In a significant collaboration, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are set to organize the Seventh Asian and Pacific Population Conference. The event, scheduled to take place from November 15 to 17, 2023, will be hosted both at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok and virtually, reflecting the evolving nature of international conferences in the post-pandemic era.
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This conference, a statutory organ of UN ESCAP held every ten years as mandated by ESCAP resolution 74 (XXIII) of 1967, coincides with several pivotal milestones and global events. Celebrating the 75-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, marking 60 years since the inaugural Asian Population Conference in 1963, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development, and acknowledging the halfway point to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific are some of the key elements embedded in this conference’s broader context.
Notably, the event includes the crucial 30-year review of the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which will be conducted during the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Population and Development.
At the heart of the conference lies the opportunity to assess the implementation of the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development within the region. The focus is on addressing the intricate intersection of population and development considerations, emphasizing sustainable development both in the present and the future.
Asia and the Pacific, home to 60 percent of the world’s population, play a pivotal role on the global stage. The region is undergoing a transformative shift from high to low fertility and mortality rates, with increasing longevity and migration contributing to older, more urbanized populations. However, challenges vary across subregions and countries, with some experiencing population decline while others continue to grow, albeit at a declining rate.
This critical juncture for the region brings both progress and challenges. Despite notable advancements in health, poverty eradication, sanitation, nutrition, and education, new and residual challenges such as a shrinking labor force, population aging, and heightened migration levels are emerging. Persistent socioeconomic inequalities, gender disparities, and ageism continue to hinder progress. Furthermore, external factors such as climate change, disasters, conflicts, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and digital transformation exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and inequalities.
The Seventh Asian and Pacific Population Conference aims to tackle these multifaceted challenges with a focus on placing people at the center of sustainable development. Delegates, experts, and policymakers from across the region will engage in discussions, share insights, and formulate strategies to navigate the complex landscape of population dynamics, ensuring a future that is both sustainable and inclusive.
As the conference unfolds, it is expected to be a landmark event, shaping the trajectory of policies and initiatives in the region for years to come. The outcomes will not only influence the local context but will also contribute significantly to the global discourse on sustainable development and population dynamics.