CGD UNFPA Working Group

October 20, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Many thanks to Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury for this announcement from the Center for Global Development (CGD).

CGD announces a new working group to examine the United Nations’ evolving role in population and development, with a specific focus on the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). CGD’s Rachel Nugent is co-chairing the working group with Professor David Bloom from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, head of the Africa Regional Office of Partners in Population and Development. Working group members are population and development experts from all regions of the world, and include policymakers, filmmakers, funders, academics and advocates. The Working Group will offer recommendations to the incoming executive director of UNFPA in January 2011.

This project is motivated by several upcoming events which create an opportunity for both reflection and planning about international population and development and reproductive health conditions. A change in leadership at UNFPA will occur in January 2011.

In addition, three development agendas are slated for renewal or retirement in 2015 and decisions about “what’s next” are needed: (i) the International Conference on Population and Development (1994-2015), which established the “Cairo Programme of Action” for UNFPA; (ii) the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015); and (iii) the Beijing Platform of Action (1995-2015) which was set at the Fourth World Conference on Women. Each of these agendas has greatly influenced the direction of international policy and giving. With their expiration, we have a compelling opportunity to consider the role of population in development discourse and action, and propose either refinements or revolution in the UN’s and UNFPA’s roles in population and reproductive health and rights in the years to come.

CGD has previously offered independent policy recommendations to major international organizations as they experience leadership changes. These include the World Bank (2006), Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2006), African Development Bank (2006) and UNAIDS (2009). Such transitions provide an opportunity for the international community to ask questions and hold a broad-based dialogue about institutional mandates, policy focus, resources, and governance of global agencies.

The working group will consider major population and development topics including the pressing unfinished agenda in family planning and maternal health-now largely centered on South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa-the needs of a growing number of countries to address changing age structures (including the challenges of aging and shrinking populations), internal and international migration trends and environmental linkages. This is a sweeping list of challenges and we have convened an equally comprehensive and diverse working group to meet the challenge. A brief background paper exploring UNFPA’s role in addressing these issues is here.

Membership & Composition
The working group is co-chaired by David Bloom, Jotham Musinguzi and CGD’s Rachel Nugent, and is part of CGD’s Demographics & Development initiative. Support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Members of the working group were invited to join in a personal capacity and on a voluntary basis and include population and development experts from all regions of the world, policymakers, filmmakers, funders, academics and advocates.

David Bloom (co-chair), Harvard University
Ellen Chesler, Hunter College
Robert Engelman, Worldwatch Institute
Alex Ezeh, APHRC
Linda Harrar, Linda Harrar Productions
Manny Jimenez, World Bank
Melinda Kimble, UN Foundation
Bert Koenders, Former Minister for Development Cooperation (Netherlands)
Peter Lamptey, FHI
Jotham Musinguzi (co-chair), Partners in Population and Development
Rachel Nugent (co-chair), Center for Global Development
Nandini Oomman, Center for Global Development
Peter Piot, Imperial College
Luis Rosero-Bixby, Central American Population Center, University of Costa Rica
Fred Sai, former Chairman of Main Committee of International Conference on Population & Development
Sara Seims, Hewlett Foundation
Gita Sen, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, Center for Public Policy
Gamal Serour, International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research
Jeremy Shiffman, American University
Steve Sinding, Guttmacher Institute
John Worley, International Planned Parenthood Federation

Regarding the distribution on October 16 of a paper by Steve Kurtz, “Feedback and Disequilibrium in Human Overpopulation,” Steve asked me to mention that he wrote the paper in 2000.

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