CSOs call upon political parties to fulfill commitments regarding sustainable population growth

RAWALPINDI  -  The Coalition of Civil Society Organiza­tions (CSOs) has called upon political parties to fulfill their commitments out­lined in their manifestoes regarding sus­tainable population growth once in pow­er. Unwavering political commitment is critical for creating a balance between population and available resources to ensure Pakistan’s socio-economic devel­opment. While most countries of the re­gion, with the exception of Afghanistan, have experienced sharp declines in fer­tility and a slowing of population growth rates, Pakistan lags behind with dou­ble the rates of the region. Behind each of the experiences of Bangladesh, Iran and Indonesia is the evidence of a strong commitment by the political leadership, based on the conviction that a sustain­able population growth rate is in conso­nance with human rights and voluntary family planning services. This was dis­cussed during the CSOs Coalition Meet­ing organized by the Population Coun­cil with the support from UNFPA here on Wednesday. In his welcome remarks, Dr Ali Mir, Senior Director Programs, Pop­ulation Council said, “Rapid population growth in Pakistan is tied to all aspects of the country’s development and has con­tributed directly to our economic and po­litical challenges. Strong political resolve is imperative to achieve balance between population and resources which has been reflected in manifestos of all major political parties of the country”. He high­lighted the role of CSOs in holding politi­cal parties accountable besides integrat­ing family planning in their respective workplans. Presenting the qualitative analysis of Manifestoes commitments of leading political parties regarding popu­lation management, Samia Ali Shah, Proj­ect Director, Population Council said “all political parties should convert their re­spective population management com­mitments into policies and ensure their implementation”. She also urged Civil So­ciety Organizations to play their role in monitoring the implementation of the commitment and making them account­able for their own commitments. “Politi­cal commitment can only be materialized if the head of the government includes population management as the top pri­ority during first address to the nation as and the taskforce on population is con­vened at the earliest and chaired by the Prime Minister”, she added. 

In his closing statement, Dr. Jam­il Ahmed, Program Specialist at UNFPA, urged the CSOs coalition to exert pres­sure on provincial governments to en­sure accountability for fulfilling both na­tional and international commitments within their respective provinces, partic­ularly regarding the implementation of their manifesto pledges. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of integrat­ing family planning initiative into grass­root work of CSOs. Reiterating their com­mitments in holding political parties for their commitments, CSOs Coalition em­phasized the need for political parties to emulate the examples set by neighboring Muslim countries, where political deter­mination played a pivotal role in achiev­ing sustainable population growth. The coalition also called for targeted initia­tives to address the unmet needs of mar­ginalized women, along with increased involvement of the private sector in family planning services, underlining the impor­tance of provincial governments ensuring the consistent supply of contraceptives.

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