2.6.3 The Strategic Role of UNFPA in Partnership with Other Humanitarian and Development Actors

Facts/messages: As demonstrated by the previous analysis the Population Fund has a strategic operational niche in the country based on the experience acquired in the areas of generation and analysis of data on socio-demographic issues, population, SRH, and gender. The role of UNFPA does not culminate in the achievement per se of specific goals in these areas, but transcends these efforts, through the agency’s participation in strategic political dialogue. UNFPA has the explicit mandate and the potential capacity to bring population issues, SRH and gender into development policy-making at local, national, regional and global levels. It is this comparative advantage that UNFPA brings to the negotiations to incorporate these issues and data into evidence-based policy making and development planning. UNFPA’s strong presence in over 140 countries provides on-the-ground infrastructure for working with governments on population-informed development strategies.

Specifically to the 2010 round of censuses, but also to a wide range of surveys and administrative data sources, does UNFPA deliver quality technical assistanc for data collection and processing. These data, if used properly and to their full extent, can provide the baseline for evidence-based planning for the next decade. This will however require additional efforts in the data analysis phase for which countries often allocate insufficient funds. In this manual, specific analytical instruments have been brought together. This joint action leaves its mark and draws its inspiration for public anti-poverty programmes and large-scale initiatives directed at improving living conditions among the most vulnerable, so that the country can reduce inequalities and better find its place in the world economy.

In defining the support of UNFPA for the country, it is necessary to consider the role of other bilateral and multilateral agencies for co-operation and the joint work that is carried out in the context of the United Nations Country Teams (UNCT).

Possible Policy Recommendations

  • Develop good administrative records and vital statistics, so that information can be collected for analysis and utilization for policy development and for monitoring progress on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the ICPD goals;
  • Generate and provide access to relevant socio-demographic information for decision-making (including at decentralized levels). Availability of geo-referenced information systems and formation of human resources for managing these data systems and the understanding of population dynamics as a determining factor of the scale, evolution, and territorial distribution of the demand for social services;
  • Demonstrate the impact of MDG5 on other MDGs in social and economic terms. MDG-5b, which provides for “access to reproductive health for all”, if not addressed, results in population growth especially amongst the poor, constraints to economic growth and limits investment in physical and human capital;
  • Identify the opportunities afforded by the “demographic bonus” and public policies needed to take advantage of these opportunities in a timely fashion, based on evidence demonstrated at the micro level (families) and macro level (national aggregates), that underscore the actual advantages in terms of the savings generated through the reduction in fertility, as well as the potential benefits that could derive from a greater quantity and quality of available human capital, especially of young people. Here one could mention policies that improve employability and productivity (health, education) as well as those that extend the supply of decent work (productive, stable, with social protection);
  • Assess the demand for services in the area of SRH, through social policies that improve the status of women, by expanding their productive options and enhancing their social participation. This would be the place to make reference to the new range of conciliatory policies:
  • Identify unmet needs relating to SRH and the foreseeable projection of demand, its determinants and consequences, as well as monitoring and the evaluation of results of policies and programmes, ensuring coverage and quality of services. Wherever possible, provide an estimate of indicative investments. Make recommendations against the backdrop of trends unfolding within health care systems, referred to as “health care reforms” in several countries;
  • Analyze the impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the construction of alternative scenarios of its spread, depending on different levels of programmatic intervention, contribution to improving knowledge and commitment on the part of decision-makers, highlighting the costs and benefits of educational and preventive programmes and access to treatment of the persons affected;
  • Analyze maternal mortality in countries where this continues to be a reality in order to demonstrate the urgency of cost-effective public policies, based on the existing consensus with regard to the most effective strategies for reducing maternal mortality, which combine three fundamental pillars: voluntary family planning of quality, qualified childbirth care, and emergency obstetric care (the three delays);
  • Emphasize inequality and poverty and their particular socio-cultural characteristics (diversity in urban and rural areas, ethnic groups etc.), highlighting differential factors by population groups and geographic area, and the specific characteristics of settings where public policies ought to be implemented to effectively guide programmatic initiatives, based on evidence revealed through disaggregated indicators on inequalities in habitat-related conditions. Illustrate the various profiles of needs and demands in urban and rural areas, in order to design specific policies for those areas, while taking into account the process of decentralization and the strengthening of local institutions, which offers both opportunities and challenges;
  • Analyze the net result (positive and negative impacts) of international migration to guide public policy interventions in the most effective way. Concentrate efforts to improve the compilation and analysis of information concerning the numbers of internal and international migrants and the flows of resources generated (volume of remittances, costs of transfer, their productive use or consumption), in order to design policies that make it possible to capitalize on their full potential;
  • Formulate and recommend preventive lines of action that make it possible to anticipate ageing scenarios. In general, ageing takes place in conditions of poverty and inequality and it is important, therefore, that social protection systems and policies take these contrasting realities into account (in terms of the family environment, age and gender). Construct alternative scenarios for policies and the potential costs involved, according to different delivery mechanisms (public and private transfers);
  • Place more emphasis on helping cities grow sustainably. Most urban growth is occurring in small and medium sized cities, a trend that will continue into the foreseeable future. Governance issues in these cities are essential. Small and medium-sized cities are more flexible in dealing with rapid urban growth but dispose of fewer resources;
  • Address the constituents of urban growth in cities. The main component is generally natural increase, and not migration. The most successful way to decrease urban growth rates would be to reduce unwanted fertility in both, rural and urban areas. Poverty, coupled with gender discrimination and sociocultural constraints, shapes the fertility preferences of the urban poor and limits their access to quality reproductive health services. A large proportion of urban growth, through natural increase or migration, is made up of poor people. A fact that needs to be made clear to urban policy-makers is that poor people have both a right to be in the city and an important contribution to make;
  • Plan ahead for the needs of the poor in order to reduce social problems in the cities. In particular, provide poor people with serviced land to build and improve their own housing. Here, greater attention should be given to securing property rights of women. Provide a secure home and a legal address to people to tap into what the city has to offer. The most effective way to achieve this is to learn to live with inevitable growth and plan for it, and thus provide land and services for the poor;
  • Analyse environmental degradation and assess the environmental vulnerability of the poor. The interactions between urban growth and sustainability will be particularly critical for humankind’s future. Cities influence global environmental change and will be increasingly affected by it. It is particularly critical in developing countries, whose urban population will soon double, and in low-elevation coastal zones;
  • Minimize the negative and enhance the positive in urbanization. This requires both, a vision and a permanent concern for poverty reduction, gender equality and equity and environmental sustainability. It also requires good information and analysis.