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.
(Source: Ministry of Health and Population)
A version of this article appears in print on September 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.