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Health Minister inaugurates 11th International Inter-ministerial Conference on Population and Development

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New Delhi (Nov. 25, 2014): Shri J P Nadda, Minister of Health & Family Welfare inaugurated the 11th International Inter-ministerial Conference on Population and Development along with the Partners in Population and Development (PPD), here today. Also present at the inaugural session were Mr. Wang Pei’an, Vice Minister, National Health and Family Planning Commission, China; Mr. Ridha Gataa, President Director General, National Board of Family and Population, Tunisia; Dr. Josephine Kibaru Mbae, Secretary and Director General, National Council for Population and Development, Kenya; Ms Kate Gilmore, UNFPA; Mr. Joe Thomas, Ex. Director, PPD; Mr Lov Verma, Secretary (H&FW) and senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In his inaugural address, the Health Minister said that since the first conference which took place at Cairo in 1994, the PPD has come a long way in defining and charting goals for member countries towards issues of population and development. Shri Nadda stated that he is positive that the deliberations of the two day conference will contribute to a positive change for the 60% of the world population living in the PPD countries. The Conference will also provide a mechanism for defining and building consensus on critical issues pertaining to population and development in these countries.

With the theme of “South-South Cooperation for investing for demographic dividend in the post ICPD / MDG frameworks”, the Health Minister said that the Conference has come at a critical time, focusing on the ways and means to harness the demographic dividend within the member countries. The number of young people in the world (between 15 to 24 years) has grown rapidly in the recent decades, he said. Adolescents in India constitute about 21% of the population. The huge potential of this large group, the Minister stated can be harnessed with policies and programmes targeted to their health and wellbeing.

Shri J P Nadda said that the Conference, with the presence of dignitaries and delegates from the member countries, presents an opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and best practices. The South-South collaboration and partnership is an effective strategy to address challenges related to population stabilization, family planning, sexual and reproductive health and sustainable development, the Minister said.

The Health Minister released UNFPA’s ‘State of the World’s Population Report 2014’ at the inaugural ceremony.

Speaking at the inauguration, Shri Lov Verma, Secretary (H&FW) said that it is time to invest more in the youth to harness their energy and to make them partners in the development process. The Conference will provide an opportunity to the member countries to chart policies that will nurture and guide the youth; to provide them an agency for growth and development, he said. Their needs are as precious as their aspirations, the Secretary added.

Deliberations at the 11th Inter-ministerial conference will lead to a Delhi Declaration with key commitments and recommendations for realizing a youth and second demographic divided in southern countries in the ICPD beyond 2014, and MDGs beyond 2015 development framework. This deceleration will be endorsed and adopted by the 26 PPD alliance member countries, development partners, civil society and other conference participants.

PPD’s members comprise 26 low and middle income/developing countries having more than 58% of the world’s population. These include Bangladesh, Benin, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe from the four regions (Asia and Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and Caribbean).

PPD’s mandate is to promote south-south cooperation for population, reproductive health and development. It conducts high level advocacy, and policy dialogues, exchange of knowledge and best practices, technical cooperation, capacity building and operation research to assist the member and non-member countries in implementing the ICPD plan of action within the broader framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Source: PIB