Higher Population Council participates in the 55th session of the Commission on Population and Development CPD55 in New York

Wednesday, 27 April 2022
The Higher Population Council HPC participated in the 55th session of the Commission on Population and Development held at the United Nations in New York which met from 25-29 April 2022. The main theme of the session was: ‘Population and sustainable development, in particular sustainable and inclusive economic growth for all.’

Representing Jordan, Acting Secretary-General at HPC, Ms Rania Al-Abbadi, presented, as part of the main assembly and keynote address of the session, a paper on Jordan's position recorded via video technology on population and sustainable development: Sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The paper indicated that Jordan adopts the sustainable development goals and the program of action of the International Conference on Population and Development as a framework for its policies and programs, and submits its voluntary reports on the progress it has made towards achieving the purposes of these goals, as it recognizes the need to heed to the complementary interrelationship between population trends and sustainable development.

The paper prepared by the HPC in a participatory approach with the concerned institutions indicated that Jordan is a young society, comprised of half of the population under 22 years of age, and one third of children, which generates a driving force for a continued population growth in the coming decades and pressures on its limited resources, in response to that, entering the phase of population opportunity and reaping its returns. The updated National Population Strategy 2021-2030 was recently approved.

The paper added that achieving sustainable and comprehensive economic growth is faced by many obstacles, as Jordan continues to respond to these challenges with its limited resources. High on top of these obstacles are the expected demographic transition, the unbalanced geographical distribution of the population, the rise in unemployment and poverty rates, and the low level of women's participation in economic activities.

The paper went on to add that the high rate of population growth is one of the most important challenges, and that it has been inflated by waves of forced migration. Refugees are an added burden, as 30% of the population of Jordan are non-Jordanians, and the deficit in funding the Jordanian response plans to the requirements of Syrians seeking asylum exceeded 71%, due to the weak response of the international community, which created additional pressures on the treasury and limited the financing of capital spending on development projects.

The paper indicated that, given that it is not possible to achieve sustainable and comprehensive economic growth without preparing qualified and efficient man-power, the relevant strategies included initiatives to reform the education and training system to access the economy of information and entrepreneurship, noting that Jordan attaches great importance to strengthening social protection and eliminating poverty and access to services, as it has developed a social protection strategy that focuses on vulnerable segments of the poor, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Jordan also continues to amend and enforce legislation and strategies that promote equality and eliminate gender discrimination.

In this paper, Ms Abbadi pointed out that Jordan suffers from scarcity of water resources and lacks energy sources such as oil and gas; in face of the repercussions of the COVID pandemic, Jordan came through with a series of measures aimed at protecting the health of the population from this epidemic and maintaining the sources of income and livelihood that were affected by the loss of large numbers of workers to their jobs because of the closure and lockdown.

The paper added that Jordan is currently suffering from the aftermath of the pandemic and the consequent difficulties in face of limited national resources to respond to demographic, economic and social challenges, which created additional financial pressures on the treasury that exceeded Jordan's ability to confront them. Henceforth, this has impeded achieving sustainable economic growth rates, where it did not exceed 2.6% on average during the past ten years; Jordan’s economy in the past two years recorded negative growth rates as well. The government resorted to a series of measures for economic recovery, so it prepared an indicative executive program for the years (2021-2024), based on an economic reform program and according to priorities to put the economy back on the track of recovery. Recent global political instability resulted in additional obstacles in the import of basic foods and commodities and a new rise in shipping costs and inflation rates, which undermined the chances of achieving sustainable and real economic growth as was expected.

The paper explained that Jordan will strive to achieve the self-reliance approach, promote priority economic sectors, develop sustainable models for managing resources, direct support to the most vulnerable segments, implement green growth strategies, provide decent work for all, promote human rights and gender equality, enhance financing, partnerships, transparency mechanisms and accountability.

It also stressed the importance of rebuilding the global system towards a more comprehensive and sustainable economic recovery through effective partnerships and achieving security and peace.

On a similar level, HPC participated, via “Zoom” video communication technology, in a side event within the session on “Population and Inclusive Development in the Arab Region: Building Back Better for All which was organized by organized by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States/ Technical Secretariat of the Arab Council for Population and Development, with the participation of representatives from member states, members of the Arab Council for Population and Development, academics and experts under Resolution No. (7) issued by the Arab Council for Population and Development in its third regular session.

The event addressed the links between population, integration and sustainable development in the Arab region, and focused on reflecting on the lessons learned from the Corona virus pandemic and ways to rebuild better for all individuals to ensure comprehensive economic growth and sustainable development.

During Commission deliberations, the priorities of population groups including the elderly, immigrants, youth, women and people with disabilities were also discussed, along with discussing how best to prepare for inclusive recovery processes that put the population's well-being at the forefront of priorities, and put these groups at the heart of sustainable economic growth.

One of the main objectives of the event is to discuss the reality of integrating vulnerable population groups into economic growth development in the Arab region, highlighting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on vulnerable population groups, emphasising the promising practices in integrating different population groups into the development process, and researching policy recommendations on promoting a more inclusive and sustainable development process for all population segments.