Dispatch

20 November 2012

Population Dynamics and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Experts from different fields bring different perspectives to the table
The future we want.jpg

NEW YORK --- Academicians and experts from seven UN agencies gathered at UNFPA this week for one in what will be a series of global thematic consultations, as well as national consultations, aimed at influencing the post-2015 agenda – the plan of action that will replace the Millennium Development Goals as an international framework for development.

The first of the global thematic consultations on population dynamics began with an expert group meeting this week at UNFPA headquarters. Population dynamics is an issue that is too often overlooked, according to UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “Even at high-level meetings – such as Davos – population dynamics is overlooked. Last year was one of the first times we were able to raise the issue.”

Yet the linkages between population dynamics and development are indisputable. “You cannot talk about development without talking about people,” the Executive Director said, “and you cannot talk about people without understanding population dynamics.”

The consultation began with presentations describing how major demographic trends – such as population growth, youth, ageing, urbanization and migration – are reshaping our world and influencing international and national development agendas.

Speakers addressed the impact of population on labour markets, income distribution, poverty, social protection and pensions. Population dynamics also powerfully influence environmental sustainability, climate change, and water, food and energy security, experts noted. And they affect our ambition to ensure universal access to health, education and other essential services. 

Videos: Why do we need to integrate population dynamics into the post-2015 development agenda?

 
Ronald Skeldon
Professional Fellow at Department of Geography,
University of Sussex
 
Silvia Giorguli
Chair of the Center for Demographic, Urban and Environmental Studies,
El Colegio de Mexico
 
Robert Buckley
Studley Fellow/ Graduate Program on International Affairs,
The New School
 
Tim Dyson
Professor,
London School of Economics
 
Catherina Hinz
Senior Project Advisor,
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Representatives of UNFPA, UN DESA, UN Habitat, IOM, FAO and UN Women, as well as experts in various fields, had different perspectives on these linkages, but shared agreement that population dynamics need to be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda.

They also agreed that this is a critical time for such discussions, because a number of review processes related to the global summits of the 1990s are now ongoing, spearheaded by various agencies, and they are yielding important insights that could be critical for inclusion in the post-2015 agenda.

UNFPA, for example, is undergoing a 20-year review of the ICPD Programme of Action, which guides the Fund. “Convergence is the watchword,” the Executive Director said. “These two processes must speak to each other. Because at the end of the day, if we cannot capture what we find from our review process in the 2015 agenda, we are wasting our time.”

The following short videos capture what some of the other experts had to say on the subject of integrating population dynamics in the post-2015 agenda. You can also follow, or contribute to the consultation, using this link.

Recommendations from the consultation will feed into the post-2015 processes, said Michael Herrmann, an advisor on population and economics and one of the organizers of the meeting.