborative action.”
Moni led delegates in the adoption of the Dhaka Declaration, noting that it is an important input into the post-2015 development agenda. Delegates adopted the Dhaka Declaration by acclamation.
Dhaka Declaration: The Dhaka Declaration on the Global Leadership Meeting on Population Dynamics in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda reaffirms that people are at the center of the development agenda; recognizes population dynamics as an integral component of sustainable development; and notes the population mega-trends that are at the forefront of national and international development agendas.
In the Declaration, ministers and representatives of participating countries take note of the outcomes of the global thematic consultation on population dynamics in the post-2015 development agenda, and the recommendations to, among other things: adopt rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to population dynamics; strengthen migration governance; share knowledge on the links between population dynamics and development to promote sustainable development; promote development of human capital; and strengthen national capacities for all aspects of population dynamics.
In the area of high fertility and population growth, the Declaration calls upon states and relevant stakeholders to: ensure SRHR, and provide universal access to reproductive health services; strengthen coverage and quality of education, especially for the girl child; make significant efforts to seize opportunities presented by demographic dividends; and improve and support opportunities for young people to access productive employment and decent work.
In the area of low fertility and population aging, the Declaration calls upon states and relevant stakeholders to: eliminate age-based discrimination; provide adequate levels of social protection; and develop appropriate technologies, care services and infrastructure to accommodate the needs of older persons.
In the area of migration and human mobility, the Declaration calls upon states and relevant stakeholders to: ensure migrants are considered agents of development; ensure that migration is safe and orderly and that adequate protection is extended to all migrants; ensure migration is integrated into national and sectoral development policies, strategies and programmes; promote matching of skills and jobs as well as labor supply and demand within and between countries; consider internal and international migration as possible adaptation strategies in the context of climate change; and ensure the human rights of, and non-discrimination towards, migrants.
In the area of urbanization, the Declaration calls upon states and relevant stakeholders to: anticipate and plan for urban growth to ensure the growing number of urban residents have secure access to land, housing, water, sanitation, energy and transport; promote rural development with a view to achieving rural and urban development; contain the spread of urban slums; and minimize the environmental impact of cities by slowing urban sprawl, and seize the opportunities of higher population density, notably higher energy efficiency in transport and housing.
The Declaration underscores the recommendations emerging from the Global Thematic Consultation on Population Dynamics in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and encourages and supports international agencies, civil society and other stakeholders to work with governments to formulate goals and targets that address population dynamics. It also encourages states to integrate population dynamics into their respective national sustainable development strategies.
CLOSURE OF THE MEETING
Moni underlined the intricacies and challenges in the area of population dynamics. In this regard, she noted that governments have to strike various balances to achieve optimal policies, and that this may slow the process, but assured participants that the wheel has been set in motion to address population dynamics and integrate it into national programmes and the overall post-2015 development agenda. She called for sustaining the momentum at the national level, especially on issues like family planning, and urged renewed engagement with the private sector and civil society.
She closed the meeting at 5:05pm.
Meeting of the OWG on SDGs: The first meeting of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will convene on 14-15 March 2013. The meeting will include a statement by the UN Secretary-General, as well as general discussion and an interactive debate with representatives of the HLP, civil society, the scientific community and the policy community. The meeting is also expected to adopt a provisional agenda, the programme of work for its first session and draft methods of work for the OWG. dates: 14-15 March 2013 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York, United States of America www:http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=1549
Leadership Meeting on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the 11 global thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, this high-level meeting will bring together nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the sponsoring Governments of Costa Rica and France, and participants from the UN, among others, to discuss and define recommendations on environmental sustainability in a future framework. This consultation is being co-led by UNDP and UNEP, with support from the Governments of France and Costa Rica. dates: 18-19 March 2013 venue: Real Intercontinental Hotel location: San José, Costa Rica www: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/sustainability2015
Global Meeting on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the 11 global thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, this meeting will bring together Member States, NGOs and civil society to discuss and define agenda recommendations on education for the post-2015 development framework. It is scheduled to take place from 18-19 March in Dakar, Senegal. This consultation is co-led by UNICEF and UNESCO, and co-hosted by the Governments of Senegal and Canada. dates: 18-19 March 2013 location: Dakar, Senegal www: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/education2015
High-level Consultation on Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the 11 global thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, this meeting will bring together Member States, NGOs and civil society to discuss and define recommendations on water for the post-2015 development framework from 21-22 March 2013, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the World Water Day celebrations. This consultation is facilitated by UN-Water, co-led by UN DESA and UNICEF, and co-hosted by the Governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland. dates: 21-22 March 2013 location: The Hague, Netherlands www: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/water
Fourth Meeting of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The fourth meeting of the HLP, hosted by the Government of Indonesia, will convene in Bali, Indonesia, from 25-27 March 2013. The focus will be on Global Partnerships. date: 25-27 March 2013 location: Bali, Indonesia www: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/post2015hlp
High-level Consultation on Food and Nutrition: As part of the 11 global thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, this leadership meeting will bring together member states, NGOs and other members of civil society to discuss and agree on an agenda on food and nutrition for the post-2015 development agenda. The thematic consultation on food and nutrition is co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the UN World Food Programme, and co-hosted by the governments of Spain and Finland. date: 4 April 2013 location: Madrid, Spain www: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/food2015
High-level Meeting on Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the 11 global thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, participants will consider the results of online consultations and their recommendations. The meeting is expected to develop an “Oslo Declaration” on key energy recommendations and potential global energy objectives, with the aim of informing and shaping the post-2015 development agenda on energy issues. Participants will discuss processes for engaging with key national, regional and global stakeholders on energy. The meeting will be organized by UN-Energy and the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative, the co-leaders of the Consultation, in partnership with the Governments of Mexico, Norway and Tanzania. date: 9 April 2013 location: Oslo, Norway email: email@example.com www: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/energy2015
UNGA Special Event on the MDGs: This special event will follow-up on efforts made towards achieving the MDGs. It is likely to include an opening and a closing plenary meeting, and up to four high-level interactive multi-stakeholder roundtable sessions which focus in particular on the acceleration of implementation of the MDGs as well as looking forward to the post-2015 framework. date: 25 September 2013 (tentative) location: New York www: http://bit.ly/WgW6le
UNGA High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development: This high-level dialogue is being held as a follow up to the first High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held in 2006, and will convene during the 68th session of the General Assembly date: fall 2013 location: New York, USA contact: DESA www: http://www.un.org/esa/population/migration/hlmimd2013/highlevelmim2013.htm