Current population dynamics in Europe, North America and Central Asia must be seen as an opportunity, not a threat, senior officials of UNFPA and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said at the opening of the high-level ICPD regional review conference 'Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century', taking place on 1-2 July in Geneva.
"Most countries in this region are growing older and more diverse but this is no cause for alarm," said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA. "Societies are bound to benefit from these changes, but for this to happen governments must put in place smart policies strengthening the human capital of their societies. This means investing in the education, health and work opportunities of individuals, allowing them to reach their full potential throughout the entire life course, and irrespective of where they come from or what family setting they live in."
"We assert today that the population dimension is a key element of sustainable development which rests on social, economic and environmental pillars and also considers the impact of development on the opportunities of future generations", said Andrey Vasilyev, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary: "It is therefore indispensable to reconcile the needs of all groups within society, young and old, men and women and people with special needs."
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