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Demographic Resilience

UNFPA Demographic Resilience Programme for Europe and Central Asia

We live in a unique demographic moment. While the world population is still growing, albeit at a much lower pace, an increasing number of countries experience very low fertility, as well as ageing and, in several cases, shrinking populations. Understanding the challenges and opportunities that come with demographic shifts, and the political, economic, social, and peace and security consequences, is fundamentally important for all countries to be able to develop effective responses and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At all stages of the demographic transition, investing in human capital and drawing on demographic diversity will drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development, and is key to ensure economic, social and environmental justice.

Governments across our region recognize addressing demographic change as a top priority. Many in Eastern Europe are concerned about how low fertility, migration, population ageing and, in some cases, shrinking populations will affect economies and the sustainability of social security systems, as well as vital infrastructures and services in areas with low or decreasing population density. In Central Asia demographic resilience relates to relatively large youth populations, and harnessing the demographic dividend.

Ensuring that societies can thrive in a world of rapid demographic change means moving beyond narrow quick-fix approaches focused on population numbers towards comprehensive population and social policies aimed at ensuring prosperity and well-being for all. For more than 50 years, UNFPA has been advising governments around the world on how to address demographic change by analysing population dynamics, understanding their implications and developing policy responses that are based on evidence and human rights. 

UNFPA’s Demographic Resilience Programme builds on this experience by working to improve the capacity of countries in Europe and Central Asia to develop population and social policies and programmes that respond to demographic change, strengthen human capital and shape a prosperous future. Carried out in partnership with governmental, non-governmental and private-sector stakeholders, the Programme offers a suite of support services that can be tailored to country needs and specifications. It focuses on three priorities:

Demographic intelligence — Supporting countries in building a solid evidence base and analysing complex demographic processes and their impact on relevant policy areas through utilizing an array of data, tools and studies.

Convening stakeholders and knowledge exchange — Bringing together the expertise and resources of a wide range of actors from academia, governments, the private sector, the United Nations system, civil society and local communities, and using UNFPA’s convening power to create synergies to capitalize on the comparative advantages of various stakeholders and facilitate peer exchange and sharing of research, experiences and good practices.

Population policy design — Assisting with the design, implementation and impact assessment of comprehensive population and social policies to address demographic change and ensure sustainable development. 

The Programme is carried out in line with the principles of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action which put rights and dignity of individuals, rather than numerical population targets, at the center of population and development policies. It is embedded within UNFPA’s broader work in support of implementing the ICPD Programme of Action: From ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health to promoting gender equality and social inclusion of marginalized groups, from developing gender-responsive family policies to enabling young people to succeed in life — UNFPA programmes in these and related areas all serve to assist countries in the region in unleashing the potential of all people, building human capital and shaping a prosperous and demographically resilient future.

The Programme thus helps foster demographically resilient societies that understand and anticipate the population dynamics they are experiencing, and ensure they have the skills, tools, political will and public support to manage them. In this way, countries can mitigate potentially negative effects for individuals, societies, economies and the environment, and harness the opportunities that come with demographic change for people, prosperity and the planet.

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