A Panel of United Nations was informed by the government authorities from Pakistan, about the significant progress and performance achieved in reducing infant, child, and maternal mortality. Pakistan is contiuing its efforts to improve the scenario and re-align the trends of population with the potential of economic growth. These efforts include better coordination between the provincial and federal authorities.
Pakistani delegation’s chief- Zakia Shahnawaz, while addressing the 47th session of Commission on Population and Development has stated recently that; “Today Pakistan can proudly claim that it has halved the maternal mortality rate, doubled the proportion of births by skilled attendants, tripled the contraceptive usage, and quadrupled the antenatal consultations since 1990/91”.
According to media reports, the week-long session at United Nations Headquarters assessed the actions taken over the past 20 years to improve people’s lives and address population issues amid changes in ageing, fertility, mortality, migration and urbanization. It will also take stock of the progress and challenges, since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994.
That conference established that increasing access to health and education, and protecting human rights, especially those of women and adolescents, would help secure a better social and economic future and lead to more sustainable population trends.
Mrs. Shahnawaz, who is the minister of population welfare in Punjab, stated that; “Pakistan firmly believes in the ICPD principles, objectives and ideals. With a population of 188 million, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, it’s population growth rate of 2%, results in annual net addition of 3.6 million people. Pakistan’s population is projected to reach 210 million by the year 2020, and 227 million by 2025.
The Population Minister further added that; “Pakistan has also ‘leapt forward’ in promoting gender equality and reproductive health through effective legislative measures”. She continued by explaining new regulations and measures like; Anti-Women Practices Act; Protection against Harassment of Women in the Workplace Act; Laws against domestic violence in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan; Fair Representation of Women Bill 2014 in Punjab; and Land allotment measures for women in Sindh and Punjab. The minister also informed that the national assembly is also debating a bill to increase the age of marriage for girls and to end child marriages.
Mrs. Shahnawaz said: “Pakistani women have called for establishing a stand-alone international goal on women empowerment and gender equality to holistically tackle all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence; promote access to justice; promote socioeconomic equality and economic justice for women and girls. Pakistan has also taken several legislative steps to integrate empowering women in its financial sector”.