At the Launching event of the Padis-int Side Event of the Committee on Population and Development

Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to join you. This event offers an opportunity for presenting the population projection software developed by Chinese experts. On behalf of the United Nations I extend them my warm congratulations.

Even though this is a side event of the Commission on Population and Development, I think today’s meeting provides an equally important opportunity for discussion.

We are living in a world of unprecedented demographic change.

The world population is continuing its rapid growth, with population structure and geographic distribution undergoing fast change.

Such change is having profound impact on the social and economic development of all countries, and is closely linked with poverty, food security, energy security, climate change and other global issues.

Demographic change has brought about daunting challenges to global sustainable development and such challenges will remain undiminished in future.

It is therefore imperative that we keep a firm grip on demographic change, based on science, and develop an effective response.

To make this happen, we must secure demographic data that accurately reflect demographic dynamics, allowing us to make reliable assessments of population growth trends and design and implement population policies in support of development.

Access to reliable population data is a precondition for sound policymaking. It is the bedrock underpinning policymaking process and its importance can never be exaggerated.

But the big challenge confronting us is the lack of capacity in many developing countries for undertaking population projections. What is urgently required is to develop and make available population projection tools that are both scientifically sound and applicable to the circumstances of developing countries, which brings me to the theme of this side event.

After in-depth research and careful studies, the China Population and Development Research Centre has successfully developed a software programme for population projection – PADIS-INT.

This is an innovative tool with great potentials. It embodies the new results of combined applications of population projection techniques and internet. It is science-based, and broadly adaptable. It will help bridge the capacity gap facing many developing countries and regions and enable them to undertake population projections, thereby effectively assisting governments in formulating social and economic development plans and in designing population policies.

The United Nations strives to promote international cooperation and help developing countries in capacity development, in further implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, in meeting the MDGs and advancing sustainable development.

China is the most populous country in the world and its population policy is a corner stone of its sustainable development. Over the past three decades, China has learned a lot of lessons and accumulated valuable experience. The development of PADIS-INT is one such example. The United Nations expresses its deep appreciation to the Chinese government for sharing its experience in population and development.

I believe participants will benefit from today’s event, and I hope the UN, in future, will organize more events like today’s, with a focus on practical experience and concrete results.

I also wish that China, my home country, will make more and greater contributions to international cooperation.

Thank you.