Vice President U Myint Swe delivered an opening address at the World Population Day 2019 event held in the Thingaha Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
The Vice President said today’s world population was over 7,700 million and by 2030 it was estimated to be about 8,500 million. Due to the rapid increase of population in poor countries, many challenges were being faced. Rapid increase in population was one of the obstacles to sustainable development goals.
Family planning would raise the rights of individuals and reduce poverty. It would be very effective for social development such as education, health and gender equality.
In the world today there were countries that won population benefits and at the same time there were countries that were depopulating facing problems of higher numbers of elderlies, declining and scarcity of work force and higher funding required for social protection works.
If population benefits were used effectively, they would support economic development. In addition to this, increase of migrant workers was a major factor towards demographic change in a country.
World population Day events were held annually in every country of the world in order that each country and the entire world became aware of the importance of resolving the matter of population. Myanmar has been observing this day since 1990 and this was the 30th time it was being observed.
When the world population reached 5,000 million on 11 July 1987, United Nations designated that day as World Population Day and events like this were being held starting from 1989. United Nations Population Fund also announced themes for each World Population Day and this year’s theme was “25 years of the ICPD: Accelerating the promise.”
This theme was also the theme for 25th International Conference on Population and Development to be held at Kenya, Nairobi in November 2019 also.
The main aim of this year’s theme was to review the work processes set down at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994 at Egypt, Cairo, the implementation of it throughout the 25 years period and to maintain and continue the implementation momentum. The main sectors were reproductive health, capacity raising of women and achieving gender equality.
According to worldwide information in the reproductive health sector women’s usage of modern family planning methods rose from 52 percent in 1994 to 58 per cent in 2019.
In countries where development was weak, women’s usage of modern family planning methods was only 15 per cent in 1994 and by 2019 it had risen to 37 per cent. This was a good progress.
Birth rate of the world was 2.9 per woman in 1994 and this declined to 2.5 in 2019. In developing countries the birth rate was 5.6 per woman in 1994 and it was significantly reduced to 3.9 in 2019.
Maternal mortality was also reduced. In 1994 there were 369 maternal mortalities in 100,000 live births and in 2019 there were only about 216 maternal mortalities.
Based on 2014 Census data Myanmar population was estimated to be more than 54 million in 2019 and would be more than 59 million in 2030. Since it was achieving population benefits at the moment, this should be effectively used and the force of the youths needs to be used effectively in the country’s development projects. Preparation on strengthening social protection system is required to cope with increasing numbers of elderlies in the future.
Ever since Myanmar acceded to ICPD it had been implementing the work guidelines. Maternal mortalities in 100,000 live births were reduced from 453 in 1990 to 282 according to 2014 Census. According to 2015-2016 Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey it was reduced further to 178. However this number was still high.
For reproductive health care opportunities to be within reach Myanmar’s first policy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights was being drawn up.
To uplift family planning health care and the lives of women in Myanmar, Myanmar made a commitment on November 2013 for Family Planning 2020. Usage of contraceptive medicines in married women rose from 16 per cent in 1991 to 51 per cent according to the 2015-2016 Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey. However, there is much still remaining to be done.
To raise the capacity of women, national level strategic plans were setup and at the moment the 2013-2022 project was being implemented. Myanmar also acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1997. It could be clearly seen that gender and women rights were included in the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (2018-2030).
Policies, regulations and laws required on implementing reproductive health, raising the capacity of women and gender equality sectors were to be drawn up and existing policies, regulations and laws were to be amended so that it was in accord with the prevailing situation. While inviting the participation of related local and foreign entities, Myanmar government ministerial departments were required to conduct works as a national duty, said the Vice President.
Next the Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population made a Power Point explanation about the theme “25 years of the ICPD: Accelerating the promise.”
Afterwards United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Mr Knut Ostby explained about holding the World Population Day event.
Later a video on family planning and an animation video clip on the theme “25 years of the ICPD: Accelerating the promise” was shown.
Finally, the event came to a close after Association of Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (AFXB Myanmar) recited a silver anniversary poem.
After the event the Vice President, Union Ministers and attendees took a commemorative group photo and observed the World Population Day exhibition.
The second part of the event was then held where women and youths expressed their views regarding changes in Myanmar before and after ICPD; after this there were discussions and a Q&A session.
The event was attended by the following dignitaries, senior officials and diplomats, among others:
Union Ministers Dr Pe Myint, Dr Aung Thu, U Thein Swe, Dr Myo Thein Gyi, Dr Win Myat Aye, Nai Thet Lwin and U Kyaw Tin, Union Civil Service Board Chairman Dr Win Thein, foreign diplomats, representatives of United Nations organizations, departmental heads, nurses and midwives, students, representatives of INGOs and NGOs, invited guests and officials.— MNA
(Translated by Zaw Min)