Tuvalu launches its first national population policy in Funafuti, 18 October, 2011

8 November 2014

World wide

 

Funafuti, Tuvalu, 18 October, 2011 - The Government of Tuvalu in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted the launch of the Tuvalu National Population Policy. The policy is the first for Tuvalu which has an estimated population of 10,800 people. The launch took place on Funafuti the capital of island on the 8th of October, 2011 and was held back to back with theNational Summit on the Mid Term Review of the country's National Strategy for Sustainable Development - TeKakeega II 2005 - 2015 (TKII MTR).

The formulation of the Tuvalu National Population Policy commenced in 2009 with the establishment of the National Population Policy Taskforce which consists of representatives from key Government and non-government agencies and led by the Planning and Budget Department under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The Taskforce spearheaded the development of the policy with stakeholder consultations and workshops together with assistance from the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Centre, Suva, Fiji.

The Minister for Finance and Economic Development, HonourableLotoalaMetia, in his opening speech, stated that the principle role of the Policy is to provide a coherent and transparent picture of the significance of population issues in the overall development process, and the measures that Government proposes to address them. HonourableMetia stressed that the Policy is not a Government effort to control the population but takes a multi-sector approach towards addressing population issues. Having an official population policy makes it more likely that the programmes and plans intended to influence population trends will be consistent and coherent because all programmes are formulated within a unified framework and placed together within the same document.The Policy has a five year timeframe from 2010 to 2015 to coincide with TeKakeega II and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) timeframes.

Present at the launch were the Governor General, Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, island Head Chiefs, Presidents of Island Councils, representatives from Civil Society, Private Sector, development partners, government ministries and departments, as well as representatives from island communities, women and youth organizations. Also present at the launch was the Director and Representative from the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office, Mr. Dirk Jena, who delivered a speech on behalf of UNFPA.

In his speech, Mr. Jena expressed his gratitude for the thorough workcarried out in the development of the Policy and stated,"A Population Policy is an encompassing document that helps in understanding what is intimate and sensitive to mankind, and intrinsically linked to human reproduction".Mr. Jena believes that having a population policy will do justice to thecomplexitiesof societies' values, norms, and customs and how they understand the human life cycle and goes beyond creating favourable conditions for human consumption through economic growth.He further emphasized the importance of a population policy as it will enable leaders to focus on the "soft sectors" in society, such as social services and the essential attention to the most vulnerable.

During the launching, some members of the National Taskforce, including the Director of Planning and Budget and also Chairman of the Taskforce - Mr. LetasiIulai, Director of Health - Doctor Stephen Homasi, Director of Education - MsKatalinaTaloka, representative from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development - Mr. MalofouAuina, Acting Government Statistician - Ms Grace Alapati, and Senior Economic Adviser - MsSimaluaEnele,were given the opportunity to present the eleven goals of the Policy together with their specific implementation strategies.

The eleven goals of the Population Policy are:
1. Improve the quality of life
2. Retain population in outer islands and create a more balanced age structure
3. Improve the urban environment
4. Couples and individuals achieve their reproductive choices and fertility reduced, including teenage fertility
5. Reduce infant and child mortality and STIs, including HIV
6. Reduce gender inequality and violence against women
7. Achieve environmental sustainability
8. Protect vulnerable groups
9. Improve the coordination and supply of good quality and timely population data
10. Integrate population into development planning
11. Improve educational standards to make youth more employable and increase opportunities

The University of the South Pacific also had the opportunity during this event to launch the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Publication on Population and Development in the Pacific Islands. Mr. Paulson Panapa, Secretary for Education, Youth and Sports, who is also the Chairman of the USP Board in Tuvalu, presented the ICPD publication during the launch.

The Planning and Budget Department will continue to lead the implementation of the Population Policy with the help of the National Taskforce.