WORLD POPULATION DAY: 11 JULY 2002 - POVERTY, POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT
A number of activities will be held countrywide to commemorate World Population Day 2002. The main event will be on World Population Day (11 July), when the MEC for Health and Welfare in the Limpopo Province, Mr Sello Moloto, and the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Mr George Nsiah, will open the commemorations at the New Jane Furse Hospital in the Sekhukhune District, Limpopo.
The international theme for this year's commemoration of World Population Day is: Poverty, Population and Development. "The emphasis will be on population and development challenges facing the youth and the aged, with particular focus on issues such as poverty, sustainable environment and the effect of HIV/AIDS on communities. The fact that World Population Day coincides with the birth of the African Union and the holding of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa makes it even more significant and challenging," the Minister of Social Development, Dr Zola Skweyiya said.
According to the Department of Social Development, South Africa faces a completely new set of population and development challenges early in the 21st century. The structure and composition of our population is changing faster than ever, and in a manner not precedented as recent as ten years ago.
During the next decade, South Africa's population will stop growing. During this period, the young (under 15) population of the country is expected to remain at the same level, whilst the number of older persons (over 65) will increase by about 50%. The changing trend can be ascribed to rapidly reducing fertility rates, exacerbated by an increase in mortality amongst young adults due to HIV/AIDDS. More people will however live longer and become older, due to their improved quality of life.
In demographic terms, these changes in population trends constitute the most dramatic ever experienced by the country. National development planning during the past century was informed by the challenge of a rapidly growing population. This planning paradigm now has to be replaced by one in which poor and vulnerable sub-populations are prioritised.
The fact that HIV/AIDS kills young adults (especially women) means that more children and older persons are left vulnerable, and may face more poverty. We therefore have to increase our care and support services to children, whilst simultaneously creating a more supportive and enabling environment for older persons. This can only be achieved through programmes that aim to empower women and eradicate gender inequality, according to the Department of Social Development.
In its programme to push back the frontiers of poverty, the Department of Social Development doubled its 2001 budget for poverty relief to R100 million for the current financial year. The Department of Health and Welfare of the Limpopo Province, in which World Population Day will be commemorated, will receive R15 632 800 of this amount to strengthen its fight against poverty. These funds are to be used in various community projects, to build the capacity of communities as well as to improve administration and accountability systems.
FOLLOW-UP WORLD POPULATION DAY ACTIVITIES
The national and provincial Departments of Social Development joined forces to keep deliberations on population and development activities alive throughout July and August 2002. The following activities to commemorate World Population Day are planned:
Mpumalanga - 23 July: Rural community event.
North West Province - 25 July: Workshop with leaders, including provincial government planners, NGOs, FBO, CBOs. Focus on provincial HIV/Aids research results and feedback on the Barcelona HIV/Aids conference by Prof G Dowsett, LeFrobe University, Australia.
KwaZulu-Natal - 26 July: Event in a rural community.
Northern Cape - 31 July: A seminar will be held with provincial Departments, NGOs, CBOs and FBOs, where different development initiatives and projects will be shared, as well as possible areas of collaboration discussed.
Gauteng - Mid August: Stakeholder Workshop including national and provincial government policy makers and planners NGOs, FBO, CBOs, on Poverty, Population and Development programmes.
Eastern Cape Province: Community event, including provincial government policy makers and planners, NGOs, Faith Based Organisations (FBO), CBOs. The event will focus on the signing of the agreement for the 5 year UNFPA Country Support Programme for South Africa (date to be confirmed).
Western Cape: Release of the Provincial Population Projections Report (date to be confirmed).
During October the 2nd Report on the State of South Africa's Population, titled "The Paradoxes of HIV/AIDS", will be released.
Enquiries: Mbulelo Musi: Chief Director Communications, Department of Social Development. Cell : 082 904 3395
Issued by the Department of Social Development, 10 July 2002