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MAKASSAR, Indonesia: The interconnection between population dynamics and national resilience was highlighted at the recent seminar in Makassar. “The main focus should be on the quantity, quality and mobility of Indonesia’s population,” said Mr. Sonny Harmadi, National Chairman of the Indonesian Coalition for Population and Development (the Population Coalition) and currently Director of the Demographic Institute, Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia. Population experts emphasized demographic aspects that affect national resilience, including population growth, population quality (health, education and socioeconomic empowerment), migration and urbanization.


UNFPA Representative, Mr. Jose Ferraris, shared a similar message, saying that population dynamics have serious implications for economic and social development. “Population trends have a direct impact on water, food and energy security; environmental sustainability and climate change; our ambition to ensure universal access to health, education and other essential services; and sustainable urbanization and rural development,” he added.


Population growth in Indonesia is slowly increasing because of population momentum. Unless strong political commitment is secured and sound policies formulated to address population growth, national resilience may be jeopardized. According to the 2010 Population Census, population growth in Indonesia increased to 1.49 percent in the 2000-2010 period, from 1.45 percent in 1990-2000. Continued population growth will add pressure to the environment, the Population Coalition added.


Improving population quality, through promoting education, health, especially reproductive health (RH) and family planning (FP), and socio-economic empowerment, is an urgent priority. The mean years of schooling is 5.8 years[1]. For increased participation in secondary education, policy makers need to extend mandatory education from 9 years to 12 years and break various gender and economic barriers to higher education.


Provision of health, including RH-FP services and information will allow women to space and limit pregnancy and protect their own health.  Healthy and educated young people will engage in productive activities, make responsible decisions and raise healthy, educated children and resilient families. This provides a solid foundation for economic growth and development and, in turn, for national resilience.


The Population Coalition, grouping 2000 activists, academicians, government officials, religious and public leaders nationwide, urged the revitalization of the national FP programme, stressing that “FP is not just about contraceptives, it’s about better family wellbeing and welfare.”


Mr. Ferraris welcomed the call, saying that it is in line with the principles of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which are still valid in today’s development context. To harness population dynamics for Indonesia’s development, he said, policies need to be rights-based and gender-responsive, and designed using evidence based on data, including population data. For this, we need to ensure accurate and accessible population data and research.  


In addition, awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention among the 12-24 year old population is still limited, as is access to antiretroviral treatment (ART). “The Ministry of Health is enhancing awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention among young people by using mainstream and social media. The “I’m proud to know” campaign for students and youth groups should be widely spread and access to ART will be expanded,” said Mr. Ali Ghufron Mukti, Deputy Minister of Health.


Migration and urbanization have become trends that require sound multi-sectoral policies aimed at ensuring efficient energy use, adequate public services and infrastructure. The Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare, Mr. Agung Laksono, said the government is to integrate urbanization and migration into the master-plans for poverty eradication and for economic development. These master-plans serve as long-term guidelines for the government in the 2012 - 2025 period.


Tags: Reproductive Health, family planning, population