Until July 2023, Healthy DEvelopments reports on a series of dialogues hosted by UNFPA, African Union and Germany: Government representatives, civil society, youths and researchers explore good practices and innovations that enable countries to harness the demographic dividend.
Within the next 30 years, the world population will grow to almost 10 billion people while countries’ age structures are transforming in very different ways. In the face of this demographic diversity, the African Union, UNFPA and Germany have launched #The4DSeries: Global conversations on fostering human potential for demographic dividends. Between October 2020 and July 2023, they are hosting quarterly theme-based dialogues that bring together technical and policy experts from governments with civil society partners, researchers and youth representatives for practical discussions on policy successes and challenges in taking account of their population dynamics.
So far, the dialogue events took place as 3-hour online conferences, starting with inspiring panel discussions followed by discussions in breakout groups and ending with concluding remarks. While they are not public to encourage frank discussions their highlights, practice examples and recommendations for action are shared as colourfully designed dialogue reports with the interested public following the events. On this page you can find a video of the kick-off event as well as short reports summarising each of the dialogues that took place to date.
A kick-off event highlights countries’ demographic diversity
In Africa, around 40% of the population is under the age of 15 and the share of working-age adults is rising. Europe’s demographics look different: Only 16% of the population is under 15, while 19% are 64 and older – a trend which is likely to continue. Although the world is more demographically diverse than ever before, one thing is true for countries across the globe: To harness demographic dividends, governments must plan well, take demographic developments into account and foster the human potential of their population.
Governments’ approaches to demographic change are as diverse as the challenges they face – this became clear at the virtual kick-off event of #The4DSeries on 5 October 2020. Almost 500 people followed the panel discussion live as government representatives and experts from Asia, Africa, the Arab region and Eastern Europe shared their experiences with demographic challenges and opportunities. The 90-minute event demonstrated that, despite the geographical distance, countries from different corners of the world all face challenges in adapting to demographic change.
Dialogue 1: Data for demographic dividends
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic an unprecedented number of people are actively engaging with demographic data and indicators related to, for example, virus spread and vaccination coverage. More than 130 participants from 51 countries discussed at the first virtual dialogue in November 2020 how this heightened interest presents an opportunity to enhance data literacy and promote a culture of data use, where easy-to-use demographic data informs decision-making on a daily basis.
While the pandemic has heightened challenges and added constraints for National Statistics Offices and the 2020 census round, it has focused global attention on the need for economic transformation and recovery. The question is: How can we obtain and package demographic data in a timely way that encourages uptake by policymakers who prioritize targeted investments? The dialogue offered leaders and experts an opportunity to discuss these and other questions and to learn from one another.
Dialogue 2: Food security and nutrition for demographic dividend(s)
Taking up the theme of the 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development, the second virtual dialogue in March 2021 focused on the linkages between demographic developments, food security and nutrition. While the world has achieved a notable decline in the burden of hunger over the last 50 years despite significant population growth, this achievement came with high costs to the environment, persistent forms of micronutrient deficiency and a rise in unhealthy diets. Food security and healthy life-long nutrition are foundations for all other dimensions of human development, underpin human capital development and are essential for harnessing demographic dividends. How can governments and civil society address these challenges?
More than 100 participants from 42 countries discussed topics ranging from food security for mother and infant nutrition as human capital investment and ensuring food safety for school children to the creation of decent work in agriculture and food security in times of climate change.
Dialogue 3: Education and skills development for demographic dividend(s)
In June 2021 the third dialogue event focused on lessons learned and current initiatives in policy planning for harnessing education’s contribution to attaining the demographic dividend. The below report summarises the views of a diverse group of stakeholders and features some of the many country examples shared during the event. In addition, this input paper informed the discussions.
Dialogue 4: Accelerating adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights for demographic dividend(s)
In October 2021, government representatives and experts from academia and civil society from across the globe came together in the fourth edition of the 4D series to share lessons learned and good practices for realizing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents. From data gaps to the social and economic impacts of under-investing in youth and policies and approaches for making adolescent-friendly SRH services accessible to everyone and preventing gender-based violence, participants shared their experience on a broad range of topics. The report presents a summary of key takeaways.
Dialogue 5: Urbanization and demographic dividend(s)
In March 2022, the fifth dialogue event focused on the interlinkages between urbanization and demographic dividends. Government representatives and experts from civil society and academia discussed approaches on providing universal access to health and family planning in cities and on targeting sustainable urban planning and urban-rural development to foster inclusive and green economies in cities. The below report summarises key takeaways and some of the good practices shared during the event.
Dialogue 6: Climate resilience for demographic dividend(s)
In September 2022 more than 120 participants, experts, and speakers attended the sixth edition of the 4D series which focused on key questions linking the challenges of climate change with the characteristics and opportunities of demographic trends. The report below provides an in-depth account of the discussions that took place during the event and offers a comprehensive overview of examples from around the world that were shared during the event.
The next 4D dialogue will take place in-person at the Women Deliver Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2023. The event will focus on gender equality – a topic previously weaved into other dialogue topics – and will take stock of all previous 4D dialogues.