UNFPA Urges Countries to Tackle Demographic Challenges

Addis Ababa October 18/2018 The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) urged countries to tackle the demographic challenges through enhancing various choices and rights for women.

UNFPA has launched the State of World Population (SWOP) 2018 report in Addis Ababa yesterday.

On his opening remark, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director, Dereje Wordofa said rapid population growth is putting pressure on economic development and delivery of social services.

According to him, informed choices on fertility and other demographic challenges can contribute to achieve sustainable development goals and agendas of 2030 and 2063.

Decline in fertility is not fairly shared across economic strata with high fertility levels remaining among low socio-economic groups.  It is therefore crucial for countries to improve educational levels and health services for those in low socio-economic groups coupled with sex education, he said.

Noting that overall 214 million women in developing world are at risk of unintended pregnancy, Derejie said 99 million around the world conceive unintentionally.

Dereje calls countries to confront the demographic challenges through enhancing women’s rights and choices to have lasting efforts on fertility rates.

UNFPA 2030 SDGs  target include zero unmated need for modern contraceptive, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero gender-based violence or practices that harm women and girls, it was learned.

Throughout Africa, fertility rates today are significantly lower in urban than in rural areas. In Ethiopia, fertility rate is at 2.3 in urban and 5.2 in rural, the report disclosed.

Ethiopia’s population is estimated by projection 107.5 million, while total fertility rate is at 4 in 2018, SWOP report revealed.

The report provides valuable evidence to inform implementation of national population policies and strategies for harnessing the demographic dividend.

National Planning Commission Deputy Commissioner, Getachew Adem said Ethiopia’s development plans have mainstreamed from population issues in all sectors and given due emphasis to improving access to family planning.

The labor force must be healthy, well educated, and skilled and gainfully employed to realize the population dividend, he pointed out.

“Currently NPC is finalizing preparatory ground works for the formulation of a 15 year perspective development plan spanning the period 2015/16 to ‘30,” adding a background study on ‘Demographic Dynamics and Priority Population Issues’ is completed by NPC.

In this fiscal year, NPC plans will undertake a comprehensive assessment of Ethiopia’s existing national population policy, which is already 25 years old, he added.

According to the report, world population in 2018 is estimated 7.633 billion and African population is over 1 billion.