"If you cant measure it, you cant manage it."
— Measuring the Change in World Poverty, PARIS 21
Much of the learning in the field of population and development has been spurred by research examining population dynamics and movements and analyzing the linkages between them and reproductive health, human rights, gender equality and poverty, among other issues. These linkages underpin the ICPD Programme of Action that guides UNFPA. Building on the synergies among them will also contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
At Cairo, the international community acknowledged the role of social and economic research in understanding how population change affects and is affected by socio-cultural, economic and environmental factors and their complex interactions. It called upon governments and funding agencies to support a wide range of research that could inform public policy and improve programming strategies. Research on womens roles and status, spatial mobility of populations and differentials in morbidity and mortality within population subgroups were singled out as pressing concerns.
The Fund supports globally and at regional and country levels demographic research and censuses as they provide the necessary planning, monitoring and evaluation tools for population and development policies and as they advance the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.
Globally UNFPA has supported organizations such as the Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography (CICRED) and the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). CICRED links population research institutions, disseminates research findings and serves as a catalyst for stimulating new research. IUSSP facilitates the building of cross-cultural and international research networks; supports expert forums on critical population issues, sharing research findings and discussing policy and programme implications; and disseminates scientific and policy findings.
A UNFPA-led plenary session 'ICPD Vision: How Far Has the Eleven-Year Journey Taken Us?' was a highlight of one of the largest forums on population in history. The 2005 International Population Conference, hosted by the IUSSP, drew more than 2000 population experts to Tours, France, for discussion of a variety of population issues, including two side meetings hosted by UNFPA: One was on utilization of census data in furthering the Millennium Development Goals; another dealt with the influence of cultural norms on demography.
UNFPA supports a Generations and Gender project, implemented by the Population Activities Unit of the UN Economic Commission for Europe for member states in Eastern Europe. The project, which seeks to contribute to the knowledge base on the behavioral, social and economic conditions of individuals of different generations, has helped to update a comprehensive database for monitoring population developments in Europe as well as progress in the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.
The Fund also supports regional research initiatives that may directly affect programming, such as the Africa Social Research Programme and a recent initiative to learn more about mens attitudes and socialization, carried out by the Latin America and Caribbean Division. Each year, the UNFPA State of World Population report compiles, reviews and disseminates research findings on different population and development themes.