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Statement by the Chairman of the Third BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts in Population Matters

Statement of the chair

Statement by the Chairman of the
Third BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts in Population Matters
(Moscow, December 9-10, 2015)

Third BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts in Population Matters was held in Moscow on December 9-10, 2015. Officials and experts from BRICS countries and representatives of international organizations (UNFPA, ILO, World Bank Group, IPPF) attended the seminar.

The purpose of this Seminar was to exchange information, share best practices and lessons learned from national experiences, successes and challenges of integration of population issues into the economic decision-making (including but not limited to macroeconomic, financial and social policies).

The seminar was also aimed at coordination and integration of actions of the authorities and civil society organizations in order to create a well-structured national policy on population and development.
The following topics were addressed as a part of this event:

  • Ways to Revert Population Challenges into Population Opportunities to Facilitate Economic Growth and Human Development;
  • Incentives for Women’s Empowerment;
  • Population Monitoring and Forecasting;
  • Children and Youth Policies;
  • Disabled and Elderly Policies.

The participants reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Agenda for Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Cooperation on Population Matters for 2015-2020. The Agenda was adopted in February 2015 under Brazilian Chairmanship and it reflects BRICS principles and approaches in the population sphere.

Participants expressed their willingness to take further steps that would help to improve the demographic situation in BRICS member states and accelerate inclusive growth and social stability.

Hereinafter is the Chairman’s summary of the discussion and suggestions of the seminar participants:

1. Reverting the population challenges into population opportunities is a difficult but doable task. All BRICS countries can benefit from the demographic dividend. It requires an integrated approach based on complementarities of employment and social protection policies for all age groups throughout the whole life cycle. Solidarity of generations is important, and cooperation between countries can play a positive role. To promote full and productive employment of the population is essential for realizing the economic opportunities and addressing challenges that can come with demographic transitions. The promotion of employment critically depends on adequate investment in human capital – notably education and health – as well as investment in physical capital, infrastructure and technology. Human capital development and labor mobility contribute to sustainable economic growth. Comprehensive social security systems have to be put in place. This will provide a decent income for all age groups.

2. Policies for closing the gender gap should include measures to eliminate unequal treatment of men and women in the labor market – establishing clear legislative frameworks and ensuring effective monitoring and enforcement of all statutory provisions; measures to promote an enabling environment for gender equality in the labor market – including maternal health measures, enhancing gender equality in education, supporting the reconciliation of work and family life and supporting family-friendly workplaces; measures to make work pay, improve job quality and reduce informality; and measures to promote female entrepreneurship.

3. Major instruments applied for the purposes of population monitoring and forecasting are population census, regular sample surveys, special subject surveys, and population projections. In case equal nationwide coverage cannot be secured direct observations have to be mixed with indirect methods and administrative data collected through registration systems. To close data gaps, on the one hand, methodologies to collect data outside census can be developed, and, on the other, inefficiencies in the statistical value chain have to be reduced. This has to be complemented by quality research. Possible areas of BRICS countries cooperation could be: measurement of progress toward SDGs; sub-national population estimates and projections, the exchange of good practices within the group and less advanced economies, as well as capacity building.

4. During the next fifteen years – the era of the Sustainable Development Goals – we will see the largest ever youth population meaning that efficient and effective policies for young people will be more important than ever. A multi-pronged approach to address the youth employment challenges can be recommended covering several policy areas: 1) employment-centered macroeconomic and sectoral policies; 2) skills development and employability of young people; 3) targeted Active Labour Market Programmes; 4) support to youth entrepreneurship; and 5) rights at work for young people. Early intervention and focus on prevention and protection , enhance efficiency and effectiveness of child and youth policies will result in a greater assistance to youth in transitioning to adulthood, developing their full potential and talent and contributing to sustainable development of their societies. Child and youth participation in decision making and integration of child and youth policies with social and economic policies could also contribute to increase of their effectiveness.

5. Population ageing policies and strategies addressing persons with disabilities are aimed at the inclusion of older persons and persons with disabilities into the society through ensuring better access to a healthy, safe and active life for ageing population and persons with disabilities, preventing old age poverty and poverty of the disabled. Older workers and persons with disabilities employment opportunities should be supported by life long learning and elimination of age and disability discrimination and negative stereotypes of older /disabled people capacities, especially in hiring and firing of workers. Sustainable pension systems and integrating older people and people with disabilities in all spheres of social life, allow them to make a greater contribution to the economic social and cultural development of our societies in line with their experience and potentials. 
Having discussed these issues during the seminar, participants of the event have made a conclusion that the integration of population related matters into economic and social policies is important and relevant to all BRICS member states. It is suggested to prepare a draft Recommendation to Leaders of BRICS member states on integration of population issues into the macroeconomic, financial, labor and social policies.