Looking at “population dynamics” means going beyond mere numbers to examining trends and changes in population growth, demographic structures and societal changes, including migration, urbanization, population density and age structures (being proportions of young and older people in societies). Population dynamics affect various aspects of development, from economic, social and cultural aspects to politics, security and the environment. Population dynamics also influence the consumption and availability of natural resources.
As Indonesians become more prosperous and better educated, the country’s population dynamics are changing. Lower fertility and longer life expectancies mean that the elderly will grow in numbers and as a percentage of the population. Indonesia’s population is rapidly urbanizing, and migration is an increasingly important issue. These factors demand attention, and UNFPA is providing technical expertise and advice to help the Government of Indonesia design effective responses.
UNFPA’s support to the Government of Indonesia is focused on capacity development for evidence-based policy formulation addressing current and emerging issues related to population dynamics. UNFPA will support and/or facilitate the preparation of research-based studies in these areas with the aim that they are included in future national development plans and policies.
Key research studies include:
Population dynamics are crucially important for climate change. Incorporating population dynamics into research, policymaking and advocacy around climate change is critical for understanding the trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions and developing and implementing adaptation plans, and thus to global and national efforts to curtail this threat.
Indonesia, as a middle-income country with a population of more than 237 million people, significant levels of greenhouse gas emissions and a high vulnerability to climate change, is a critical country from both climate change and population perspectives. Widespread action on adaptation is critical for Indonesia.
The National Commission on Climate Change (DNPI) has asked UNFPA to analyze the policy implications of population dynamics as part of the national response to ongoing climate change. DNPI is keen to use cutting-edge applied research to direct the pattern and flow of urbanization and manage future population growth towards less vulnerable areas in the country, as well as to further strengthen the resilience of communities to climate change through use of adaptive strategies.
Supporting Evidence-Based Policy
UNFPA proactively supports the sustainability of evidence-based policymaking processes in Indonesia by strengthening the capacity of national reference population study centers (PSCs) to conduct research addressing emerging implications of population dynamics-related issues. Another key project is the ongoing Policy Dialogue Roundtable (PDRT) on Population and Development, chaired by the National Development Planning Board (BAPPENAS). The aim of the PDRT on Population and Development is to provide a formal forum to present and disseminate all knowledge products developed via collaboration between the Government of Indonesia and UNFPA. The PDRT on Population and Development will develop follow-up activities to ensure that the knowledge products are utilized in the most appropriate and effective manner.
Additionally, UNFPA will support the formulation of the Government of Indonesia’s Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJNM) 2015-2019 and related plans to ensure that population dynamics and its inter-linkages with the needs of young people, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and poverty reduction are incorporated. As part of this work, UNFPA is commissioning the development of analytical reports and policy guidance that will support BAPPENAS for the finalization of the RPJMN 2015-2019 document on Population Development, Family Planning, and Youth.
Male Attitudes and Perceptions in Family Planning/Reproductive Health (IDHS)
In the promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), including that of adolescents, as well as to address the high rate of maternal mortality and gender-based violence (GBV), there is a need to understand and influence the behaviours of both women and men. Worldwide, there is a growing recognition of the need to increase the focus on men’s attitudes and behaviours in particular to achieve these goals. UNFPA and the National Family Planning and Population Board (BKKBN) strongly support the agenda of broader male involvement to address key health and gender equality issues, and also wish to promote work in this area for future policy development.
The recently completed Indonesian Demographic Health Survey (IDHS) 2012 provides a wealth of data that can be analyzed to better understand men’s perceptions of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) issues, gender equality and GBV. It provides a valuable opportunity to inform programme and policy makers of men’s attitudes, and to support evidence-based discussions of how these attitudes might be changed in the future. Therefore, in 2014, UNFPA Indonesia is supporting the National Family Planning and Population Board (BKKBN) to develop an IDHS 20102-based report on “Male Knowledge and Attitudes Towards SRH and Gender Practices”.
Youth and the Demographic Dividend
The concept of a demographic bonus’, or ‘demographic dividend’, has already received a lot of attention in Indonesia. The terms refer to the benefits brought by a large and young population as it enters working age, providing a boost to a country’s economy. In Indonesia, the proportion of the population between the working ages of 15 to 64 years has been increasing over the last 40 years as fertility has declined, and is expected to peak sometime in 2030, after which it will decline again as the proportion of the population aged over 65 starts to increase significantly. Therefore, population development policies are needed in order to expand, improve and diversify the stock of human capital and to make sure the country rides the wave of the demographic bonus successfully. This will improve people’s welfare and quality of life, and will make the economy more productive and competitive. Boosting investments in the provision of education and training for today’s cohorts of children and youth is one way of making the most of the ‘window of opportunity’, and strengthening the human capital of future generations of working-age people in order to meet the increasing demographic load that will follow.