National Population Unit: briefing

Social Development

14 September 1999
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WELFARE & POPULATION DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 September 1999
NATIONAL POPULATION UNIT: BRIEFING

Documents handed out:
National Population Unit: briefing

 


MINUTES
The Director General, Ms L Abrahams, introduced Mr Jacques van Zuydam (Chief Director: National Population Unit) who gave a briefing on the National Population Unit (see Appendix 1).

The is no record of the questions that were asked.

Appendix 1:
National Population Unit: briefing
15 September 1999

Introduction
This report firstly outlines the activities of the National Population Unit (NPU) since the adoption of the "Population Policy for South Africa" by the parliament in April 1998. Secondly, it reflects on the current restrategisation activities of the NPU, which will frame its strategic planning for the coming years. Key activities for the rest of the year are also outlined. A further briefing session to the Portfolio Committee is planned for November 1999, at which the strategic plan of the NPU for the next five years, and next year's business plan, will be presented.

Activities 1998 - 9
Introduction
The new Population Policy for South Africa was adopted in Parliament on 28 April 1998, following active involvement by the Portfolio Committee during 1997 - 8. Immediately thereafter the NPU started with initial strategic preparations to operationalise the policy. These preparations included a series of five internal workshops during the period May to July1998. The Provincial Population Units (PPUs) were also involved in this process. The aim was to conceptualise the policy implementation process and to identify the base issue and focal issues to guide the process of unpacking the policy in a systematic way. It was decided that an "issue-driven" approach will be followed in this process. The base issue was identified as poverty. The focal issues included HIV/AIDS and migration. It culminated in a submission to the Departmental Committee for Developmental Social Services (DCDSS) with specific recommendations on details of the policy implementation process, as envisaged at that stage.

Strategic preparations for policy implementation were interrupted by the middle of 1998, when the NPU was instructed to coordinate the production of the ICPD+5 Country Report. Therefore, from July up to the end of 1998, all efforts and resources in the NPU were devoted to the compilation and finalisation of the Country Report, which was completed in February 1999. Obviously, this caused a complete deviation from the original planning of the NPU.

The NPU Strategic Planning session held on 23 - 24 February 1999 set the stage for continuing with the policy implementation process. In March this year, four priority projects were identified for the current operational year, namely (1) Technical support to the Working for Water Programme, (2) Technical support to the Flagship Programme, (3) Integration of Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights into Population and Development, and (4) the management of the organisation of the Third African Population Conference (December 1999). The thinking was that these projects would serve to inform the policy implementation process. The priority projects have been underpinned by a number of support system processes, including Information, Support to the Provincial Population Units (PPUs), Monitoring and Evaluation, Advocacy and Interdepartmental Liaison, and International Population Affairs. All these functions and activities were to be performed within the framework (context) of the policy implementation process.

Advocacy, IEC and communication activities
The following activities were undertaken to advocate and strengthen inter-sectoral consultation and collaboration for the implementation of the population policy and programmes:

Launch of the population policy. PPUs took this process further with provincial activities. It raised interest in population and development issues and the new policy focus. Media coverage was good throughout. An exhibition of posters made by youth on population and development (during the previous year) was held, and linked to population policy strategies. This exhibition provoked discussion on population issues. Provincial Population Units also made use thereof at their events.

ICPD+5 Country Report - interdepartmental liaison with Departments of Education, Health, Home Affairs, Labour, Agriculture, Land Affairs, Water Affairs and Forestry, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and the Youth and Gender Commissions. The outcome was awareness of population and development and of the National Population Unit, and understanding of the new international and national focus on population and development.

Television series of six episodes of 10 minutes each for youth. Interdepartmental collaboration to develop themes, content and scripts took place. It was broadcast on SABC 1 during June and July 1998.

Zaaiplaas, Mpumalanga: An Information, Education, Communication (IEC) event with a focus on empowerment of women. The target group was traditional leaders, community leaders and women. The Minister of Welfare and Population Development was the keynote speaker. The MEC of Health and Welfare (Mpumalanga) also delivered a speech. The Minister and MEC were members of a panel together with Zaaiplaas community leaders. More than 600 community members attended. The event pathed the way for research to be conducted by the Mpumalanga PPU and the NPU for the Flagship project.

Interdepartmental collaboration on vital registration advocacy and IEC in Northern Province. The NPU supported the PPU and stakeholders to develop a two year advocacy and IEC campaign. The MEC launched the campaign in September 1998 in the Tzaneen district.

Developed and placed a supplement in the Citizen newspaper on World Population Day 1998. The NPU also liaised with the media on World Population Day and the State of the World Population Report of the UNFPA.

A journalist, sponsored by the UNFPA, attended a workshop in Prague on the State of the World Population Report 1998. He reported back to colleagues at a seminar arranged by the National Population Unit and the Gauteng PPU, in collaboration with the UNFPA. The new SA Census was also discussed with the media in relation to population and development.

Involvement in the management committee in the Department of Welfare's HIV/AIDS project for women and children.

Collaborated with the Departments of Education and Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the Gauteng PPU and NGOs on EASY - an environmental school project. Pilot projects are being implemented in Gauteng schools.

Facilitated workshops and supported three PPUs on advocacy strategies and materials development.

Supported the UNFPA and SABC to compile a programme for a week long training session for ten South African journalists on "After ICPD+5". Five of these journalists were sponsored to attend ICPD+5 in The Hague and report to the South African public.

Media conference on World Population Day 1999 on "Preparing for The Day of 6 Billion".

The NPU also developed and disseminated promotional and educational material to provide the understanding of population and development issues, and the national population and related policies. This largely entailed printing and distributing the policy and the white paper.

Human resource development activities
Not enough skills, expertise and experience existed within the National and Provincial Population Units and other departments to implement the population policy. At the time our country had a limited university based programme in population field. This contributed immensely to the lack of skills across sectors in this field.

The immediate challenge that faced the NPU was to provide training in specialised skills to staff, in order to support their facilitative role in the implementation of the population policy. Likewise the PPUs, which were still in a re-establishment stage, required considerable training in the same areas as the NPU. Because the implementation of population policy is the responsibility of all government departments in all spheres and sectors, capacity building for implementing agencies is critical. More so in developing the capacity and expertise to analyse the linkages between population variables and their policies and programmes and in interpreting the population policy for developing their own population programme interventions within their overall implementation strategies.

The following outcomes were accomplished:
Facilitation of a needs assessment mission through the Regional Training Programme of the UNFPA. The effectiveness of the mission was greatly limited by two major factors. The duration of the exercise was too short for a comprehensive job to be accomplished. Secondly, the limited staff size at the NPU and the exigencies of daily office routine constrained the time that the Unit's personnel could give to the mission. Thus, the envisaged process of the analysing tasks, and sub-tasks, as well as a knowledge and skills gap assessment of the technical staff of the NPU and PPUs could not be conducted. Through the background documents and the Population Policy for South Africa, the mission has identified certain tasks (training and activity areas) which the NPU and PPU's needed to facilitate, co-ordinate and urgently implement.

Seminar with local academics. A meeting with universities was held to establish formal relations / partnerships for the improvement of population and development studies in our local institutions, and to agree on collaboration in curriculum and course development for capacity building and training on the new paradigm, and on population and development in general.

A population policy and the new paradigm course. This programme was run for the following PPUs and their key partner departments: Northern Province, Mpumalanga and North-West. The programme was highly successful in the following respects:
Provided a detailed understanding of the Population Policy to participants.
Reviewed population and sustainable development concepts and theory.
Identified implications of the new paradigm for the implementation process of the population policy .
Mechanisms for inter-sectoral collaboration were discussed.

Other training activities. Participation in international capacity building opportunities has commenced. Two staff members attended courses in Population and Sustainable Development, and one staff member participates in an MA course in The Hague. A staff member is attending an operations research course in Michigan.

Population Resource Centre
The Population Resource Centre (PRC) had two main functional aims. The first was the establishment of a computerised population information database and service. The second was the development of an efficient electronic network to effectively procure, request and disseminate relevant population information for and in the NPU. Since July 1998 the main activities of the PRC included the following:

Finding relevant information on internal databases and the Internet in response to requests. Requests were dealt with regularly of which the following were examples: Searches for population policy implementation information, implementation of ICPD in South Africa, funding in Africa, family and family preferences.

Computerisation and registration of population and development sources, as well as research institutions in the population, development and information science fields. The PRC accessed, indexed (keywords), abstracted and updated books on Inmagic. The PRC registered and updated population and environment related sources on Inmagic.

Maintained and reviewed PRC databases. Adapted report formats in a database to show Dewey numbers.

Provided information on the utilisation of the PRC for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Ensured stocktaking to oversee the availability of sources in the PRC in order to control the flow of sources.

Editing and disseminating relevant resource material through e-mail to NPU and PPU officials, and interested outsiders. For these purposes, the PRC subscribes to several list servers.

During August 1999 an Intranet for the PRC was set up in the Pretmed building. This was done as part of the pro-active service the PRC renders. This involves the downloading of relevant documents from the Internet and publishing it on the Intranet for those officials who do not have access to the Internet or who do not have the time to do searches themselves.

Population and Development Research
The Directorate: Population and Development Research was tasked with the activities of managing and overseeing population and development related research in order to promote the South African population policy. As a kick-off to this task, two main research activities formed part of the programme of action for the Directorate.

Flagship Programme research
The designing, planning and implementation of the Flagship Programme is one of the ways in which the proposed policy within the White Paper for Welfare (approved by Parliament recently) is being translated into action. The Department of Welfare, through the Flagship Programme, allocated funds to all nine Provinces to start projects assisting unemployed women with children under the age of five years to enable them to earn sustainable livelihoods. The NPU supports the programme through research. A joint Steering Committee for the Flagship Projects was established, comprising members from the NPU (Directorate: Population and Development Research) and the Welfare Directorates for Social Interaction, Community Development and Research.

Flagship research in the Northern Province was designed by the NPU. Questionnaire design, writing of the research proposals, sampling, pilot study, recruitment of the enumerators, training of the enumerators, data collection and supervision, and data entry were entirely done by the NPU. The report writing and analysis was commissioned out. Presently the NPU is evaluating the draft report from the tenderer. It is expected that the final report will be published before the end of the year.

The Mpumalanga PPU requested the assistance of the NPU in conducting Flagship research as a first phase of the project to evaluate the impact of the Flagship Programme in Zaaiplaas. The NPU played an important role in designing and implementing the research in Zaaiplaas. The PPU staff were trained by the NPU in research methodology, training of supervisors on editing of the questionnaire, sampling, training of enumerators, and field checks procedures and editing of the completed questionnaires. At the present stage the field work has been completed and the PPU intends to commission out the data capturing, analysis and interpretation of the results. It is expected that the NPU will assist the PPU in the evaluation of the tenders.

The joint Steering Committee was responsible for developing the criteria for the selection of priority provinces in which the Flagship research was conducted. Three other Provinces, i.e. Northern Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape were selected for further Flagship research. Research in this regard has been commissioned to the University of the Free State. This research is complete and the final results are expected before the end of September 1999.

Situation analysis - CASE
As indicated above, the NPU focuses on operationalising and implementing the Population Policy through other government departments. For this purpose, the NPU has sought to develop strategies for effective advocacy on policy implementation, for mobilising interdepartmental collaboration and for compiling a comprehensive strategy for population policy implementation. The Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) was commissioned to undertake research to this effect.

Specific information was needed from identified government departments to enable the NPU to perform its task to promote intergovernmental and interdepartmental collaboration in population policy implementation. This information would be useful to integrate population variables into existing programmes and projects of departments after effective resource allocation has been done. Establishing which policies, programmes and projects exist in different departments, and determining how these relate to the population policy and its strategies, would assist the NPU to focus its own resources more efficiently.

The research with relevant government departments has been completed. Participating departments were: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Home Affairs, Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, Land affairs, Housing, Health, Welfare, Communication, Sports and Recreation, Mineral and Energy, Statistics South Africa, Department of Agriculture, Public Service Commission, Constitutional Development, Correctional Services, Water and Forestry, Finance, Justice, Trade and Industry, Labour, and the Youth Commission.

African Population Conference
South Africa will host the Third African Population Conference of the Union for African Population Studies (UAPS) in December 1999. The UAPS is a pan-African, non-profit organisation whose main objective is to promote the scientific study of Population and Development in Africa. UAPS requested South Africa to host the conference. The National Population Unit (NPU), as the nodal point for the government's population policy, was tasked with the preparations for the conference.

The conference is scheduled for 6 - 10 December 1999. The theme is "African Population in the 21st Century". The Conference programme will include 52 academic sessions. There are six sessions (including a plenary session) on South Africa. The conference will serve as a forum for discussion and debate on the challenges facing the population of Africa as we enter the 21st century.

One to one-and-a-half thousand researchers, scientists, policy makers and representatives of governments, non-governmental and donor organisations will participate in the conference. The conference is expected to benefit South Africa in a number of ways, of which the following are most important:
exposure for the SADC region to a major international population conference;
enhancement of the status of the South African government as a regional leader in the population and development field;
provision of a scientific / technical opportunity for demographers and development scientists to meet, exchange ideas and evaluate best practice models;
demonstration of South Africa's commitment to regional co-operation and development; and
stimulating the interest in the scientific study of population and development among South African academics and population and development practitioners.

Role players and responsibilities
The key role-players are the National Population Unit (NPU) and the Union for African Population Studies (UAPS). The International Organising Committee (IOC) comprises of the NPU, UAPS, international donor organisations, the Organisation of African Unity and United Nations agencies. The IOC oversees the international arrangements for the conference, fundraising and the scientific programme. It operates from the UAPS headquarters in Dakar.

A National Organising Committee (NOC) was constituted in April 1998. The NOC is composed of South African academics in Population and Development, national Government Departments, non-governmental organisations and the NPU. The Chief Director of the NPU chairs the NOC, and the NPU provides the Secretariat of the NOC. A Steering Committee has been created to act in between the meetings of the NOC. The NOC handles all logistical preparations, ensuring that decisions taken by the IOC / NOC are implemented during the planning phases of the conference, and will be responsible for the post-conference evaluation.

The Department of Welfare appointed a professional conference organiser (on the basis of government tender procedure). They are responsible for co-ordinating registration, and for block bookings of hotels, and they will manage the conference during its progress.

Summary
The above overview suggests that the NPU was very active since the adoption of the new population policy, especially in establishing its information, communication and human resource capacity. The fact that no significant population related activities were undertaken thus far reflects a lack of capacity, especially in demographic terms. This translated into a hesitance in the NPU thus far to intervene in South African population trends in a strategic manner. Several reasons for this exist, the most important of which are discussed in the next section.


Restrategisation of the National Population Unit

Background
The NPU embarked on a "restrategisation" exercise in June 1999. The purpose of the restrategisation exercise of the NPU is to:
outline operating constraints facing the NPU;
identify broad strategies to address key constraints;
develop recommendations on the way forward with:
restructuring the NPU;
intergovernmental relations on Population and Development;
stakeholder partnerships; and
donor relations.

Operating constraints for the NPU
The functioning of the NPU since 1994, and especially following the adoption of the new policy, has been constrained by the following:

Staff instability and under-staffing. A high turnover of senior management within the NPU and the Department of Welfare has been experienced since 1994, and especially since 1997. The staff complement of the NPU decreased from about 80 (in total) to 21 professional, 3 secretarial and 11 support services staff over the five-year period. It has 10 vacancies for professional staff members, which cannot be filled due to budget constraints.

The location of the NPU as a (small) Chief Directorate within the Department of Welfare, compared to core departmental responsibilities. The NPU enjoyed a low ranking in Departmental (including budget) priorities until recently. Additionally, as indicated above, many NPU posts were rationalised. This resulted in pressure on the NPU's budget and staffing.

Inability to effectively engage the national and provincial governments on the population policy and its objectives. Whilst the government as a whole has embraced key Population Policy objectives in departmental and interdepartmental programmes, the NPU mostly played a small role therein. The NPU managed to involve itself in three sub-sectoral programmes during 1998/9, of which the most significant is the Flagship Programme of the Department of Welfare. A mechanism does not exist to project or monitor the total level of investment by the government, in all departments and provinces, in population and development policy objectives. A mechanism to prevent or remedy line function deviations from the policy also does not exist.

The relationship with PPUs. Collaboration with PPUs in projects is largely on an ad hoc basis. Generally, PPUs are constrained by the low importance accorded to them by provincial governments, and they are overshadowed by welfare functions (especially social development and policy and planning). PPUs expect the NPU to support them technically and otherwise in implementing their priority Population and Development programmes. It is not guaranteed however that provinces will respond equally to nationally defined Population and Development programmes, as the PPUs are not accountable to the NPU in any bureaucratic way. Whilst population is a Schedule 4 function (in terms of the constitution), this pattern of interaction is contrary to the generally accepted norm in unitary states that population priorities and programmes are set centrally, but effected locally.

Lack of 'leadership' on population issues. The NPU has struggled to establish itself as the leading agent of population and development in South Africa. Reasons for this have been put forward in the past that refer to the relationship with the Department of Welfare and the limited technical capacity of staff. The main reason however seems to be difficulty to focus the Unit in terms of tasks and responsibilities. The former Population Development Programme notion that interdepartmental liaison is an advocacy function still exists. The NPU seeks to cooperate with other departments on research as well, but a systematic strategy to participate (and lead) in sectoral and multi-sectoral development planning and implementation was not developed, and few skills in this field recruited.

Unstructured stakeholder partnerships. Government and non-governmental stakeholders have to be involved in a structured manner in setting the Population and Development agenda of the country. Mechanisms to that effect do not exist however. The Population Policy provides for the establishment of an advisory body to guide the national Population and Development agenda, and the implementation and monitoring of the Population Policy. Such a body should represent key government departments, NGOs, Trade Unions, academics and organised business.

Relationships with donor agencies, especially the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The UNFPA invests substantially in Population and Development activities in South Africa. The value of UNFPA support to Population and Development programmes in South Africa currently stands at USD 3,4 million for the 1998 - 2001 period. Financial support by the UNFPA to non-governmental projects currently gets channelled directly to non-governmental partners, occasionally with NPU agreement on such projects. A more ideal situation would however be for such funds to be routed via the NPU, in order to strengthen the government's ability to pro-actively set the Population and Development agenda. Prospects exist for involving other donors in Population and Development programmes / projects, but these are difficult to pursue in the absence of a framework to facilitate such support.

Addressing key constraints
The above mentioned operating constraints for the NPU can be grouped broadly into the following categories:

Internal operational matters, i.e. staffing, interdepartmental collaboration capacity, and the relationship to the Department of Welfare.

Intergovernmental relations, i.e. the relationship to the PPUs.

Stakeholder partnerships.

Handling of donor (financial) support.

The following processes to address these issues have been adopted by the DCDSS:

Internal operational matters
The NPU adopted a 'projects' approach to its work in 1999. The approach was not properly institutionalised in the business and financial planning processes of the Unit, and diluted the expertise that was built up within certain sub-directorates. Mechanisms to institutionalise the projects approach in the Unit are currently being devised, which will ensure optimal line function and project performance in an integrated manner, including in budgeting. This approach exposed constraints in the Unit in terms of overall staffing, as well as (to a lesser extent) in its organisational structure. An analysis on staffing is currently being done, and the organisational structure is being reviewed.

It has been proposed occasionally that the NPU be accorded Schedule 3 (Public Service Act of 1994, as amended) status, i.e. to function as a department but headed at a level not higher than Deputy Director General. Such status would organisationally separate the NPU from the Department of Welfare, but retain it under the Ministry for Welfare, Population and Development. Given the above mentioned operational constraints, the implication would be that in addition to existing professional staffing needs, additional management support services capacity would also need to be built. This is currently being investigated.

Intergovernmental relations
PPUs continually call upon the NPU to play a stronger leading and facilitatory role in the area of population functions. Simultaneously, each province has taken its own route in relation to the location and staffing of and budgeting for population units (within welfare, but possibly also outside of it). These structural arrangements by provinces are mainly influenced by their internal policy priorities, that do not necessarily correspond with national priorities. In the absence of a clear legislative framework on intergovernmental relations, it is particularly difficult to achieve alignment between the NPU and PPUs.

The DCDSS decided (in August 1999) to conduct a 'review' (as proposed by the Population Policy) of the Provincial Population Units. Such a review would assist in guiding the government on the following matters pertaining to PPUs:

location within provinces - i.e. in which department, and standardised or not?
centralisation (vs decentralisation) - are PPUs located in the appropriate sphere of government (to implement the Population Policy)?
role and function of the Population Forum - is it the appropriate structure to facilitate intergovernmental cooperation (given that it was created for policy purposes, not as an implementation structure)?
resource allocation to PPUs by provincial governments - some PPUs claim to be insufficiently funded due to competition with other welfare priorities.

Additionally, such a review would identify appropriate models of sub-national facilitation of the Population Policy, and appropriate intergovernmental relations models to govern the interface between the national and provincial governments as far as Population and Development is concerned. The 'review' will be conducted in a manner that will minimally affect the ongoing work of the NPU, although the NPU should ideally play a role in its execution. The 'review' will be overseen by the DCDSS, and funded by the affected Units.

Stakeholder partnerships
The White Paper on Population Policy proposes that an advisory body be created to institutionalize stakeholder partnerships in implementing Population and Development policy objectives in South Africa. Options in this regard are currently being considered.

The main purpose of an advisory body would be:
to facilitate the technical operations of the National Population Unit;
to assess the contributions of the various sectors to population policy implementation;
to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration in this field at all levels; and
to provide expert advice on population and development issues to the Minister responsible for the population function.

The other major responsibility of an advisory body would be to advise the Minister for Welfare and Population Development on technical matters pertaining to population policy planning and implementation. This includes advice regarding the development of appropriate legislation to promote the objectives outlined in the population policy.

An advisory body should be representative of all key stakeholders in Population and Development in South Africa. Members should be selected from the government departments whose line functions relate closely with Population and Development issues. The Directors-General of these departments should be ex officio members of the advisory body. Given the anti-poverty theme for the medium term operations of the NPU, the relevant departments could include some of the following: Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Water Affairs and Forestry, Agriculture, Land Affairs, Health, Education, Public Works, Housing, Home Affairs, Trade and Industry, Provincial and Local Affairs, Labour, Statistics South Africa and Welfare. An interdepartmental committee on Population and Development could be established to coordinate the government's strategy, either linked to the advisory body, or as a separate institution.

In addition to these, experts and sector leaders who have a strong background in the field of population and development should be appointed to represent business, labour, NGOs and academia. These civil society representatives should be able to fully participate and advise the government on population and development strategies, as well as guide their own sectors in implementing such strategies in collaboration with government. Representivity of the advisory body to reflect South Africa's population is essential.

In addition to the permanent members of the advisory body, consideration should also be given to the possibility to nominate ad hoc members as might be required from time to time. In this regard, representatives from the Coordinating and Implementation Unit (CIU) in the Office of the President, senior officials from Statistics South Africa, and the UNFPA Country Representative for South Africa could also be considered.

Donor support
As indicated above, financial support by the UNFPA to projects currently gets channelled directly to non-governmental partners. Donor support is a very useful tool to strengthen government - NGO partnerships on Population and Development. The main shortcoming of the current approach however is that the partnership role of government itself is not institutionalised, leading in practice to a situation where donors and NGOs implement programmes with limited government involvement. A more ideal situation would be for funds earmarked for Population and Development to be routed via the NPU, in order to strengthen the government's ability to pro-actively set the Population and Development agenda.

It is being proposed that the establishment of a fund be investigated, outside of the operational budget of the NPU, to facilitate such donor funding flows. Ultimately, such a fund could also be the recipient of the non-operational budget of the NPU and other future government or private sector contributions to Population and Development programmes and projects.


4. Activities for the rest of 1999
The NPU will focus the rest of 1999 on consolidating its capacity around key focus areas, whilst completing activities that it committed itself to. The consolidation phase will include the mentioned organisational structure adjustments, as well as (and more importantly) creating planning platforms off which to launch decisive interventions in the key population challenges facing the country.

The most important project to conclude is the mentioned Third African Population Conference. The conference programme will be unveiled on 22 September, at a joint media conference with the UNFPA.

At the said media conference, the UNFPA will introduce its 'State of the World Population 1999 Report'. Non-governmental partners in the reproductive health and environment and development fields will also participate, to assist in focussing public attention on activities planned for October around the Day of Six Billion (to be on 12 October - the day on which the world population is projected to reach six billion).

The national focus on 'six billion' will be on 'educating' the general public to understand population dynamics beyond mere numbers, especially population structure, resource distribution and the impact of HIV / AIDS on our population.

The Minister of Welfare, Population and Development will conduct high level consultations (in October) with other ministries, government departments and the social partners to identify and agree on key population issues requiring decisive government intervention. This process will be supported by the alignment of the NPUs strategic plans to support an overt agenda to promote sustainable livelihoods from a population and development perspective.

We intend to specifically cement the involvement of Members of Parliament in the work of the NPU, as Parliament is the most important vehicle to ensure other sectoral policies that support the objectives set by the national Population Policy. To this effect, we propose to arrange an event with yourselves and other Members on the Day of Six Billion (12 October) here in Cape Town. I would however like to utilise this discussion to source advice from yourselves on what the content of such an event should be.


Thank you for the opportunity to share the work of the NPU with yourselves. I trust that this would merely lay the foundation for a much more productive relationship and partnership in future.

Jacques van Zuydam
Chief Director: National Population Unit
15 September 1999

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