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World Population Day, 11 July 2004
International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD at 10)

His Majesty’s Government formed a Central Committee under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, who held the portfolio for the Ministry of Population and Environment (MOPE) to celebrate the World Population Day. The Committee worked as the secretariat for the celebration of the event and coordinated/facilitated various events/activities to make it a success for a week-long scheduled activities nationwide.

The messages of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan and Executive Director, Ms. Thoraya A. Obaid, UNFPA along with the messages of the Prime Minister, Minister, Assistant Minister and Secretary of the Ministry of Population and Environment were published in the national dailies both in English and Nepali. Some of the dailies carried special feature articles on population and development issues.

The Ministry of Population and Environment organized a function at the Birendra International Convention Centre to mark the Main Event of the World Population Day, July 11, 2004. The Prime Minister, Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated the main event. Addressing the event, Prime Minister Mr. Deuba said that the low literacy and awareness have been the major problem of population growth in Nepal and re-affirmed the commitment of HMG in the area of population management.

On the same occasion, Minister for Population and Environment Mr. Bachaspati Devkota said that the development and progress made following initiation of various programmes of population management by the government and non-government bodies has added more encouragement for the Ministry to work in this sector. Likewise, Assistant Minister for Population and Environment Mr. Lam Bahadur Biswokarma said that the size, structure and distribution of population plays an important role in the just distribution of the fruits of development and accelerate the speed of development and proper management of population. Similarly, the Secretary of the MOPE Mohan Bahadur Karki said positive changes have been witnessed specially in education, health and women development and the population growth rate has slowed down.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Hernando Agudelo, Representative a.i., UNFPA highlighted His Majesty’s Government’s endorsement of all the major population policy recommendations emanating from major international conferences, including ICPD 1994. Since ICPD, Nepal has formulated and adjusted many national and sectoral strategies, policies and programmes following the POA of ICPD. Process has been initiated to integrate population concerns into all aspects of socio-economic plans and strategies with a view to establish effective interrelationships among population and development issues. All these efforts are directed towards poverty reduction strategies in the context of sustainable development. Several initiatives have been started at the central level and decentralized process has also been emphasized to implement population programmes at the local level. He also highlighted the major findings from the Global Survey on the status of implementation of ICPD POA.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated and observed a two-day exhibition on “Population and Development”. The UN sister organizations along with I/NGO and GOs actively participated in population and development issues particularly in population and reproductive health.

On the same occasion Dr. Bal Kumar KC and Dr. Bina Pradhan were presented Population Awards for their contributions on population and research respectively. Each prize carries an award of Rs. 25,000 and letter of appreciation by the Ministry.

The Ministry organized the prize distribution to the national winners of the International Poster Context of 2003. Cash and certificates were awarded to the winners of first, second and third of each category. Mr. Bachaspati Devkota, Minister for Population and Environment delivered the keynote address. Mr. Bhanu Niraula, Assistant Representative addressed the gathering on integrating ASRH issues in various sectoral policies and programmes of the government. Towards that end Mr. Niraula cited UNFPA ‘s support to the Ministry of Education and Sports to integrate ASRH issues in curricula at the schools (grades 6-12) for school going students and thru the Non-formal Education Center and other implementing partner NGOs for the out-of school population

The Prime Minister also launched the Population Report 2004 and Glossary of Population prepared by the Ministry. The Ministry has been publishing the Population Report annually and has been a major resource material as it provides updates on data, policies and programmes of the government on population issues. The Glossary of Population is expected to contribute to an improved understanding of population issues among common people, leaders and policy and programme makers

Electronic media both Radio and Television covered several events organized on the occasion. Radio Nepal aired the message of the Prime Minister on WPD before the morning prime time news broadcast on 11 July. Nepal Television covered the main event together with an interview with Dr. Hernando Agudelo, Representative, a.i. in its prime time news coverage of the evening. Focus, a current issue programme of Nepal Television will feature Dr. Hernando on the theme of the WPD. Likewise, Mr. Bhanu Niraula, Assistant Representative participated in a live interaction programme on Sagarmatha Radio on the theme of WPD. Mr. Niraula was also one of the panelists at an interaction programme on ICPD at 10 organized by the Population Association of Nepal. Dr. Peden Pradhan, Assistant Representative participated as a key note speaker at a forum organized by the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) on condom promotion for dual protection. NTV also carried out an interaction programme on Nepal’s gains and pitfalls towards ICPD goals.

Other highlights of WPD main event included Live Folk song on ICPD key issues, which was live broadcast by Nepal Television.

With the financial support of UNFPA, the Students of Central Department of Population Studies published a Students’ Population magazine. Family Planning Association of Nepal also organized a Health Camp for elderly persons and rally/debate and easy competitions at 20 districts. The Population Association of Nepal published a Population Journal. The Society of Environment Journalist organized training on population management to journalists in Saptari and Kapilvastu districts. The Centre for Population and Development of Purbanchal University organized a two-day seminar on Approaches to Population and Development under UNFPA supported project NEP/03/P100. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare produced of seven minutes Telespot on Gender Perspective under UNFPA supported project NEP/02/P05.

Various activities like rally, talk programme on ICPD issues, wall painting, banner display, speech contest, IEC materials display, street drama, workshop and seminar on population issues were organized by five HMG/UNFPA Regional and six District Support Offices under the UNFPA supported three projects NEP/02/P02, NEP/02/P03 and NEP/03/P04.

On 12 July, Secretary, Ministry of Population and Environment gave away certificates of appreciation to institutions participating on the Population and Development Exhibition to mark the WPD.

News items, feature articles and newspaper supplements were published at the initiative of the Ministry of Population and Environment. (Press coverage will be sent to HQ vide pouch).

To a large extent, His Majesty’s Government has internalized the celebration of WPD and budget is allocated for the purpose in both the central ministries and also in some of the district committees.

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