PSDA highlights population and sustainability links at International Conference on Family Planning

November 18, 2013


Last week at the International Conference on Family Planning 2013 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, participants came together with the Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) to take part in an important yet overlooked dialogue for the post-2015 development framework.


Credit: Nurul Alam Masud

An interactive debate

The PSDA side-event, 'Population, Family Planning and Sustainability Links: Voices from the South’ explored the relationships between population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and sustainable development issues, from the perspectives of voices from the Global South.

Chaired by A.Tianna Scozzaro of Population Action International, the interactive panel debate brought together the following Southern members and associates of the alliance to share experiences from their countries of the interactions between population, health and gender issues with problems such as climate change, food insecurity and natural resource degradation:

Linked issues require integrated solutions

After an introduction to the alliance by PSN’s Sarah Fisher, the panellists provided insights from their work, including Population Health Environment (PHE) approaches integrating reproductive health with sustainable development initiatives.

The complementary strategies discussed ranged from the promotion of alternative livelihood strategies in the face of climate change, to giving communities a voice through local radio, and advocacy to ensure that progressive policy is put into practice.

The reality that people do not live their lives in silos but experience the connections between health, environment and development issues on a daily basis, provided a resounding call for the scale-up of these integrated approaches which meet a range of sustainable development needs at the local level, with the potential for global impact.

Looking to post-2015

Questions and discussion focused on the extent to which the messages and findings from integrated interventions are being incorporated into advocacy to influence the post-2015 framework, and the best strategies for ensuring that. There was debate about the importance of advocacy at the national level versus the international level, with the conclusion being that both are critical, and particularly by countries from the global South.

This conclusion resonated with other recent PSDA discussions in Ethiopia.  Including those at the PSDA members’ conference and post-2015 workshop, and the International PHE Conference held in Addis Ababa prior to the International Conference on Family Planning, in addition to the roundtable lunchtime discussion facilitated by PSDA on the final day of the family planning conference.

There is a real sense that with the world looking for a set of sustainable development goals to inform the next development agenda, now is a critical moment for approaches that show how integration works and can be done, if only the opportunity can be seized. As called by a participant in the event; “Now is the time for national and international advocates to come forward: we only have a small window to influence.”

Read PSDA’s new briefing: Population Dynamics, Reproductive Health and Sustainable Development: Critical Links and Opportunities for Post-2015.