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UNFPA’s Global Dialogue on Demographic Diversity reaffirms the need for hard-fought rights to be upheld despite emerging global trends

More than 200 participants are gathering in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 15 and 16 May to discuss how to achieve sustainable and equitable development in a world more demographically diverse than ever before.

BANGLADESH: The pace and direction of demographic change has never been so diverse, with countries increasingly facing the impacts of climate change, urbanization, digitalization, and migration, among other emerging trends. Along with this, some regions are experiencing rapid population growth, while others face population decline.

UNFPA, together with the governments of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, and Japan, officially launched a two-day global dialogue today, emphasizing that a demographically diverse world demands rights-based policies and approaches.

Reaffirming the need to realize gender equality and women’s rights to reproductive decision-making and bodily autonomy, the opening session of the global dialogue called for sustainable investment in the human and economic potential of all, particularly of youth, older persons, and hard to reach communities. 

Officially opening the dialogue, UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem said: “In a world grappling with conflicts, record humanitarian displacement, climate change, migration, rising intolerance, and a surge of misinformation and disinformation, it is evidence- and rights-based decisions that will shape the future of reproductive health and rights.”

Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, said: “From the outset, Bangladesh remained staunchly committed to implementing the ICPD Program of Action. We would like to see UNFPA and other development partners, geared at taking further effective measures to enable all countries, especially the developing, least developed, and small island states, to achieve the ICPD goals and targets.”

It remains critical to focus on strengthening international cooperation to address the well-being and protection of all the peoples around the world, especially mothers, children and the elderly, from health risks emanating from climate impacts and other factors, she added.

This global dialogue is the second of a series of dialogues on the topics of youth, demographic diversity, and technological change that are being organized this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD). Thirty years ago, the ICPD launched a global programme of action to place people’s rights at the heart of sustainable development, and these dialogues will be crucial moments to reinvigorate the promise beyond 2024, taking into account current emerging trends.

Bringing together experts from governments, academia, civil society, the private sector and United Nations entities, this global dialogue on demographic diversity will delve into a forward-looking vision of the world’s future, imagining societies that proactively engage with and adapt to demographic changes. The dialogue will cover a range of thematic discussions, including the impact of megatrends and migration on global population trends; the role of technology and data in planning for demographic changes; promoting green, diverse, and inclusive cities; demographic diversity, mobility, and the climate crisis; intergenerational wellbeing and healthy ageing; and promoting resilience within rural communities.

Over the course of the two days, participants will engage in substantive conversation over demographic developments on health systems, pensions, urban development, and economic growth, including how demographic change will affect the nature and demand for health-care services, as well as the care economy, labor practices, education needs and social support, all critical to achieving global goals and sustainable development.