Development Policy and the Challenge of Growth

9 February 2012
Author: UNFPA
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin(centre) with members of the German advocacy team for DSW, an international development organization and important partner of UNFPA. From left to right: Katharina Scheffler, Malke Schliebs, Caroline Kent and Nina Wepler.

BERLIN -- The paramount challenge of this century is to meet the needs of 7 billion human beings now – and the billions to come – while protecting the intricate balance of nature that sustains life, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said in a speech at an international conference on development policy and population.

In addition to swiftly shifting to a green economy, the world needs to invest in people and address population dynamics through human-rights based policies that are practical and effective, the Executive Director said, outlining three critical actions:

Ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including meeting the unmet need for family planning and empowering women to independently decide the number, timing and spacing of their children. Investing adequately in young people – their health, education and job opportunities – and ensuring that girls are not left behind in these efforts.

Using population data and projections to plan for rural, urban and national development and to pro-actively address emerging economic, social and environmental challenges.

The German Minister for Development Dirk Niebel was the other main speaker at the conference, which was organized by Sibylle Pfeiffer, a German Member of Parliament, development spokesperson for the country’s governing CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany/Christian Social Union of Bavaria) faction and long-time supporter of the work of UNFPA. In her introduction, Ms. Pfeiffer highlighted the importance of linking development and population with youth and access to services as particularly important theme for the future.

In a world of 7 billion, Germany will increasingly support gender and human rights, including giving priority to sexual and reproductive health, according to Mr. Niebel, who noted that the German government believes in multilateralism, and will continue its support the work of UNFPA, including new partnerships on projects in Bangladesh and Yemen. Germany was UNFPA's ninth largest donor to UNFPA core resources in 2011.

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