PSDA contributes to population dynamics in the post-2015 agenda consultation

December 10, 2012


The Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) has responded to several online discussions taking place as part of the thematic consultation on population dynamics in the post-2015 agenda. 


Credit: UN Photo/Kibae Park

Thematic consultations are under way

With 2015 - the target year for achievement of the millennium development goals – drawing nearer, the international community is increasingly focusing on what the post-2014 development agenda will look like.

Global thematic consultation are taking place on The World We Want 2015 website on eleven different themes, one of which is Population Dynamics in the post-2015 agenda, including a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Population Dynamics consultation is co-convened by UN-DESA, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT and IOM in partnership with the Government of Switzerland.

Important questions for post-2015

To date, the following four discussions have taken place as part of the population dynamics thematic consultation, each of which PSDA has contributed to:

  • Why and how should population dynamics be integrated into the post-2015 UN development agenda?
  • Is it possible to develop a common framework for integrating different population dynamics into the post-2015 development agenda?
  • Should we consider expanding targets with respect to individual population issues to include such issues as high fertility, demographic bonus, ageing, urbanization, or migration? What would be the disadvantage of broadening the set of targets?
  • How can we ensure a human-rights based and gender-responsive approach to addressing population dynamics?

PSDA advocates a two-pronged approach

In our response PSDA argued that population dynamics and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are critical, cross-cutting issues for sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda. A focus on these issues in ways that respect and protect rights is critical and has the potential to drive progress towards a range of development priorities, including poverty alleviation, equity, health, education, food and water security, gender equality, climate change and environmental sustainability, and to reduce the costs of achieving associated development goals.

We advocated a two-pronged approach for integration of population dynamics into the post-2015 development agenda:

  1. Population dynamics, including changing population structures and distributions should be considered as cross-cutting, enabling factors for post-2015 development goals.
  2.  Focus on access to reproductive health and protection of reproductive rights.

We recommended that this approach be advanced by:

  • Development strategies taking into account population dynamics (including growth, migration, urbanisation and age structure) trends and projections, with integration of demographic data into planning and monitoring.
  • Prioritisation of achieving universal access to reproductive health, including access to family planning services delivered as part of comprehensive reproductive health services that respect and protect human rights.
  • Promotion of integrated Population Health Environment (PHE) approaches that address the interactions between people, health and the environment by combining reproductive health provision with conservation, livelihood and other community-based development initiatives. 
  • A strong focus on the advancement of women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Ensuring a human-rights based and gender sensitive approach

The PSDA expressed concern that targets relating to demographic issues such as high fertility, population size, ageing, urbanization and migration could have unintended, negative consequences, potentially leading to violations of human rights, including reproductive rights and freedoms.

We emphasized that population dynamics can, and absolutely must, be addressed in ways that respect and protect rights, including through the use of population data as part of development planning and monitoring, and through prioritising achievement of universal access to reproductive health.

To ensure a gender-responsive approach we called for a strong focus on the advancement of women’s empowerment and gender equality, including gender mainstreaming into all of the goals, including data collection that is disaggregated by sex, and gender sensitive targets and indicators if that approach is maintained.

Read PSDA's contributions

PSDA's responses to the population dynamics thematic consultation questions are available to download below.

PSDA's responses draw on messages and recommendations from the PSN briefing note Population dynamics and sexual and reproductive health and rights: Critical cross-cutting issues for the post-2015 development agenda.