Opening of 49th Session of Commission on Population and Development - Part 2

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11-Apr-2016 03:01:12
Finding most vulnerable communities to erase inequalities depends on strong data, Secretary-General tells population and development commission at 3rdd meeting of 49th session.

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A strong demographic evidence base was critical to leaving no one behind in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today, opening the forty-ninth session of the Commission on Population and Development.

“When people are not counted, they are excluded,” he stressed, noting that people were at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. The current session of the Commission was a landmark one, as it was the first to be held since the 2030 Agenda’s adoption last September.

The 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals were fundamentally focused on equality, he said, adding that population data and analysis were critical to ending inequalities, helping people who were hard to reach and ushering in a life of dignity for all. “When people are empowered,” he said, “we can achieve economic, social and environmental justice.”

Elaborating on the theme of the Commission’s week-long session — “strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda” — delegates gave national examples of progress, challenges and concerns during a general debate and asked questions in an interactive discussion with the keynote speaker, Lisa Grace S. Bersales, National Statistician of the Philippines.

Ms. Bersales, in a keynote address, said that in order to transform the world by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals needed to encompass all aspects of people and planet and take into account partnerships for progress. Demographic evidence was more relevant than ever before, she said, calling for indicators that were disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location.

To monitor progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Statistical Commission had endorsed the formation of two groups — the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators and the High-level Group for Partnerships, Coordination and Capacity-Building, she said. It had also agreed on global indicators.

Also addressing the Commission this morning, Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said the international community’s commitment to strengthen the evidence base for sustainable development was crucial. The 2030 Agenda was built on the assumption that every country would be able to identify and locate the most vulnerable people, to identify interventions that resulted in the greatest improvements in their welfare and to monitor progress.

John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the Commission had the opportunity in 2016 to contribute expert advice on the collection, dissemination and use of data. High priority should be given to strengthening national systems for collecting traditional forms of demographic data and household surveys, he said.

Mwaba Patricia Kasese-Bota (Zambia), Chair of the forty-ninth session of the Commission, agreed that the 2030 Agenda was of the people, by the people and for the people. The availability of reliable and timely demographic data was essential for planning and implementing interventions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to monitor progress towards their achievement, she said.

Delivering statements during the debate were the representatives of Germany, Russian Federation, Uganda (on behalf of the African Group), Thailand (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union), Bangladesh, Honduras, Egypt, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Poland, Mexico, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Zambia, India, South Africa, United States, Brazil, Guatemala, Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Republic of Moldova, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Mongolia, Netherlands, Qatar and Finland.

In other business, the Commission elected, by acclamation, Ebrahim Alikhani (Iran) and Oana Maria Rebedea (Romania) as Vice-Chairs for the forty-ninth session. It also elected Mr. Alikhani to serve as Rapporteur.

Approving the provisional agenda for its current session (document E/CN.9/2016/1), as orally revised, the Commission took note of the report of its Bureau’s intersessional meetings (document E/CN.9/2016/2), which was briefly presented by the Chair.

José Bravo, Assistant Director of the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced a report of the Secretary-General on “strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda” (document E/CN.9/2016/3). Benoit Kalasa, Director of the Technical Division of UNFPA, introduced a report of the Secretary-General on “programmes and innovations to strengthen the demographic evidence base for the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document E/CN.9/2016/4).

The Commission will reconvene Tuesday, 12 April, at 10 a.m. to continue its general debate.
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