Regional dialogue tackles population, development

Representatives of various African countries, including Malawi, have gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to examine crucial challenges that have emerged as critical concerns to Africa’s development, particularly as it relates to population growth.

During the two-day dialogue meeting, held prior to the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25), delegates are examining the growing urban slums as part of Africa’s urbanisation, climate change, a rapidly growing population of older people, migration and displacement, and creating the conditions needed to yield a demographic dividend.

Speaking during the opening of the meeting, African Institute for Development and Policy (Afidep) senior knowledge translation scientist Dr Bernard Onyango said the regional policy dialogue will inform debates and agendas on population and development in Africa at continental, as well as sub-regional and national levels.

He said: “We will examine these emergent challenges and their implications for development responses and foster continental member State exchange and learning on Africa’s evolving population and development imperatives toward ICPD+50.”

On her part, African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) senior research scientist Dr Isabella Aboderin said the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit offers an opportunity for region-specific considerations.

“This dialogue presents an opportunity for parallel African Union-led consultations on a new common African position on population issues,” she said.

The two-day forum, themed  African Perspectives on Emergent Imperatives for the Population and Development Agenda, was convened with support from the African Union Commission’s Department of Social Affairs, APHRC, Afidep and the Government of Kenya.

Outcomes of the policy dialogue are expected to inform debates and agendas on population and development in Africa at continental, sub-regional and national levels with the aim of consolidating perspectives and aligning Africa’s deliberations on ICPD25.

Participants at the regional dialogue were drawn from the African Union Commision (AUC), APHRC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), among others. 

Some of the Malawi delegates to the meeting are Malawi National Planning Commission (NPC) executive director Dr Thomas Munthali, LEAD Southern Africa executive director Sosten Chiotha and some legislators.

The ICPD25 is set to start on Tuesday at the Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya, with over 7 000 delegates from across the globe, including heads of State and other key policy makers. It is a follow-up to the first ICPD declaration held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. 

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