Solving South Africa’s population development challenges

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini recently spoke at a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly to address the key population development issues faced by South Africa.

This Special Session is reviewing progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). This conference was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994, and identified four key goals in aiding population development.

While reaffirming South Africa’s commitment to these goals, Minister Dlamini said that while South Africa successfully transitioned into democracy,it still faces challenges in changing policies which previously marginalised people in the country.

These policies range from previously marginalising people based on race, class, sex, gender, religion, age, disability and sexual orientation.

What are some of these challenges facing population development in the country? What efforts are underway to ensure population development in the country?

Minister Bathabile Dlamini joined us on the line from New York.

Background to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD):

This conference was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. The conference identified four key goals on universal education; reducing infant and child mortality; reducing maternal mortality; access to reproductive and sexual health services, including family planning. These goals are being reviewed at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The African Union recently reviewed the ICPD’s Programme Action and came up with the Addis Ababa Declaration.

These are some of the population development programmes South Africa has initiated subsequent to this Declaration:

Improving access to safe abortion services and modern means of contraception as a means to improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls. A school health programme was started to provide comprehensive health services for young people and adolescents.

The Department of Health is improving programmes to eliminate preventable maternal mortality through the provision of comprehensive maternity care South Africa now provides Universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Maximising the benefits of South Africa’s demographic dividend through the National Development Plan, including improving the implementation of the national social protection floor. South Africa is developing better policies and programmes to protect women and children.This is keeping to the Addis Ababa’s Declaration’s promise of eliminating all forms of discrimination and gender based violence.

The Departmentof Justice is also setting up a hate crimes unit to deal specifically with discrimination and violence targeting people because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

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