Development coordination and its activities call for an increased strategic focus, based on the needs, priorities, and national development strategies of countries. The Population Situation Analysis (PSA) expresses the commitment of the United Nations Population Fund to mainstream population dynamics, reproductive health and gender issues into National Development Strategies, as well in the national dialogues and consultations to define the post 2015 development agenda, explicitly adopting a human rights, culture and gender perspective. It responds to the demand by countries that international cooperation should promote national capacity-building and recognize national ownership and leadership as prerequisites for development, in accordance with the principles agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the Millennium Declaration.

At the country level, the manual provides the basis for an integrated appraisal of the population and reproductive health dynamics and their linkages and impacts on poverty, inequality and development. Furthermore, by integrating a micro and macro analytical approach, the PSA makes the interactions between individual behaviour and demographic dynamics explicit.

The PSA contributes to more efficient evidence-based programming. There is a need for increased capacity for data generation and analysis, the establishment of data bases, the consolidation of available evidence and the promotion of the use of such evidence.

In order to ensure national ownership of the PSA, it is of utmost importance to ensure that the PSA is a country-driven exercise, with national priorities at its starting point. These priorities, once identified, must be considered in the country’s post 2015 development agenda. 

In the context of the reform of the United Nations System and the changes in the architecture and the objectives of development cooperation, the PSA reflects the principles underlying the reform – enhancing its relevance and effectiveness for the world’s people in the 21st century – and serves as a catalyst for analytical processes that can play an important role in joint programme exercises.

Inter-agency processes, such as the Common Country Assessment (CCA) depend on reliable data and strong arguments. In this process, the PSA shall serve as the analytical contribution from the population perspective, thus constituting a key resource in the process of the Common Country Assessment/United Nations Development Assistance Framework (CCA/UNDAF) in order to better harmonize the support provided to countries by the United Nations System. The similarity between the principles of the PSA and the CCA will provide UN agencies with the adequate basis for evidence-based policy dialogue.

The CCA represents an independent assessment by the UN system of the development situation and critical issues facing a country, particularly in light of the priorities agreed  in global conferences, such as ICPD, the MDGs and the post 2015 agenda.. The process of preparing the CCA, led by the UN Country Team working with national authorities, now increasingly involves civil society, other development partners and the private sector.

Once the CCA is finalized, the UN Country Team, in close cooperation with the host government and other key partners, drafts the UNDAF. The UNDAF is the UN’s business plan for its work at the country level. It identifies common objectives, strategies for development assistance and a timeframe for follow-up activities shared by all resident UN agencies.

UNFPA provides population data, technical assistance and policy guidance in the development of CCAs and UNDAFs, and works to ensure that population and reproductive health issues are integrated into both planning frameworks, through the development and promotion of tools such as the Population Situation Analysis.

The manual published in 2011 underlying this interactive website was the result of an adaptation process, based on the 2006 manual of the Regional Office for Latin American and the Caribbean.

In order to have an institutional document that could be applied all over the world, substantial modifications had to be introduced reflecting regional differences, in terms of thematic issues and data availability. After extensive consultation with UNFPA Regional Offices, as well as Headquarters’ Technical and Programme Division, the document, as it now stands, incorporated all suggestions for change that were received.

This interactive website shall serve as a platform to connect the stakeholders of the PSA application processes in different countries. Its dynamic and flexible format provides several options in order to tailor the PSA to national realities. Therefore, every outcome document of the PSA will be different and country-specific, yet unified by a common methodologyand substantive vision.

To this end it offers several features:

  1. The Population Situation Analysis Guide
  2. Translations of the guide (Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish)
  3. Customization of the guide by thematic issues
  4. E-Learning course on the application of the PSA.
  5. Archive of national outcome documents
  6. Question and Answer Forum

The authors will be constantly updating this online guide with new methodologies, sources and tools as soon as these become available.

We invite the users of this site to share their experience and outcomes with us, to enrich the existing content of the guide and to provide others and UNFPA with the opportunity to learn from previous endeavours.

We trust the Population Situation Analysis to become a tool that will enable the United Nations at large to contribute, in close collaboration, to place the Programme of Action (PoA) as adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994 even more effectively at the forefront of decision-making processes with respect to public policies regarding population and development issues, and thus ultimately support the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Bruce Campbell,
Director, Technical Division,
United Nations Population Fund