3. The Elaboration Process of the PSA
Starting points of this exercise are national development priorities and strategies. While these can be explicit in some instances, in many cases the national priorities that relate to population matters might not be completely visible or do not occupy a prominent place in the public agenda. These priorities are reflected—or at least ought to be reflected—in one or several national policies or programmes that are fundamental in pursuing vital objectives of poverty reduction, diminishing inequality (social, economic, regional, ethnic, gender, generational, etc.), raising standards of health in general and SRH in particular, social protection and social cohesion, strengthening of gender equity, investment in human and social capital, inter alia. These policies are influenced by and, at the same time, influence population behaviours (fertility, mortality, SRH, internal and international migration). In the preparation of the PSA one should identify these public policies and programmes, specifying the importance of population trends and their implications in this respect. It is important to highlight that not all of the aforementioned policies are always in place (or explicit), so that the key focus in a particular country may well be just one policy or programme, for example a National Poverty Reduction Strategy, which exists in many countries.
The PSA should be considered as a flexible framework that can be tailored to national realities. The manual should be treated as a standardized body of methodologies and procedures for obtaining comparable results and deriving common messages. Their use should be governed, on the one hand, by criteria of feasibility, availability of information and capacities; and on the other hand they should be tailored to national priorities and the process of political dialogue. Because of this, it is possible that countries will not carry out all the analyses recommended in the Manual and incorporate other priorities for the country, or shift the emphasis. The development of this new PSA cycle by the countries with the help of UNFPA will facilitate medium-term efforts to share the lessons learned and to build a shared pool of practices to illustrate and quantify and, ideally, project the interrelationships of population behaviour, reproductive and productive dynamics, inequalities (social, territorial, gender, ethnic, generational, etc.) and poverty.
In order to do this, the Manual does not present a mandatory list of tasks to be carried out, but rather a set of suggestions that can be modified in accordance with national priorities. However, despite the adaptability of the Manual, the PSA should systematically take basic elements such as inequalities and inequities into account. In this respect, the PSA should include a discussion of different kinds of disparities, collating data and information that is available on disparities between ethnic, racial, or religious groups, as well as data on young people, and the elderly, always including a gender and
As was stated earlier, a second principle is to bear in mind the commitment of the United Nations System to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This entails relating the analysis to poverty reduction and inequality, and to perceive its relationship with the other seven MDGs. To the extent that this is possible, an analysis of the indicators established to monitor the attainment of the MDGs should be included. UNFPA and its ICPD mandate should be positioned at the stage of the design of the PRSPs in order to influence (PRSP – CCA – CPD). For this, it is relevant to develop the knowledge base among UNFPA COs to be able to consider UNFPA issues in the PRSPs. The similarity between the PSA’s principles and the principles of the CCA provides UNFPA with an adequate basis for policy dialogue.