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Plans to reap demographic dividends

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Planning minister Chhay Than speaks at the celebration of World Population Day on July 11. FACEBOOK

Plans to reap demographic dividends

Cambodia falls into a category where the working-age population – those between the ages of 15 and 59 – accounts for more than 62 per cent of the total population.

This is a demographic context conducive to economic development called “demographic dividends”, according to Minister of Planning Chhay Than , because the working-age population is large and the proportion of dependents is low.

Than made the comments while presiding over the July 11 opening day celebration of the 33rd World Population Day in Phnom Penh.

He said that in order to seize the opportunity of the current demographic dividends – which will begin to diminish from 2038 – it is necessary to pay attention to solving related challenges such as migration and urbanisation, employment and labour issues, education and health. Plans would also need to be drawn up to support future increases of the aging population.

“These issues will require timely targeted interventions through the introduction of appropriate policies and measures. We must promote human resource development effectively and efficiently, in step with wider socio-economic development,” he said.

This year’s World Population Day on July 11 is observed under the theme “A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future – harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all”.

Than said the theme was well suited to the global population.

The population of the world, as well as the population of most countries, continues to grow, despite a decline in birth rates. The increase is due to lower mortality rates and longer life expectancies.

According to the UN, the world’s population grows at a rate of about one per cent a year. This would mean that the Earth population will be eight billion by November. This will present some challenges and no way to avoid them.

“We need to share the view that humanity is not divided, but is one. When the number of individual humans decreases or increases, it should not matter. Everyone should share their talents, kindness, leadership, labour, creativity and their love with all of humanity. Everyone deserves to benefit from a world that is prosperous and sustainable,” Than said.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, who presided over the closing ceremony of this year’s World Population Day celebrations on July 11, said the government is committed to continuing to support the implementation of the International Conference on People and Action. The move aims to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as Cambodia’s SDG without leaving anyone behind. This would be necessary to provide for the welfare of future generations through a resilient future.

He said that in the current fast-paced and unpredictable global context, he recommended continuing to build social resilience by strengthening health and social protection systems. We must be prepared for any crises that may emerge in the future, he added.

“The interior ministry will continue to support and cooperate with the planning ministry and all relevant institutions – especially the Special Committee for Accelerating the Implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action [SC-ICPD-PoA] ,” he said.

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