Nepal | November 19, 2019

Implementation of APMD on Population & Development: Govt report stresses building data collection, analysis capacity

Rajan Pokhrel

KATHMANDU: A government report has driven home the message that strong data collection and analysis capacity leads to evidence-based policies and planning that will ultimately help track the achievements of local development targets as well as global frameworks such as the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.

A government report, accessed by The Himalayan Times from the Ministry of Health and Population, on the implementation of the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development says the use of technology and innovation for integrated statistics and data infrastructure including greater use of big data, spatial data, and administrative data will be strengthened.

Nepal along with other the Asian-Pacific nations adopted the APMD on Population and Development in 2013 at the sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the United Nations Population Fund. The declaration is a 10-year regional framework, which commits to priority actions in population and development areas and intersects with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The mid-term report on APMD stresses on the need for putting in place concrete policies and programme measures to effectively address emerging population and development challenges, taking into account the changing population age structure, urbanization and internal migration, international migration, and climate change. Its covers 11 thematic priority action areas such as poverty eradication and employment, health, sexual and reproductive health services and rights, education, gender equality and women’s empowerment, adolescents and youth.

Under sexual and reproductive health theme, the report calls for promoting the delivery of a comprehensive and integrated package of SRH services at local level that includes maternity care, safe delivery and family planning services. It also emphasizes that it is important to reduce unintended pregnancy and resulting abortions by increasing access to quality family planning services.

Similarly, the government document agrees that a dedicated internal migration policy and strategy can enable a coherent and coordinated approach to manage internal migration at the national and local levels, calling for programmes that create opportunities in rural areas.

In order to address the issue of ageing, it underlines developing policies and mechanisms to address the needs of older people and enhancing the well-being of the elderly by strengthening long-term care through home-based and community-based initiatives.

While placing emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable youth groups and comprehensive sexuality education programmes for both in-school and out-of-school young people, the report sees the need for raising awareness and building capacity among youth clubs and networks.

Saying that Nepal’s endeavours towards gender equality and women’s empowerment reflect positive strides and that numerous legal frameworks and policies are in place, it calls for greater efforts to close the gap between policy and implementation.

The report represents the commitment of the government to take mid-term stock of the progress and challenges in relation to advancing the ICPD agenda and APMD. It was prepared mainly on the basis of a desk review and secondary analysis. The findings of the report and recommendations were guided by a meeting with the civil society focusing on gender equality and reproductive health and also another meeting with national stakeholders organised by the Ministry of Health and Population and the National Planning Commission, with representation from line ministries and others.


WAY FORWARD:

  • The APMD is a 10-year regional framework that commits the member states in the region to prioritise actions in population and development areas, which intersect with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The APMD review process provides in-depth analysis that will contribute to the regional and global review of the implementation of the ICPD mandate as well as guide the follow up and enrich the reporting on progress on the SDGs.
  • The APMD review process is an opportunity for Nepal to showcase its achievements and commitment to leaving no one behind – this principle is embedded in the Constitution of Nepal 2015 and in legislation and policy commitments related to the ICPD mandate. Under the new federal structure, the national policy frameworks will need to be adapted to local contexts, keeping the principles of protecting the rights of all to quality life and well-being.
  • Nepal will need to strengthen its statistical capacities to produce timely, reliable and disaggregated data for evidence based policies and plans that enable better targeting of resources and services to those who most need them and to promote accountability through tracking the progress and results in relation to the ICPD mandate and SDGs.
  • The SDGs and ICPD PoA can be more effectively reached through building capacities to integrate population dynamics in national, provincial and municipal policy, planning and budgetary processes. Plans to update the Nepal Population Policy of 2014 in line with the population and development provisions under the Constitution of Nepal 2015 as well as with the priority actions related to APMD, hold great promise of providing a solid foundation for advancing the national and sub-national agendas for sustainable development.
  • Concrete policies and programme measures need to be put in place to effectively address emerging population and development challenges, taking into account the changing population age structure, urbanisation and internal migration, international migration, and climate change.
  • Impressive progress in poverty reduction has been made in the last decade but it has not been uniform across the country. Nepal has a time bound window of opportunity to reap the benefits of a demographic dividend and accelerate economic growth and prosperity through building the human capital of young people with quality education, health care and decent work.
  • Nepal must give priority to the unfinished business of the MDGs. This includes addressing maternal mortality and the inequities in health outcomes across the country. Positive measures have been taken in promoting antenatal care, family planning services and skilled birth attendants, which need to be expanded with adequate financing to reach the most vulnerable groups. The commitment to integrate comprehensive sexuality education in schools and adolescent friendly health services in health facilities needs to be fully realised. Marginalised groups including persons with disabilities and the LGBTQI community deserve greater attention.
  • Nepal will need to continue to build its capacities in relation to disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response in line with the Sendai Framework as one of the 20 most disaster-prone countries in the world.
  • Attainment of the ICPD PoA and SDGs calls for strong partnerships. Nepal has produced good results through sector wide approaches in health and education in particular. The new federal structure will require intensive efforts to strengthen vertical and horizontal coordination and the leveraging of partnerships, across government bodies and with civil society organisations, the private sector and external development partners. The engagement of multiple partners that can leverage knowledge, expertise, reach and resources towards the shared goal of producing better development outcomes for all needs to be encouraged through an enabling environment.

(Source: Ministry of Health and Population)


A version of this article appears in print on September 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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