HPC participates in the 2nd session of ACPD

the Higher Population Council (HPC) participated on Monday in the virtual second session of the Arab Council for Population and Development (ACPD) via “Microsoft Teams”. HPC was represented at the meeting by its secretary general, Dr. Abla Amawi, who is also the representative of the Minister of Planning and International Development/Chair of HPC board of trustees. The meeting organized by the general secretariat of ACPD and attended by ACPD members who represent national population and development councils and commissions in the Arab region and the assistant secretary general and head of social affairs sector at the Arab League, Ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh.

Dr. Abla Amawi overviewed at the meeting the key achievements of ACPD during the first ordinary session chaired by Jordan. Established following an initiative by Jordan, the ACPD was officially launched at a ceremony held in Jordan under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal. During its first ordinary session, ACPD developed the future vision to support national population strategies and promote joint work among Arab countries in the field of population and development, carried out studies on challenges in the Arab region and alignment with international agendas and priorities, and developed the Arab Population Strategy, which aims to provide a reference framework for population and development in the Arab states, diagnose the current demographic situation in the Arab region, identify gaps and challenges in population data, and enhance the capacities of national population councils and committees. In addition, during the first session, a delegation from HPC Jordan conducted an assessment of the capacities of the National Population Council and formulated a strategic plan for future trends, and developed a strategic planning manual for Arab population councils.

Amawi noted that Jordan headed the Arab delegation at the Nairobi summit “ICPD +25 - Accelerating the Promise” in late 2019, and organized meetings prior to the summit to coordinate positions of Arab states with respect to the Nairobi Summit commitments.

Amawi pointed out that in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the activities carried out by ACPD included mainly a report issued on the role of national population councils and commissions in the Arab states during crises, a documentary produced on Covid-19 impact on the Arab region, and youth competitions organized in different Arab states on population-related issues.

To look into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the population in Arab countries, APCD held an emergency meeting virtually, and emphasized in an issued statement a number of topics, mainly the need to document the current situation through up-to-date studies to inform the formulation of future population plans and studies that correspond to crises and emergency population conditions. The statement also stressed the importance of cooperation with various international organizations to address the consequences of the pandemic, and conduct studies to identify the requirements of the post-pandemic phase from a population perspective to provide comprehensive social protection for all population groups, especially the affected and most vulnerable groups. The statement emphasized that population issues should not be overlooked in times of crisis, especially issues pertaining to reproductive and sexual health and gender-based violence.

Amawi noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed challenges for Arab states. Studies show that approximately 1.7 million jobs in the Arab region are expected to be lost in 2020, increasing unemployment rate by 1.2 percent points. Remittances to low and middle income countries are also expected to decrease by 19.7% to reach USD 445 billion due to the pandemic and the lockdown measures, resulting in losses of basic household financial resources, higher poverty rates, deterioration of food security, and other challenges.

At the meeting, Amawi handed over the chairmanship of the second session of ACPD to the National Board for Family and Population- Ministry of Public Health in the Republic of Tunisia, and stressed the need for continuous cooperation to achieve the desired goals and realize progress and prosperity in the Arab region.