Defying the emerging challenges induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country should stay on route to reaping the 'demographic gift'
Bangladesh has a window of opportunity to reap a demographic dividend from the existing age structure of the population, which could bring about substantive socio-economic benefits for the country, experts have said.
Defying the emerging challenges induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country should stay on route to reaping the “demographic gift,” they added.
The comments were made at the inaugural session of the International Conference on Emerging Population Issues, organized jointly by the Department of Population Sciences of Dhaka University and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The two-day-long virtual conference kicked off on Tuesday.
Planning Minister MA Mannan, chief guest of the e-conference, highlighted the impact of the ongoing pandemic on crucial population indicators of Bangladesh. He emphasized the urgency of focusing on the opportunities the country is presented with by making multidimensional investments through Government-NGO collaboration to grasp the first, second and third demographic dividend.
The minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing population and development issues.
DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman inaugurated the conference. In the inaugural speech, the VC focused on the socio-economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic on different emerging population issues in Bangladesh.
“With prompt, supportive, and empathic collaboration between the government, development partners, citizens and health experts, Bangladesh will be able to achieve the Vision 2041, ICPD Program of Action and the Global Agenda 2030, including the Sustainable Developments Goals,” he said.
Special guest Dr Asa Torkelsson, UNFPA Representative in Bangladesh, called on all stakeholders to devise and implement innovative social interventions, especially on health and education for the youth to lower the dependency ratio.
Dr Torkelsson also said it is imperative to progress towards realizing zero maternal death, zero unmet need for family planning and zero incidence of gender-based violence during and in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prof Mohammad Mainul Islam, chairman of the department of population sciences at DU, chaired the inaugural session, attended by over 300 participants from around the world, including designated session chairs, paper presenters, researchers, faculties, students and representatives from different bodies.
On the first day of the e-conference, three technical sessions took place, and presenters from India, China, Australia and Bangladesh presented papers.
The technical sessions over the two days focus on pertinent topics relating to population issues such as human capital and the demographic dividend, migration, active ageing, universal health coverage including sexual and reproductive health, and climate change and displacement.