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Development Account Projects

Capacity-building for research on emerging population issues in developing countries


The impact of HIV/AIDS and the ageing of populations will be among the major demographic challenges faced by developing countries in the years to come. Although both issues will affect most countries, the impact of HIV/AIDS is expected to be particularly devastating in countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV infection rates are among the highest in the world. The challenges of population ageing will be most pressing in those countries where the demographic transition from high to low fertility and mortality has taken place at great speed, as in the case of many Asian countries, particularly in South and South-East Asia. Both challenges need to be met with increased capacity for research and policy formulation on the part of national population research centers, so that they may contribute effectively to the elaboration of appropriate policy and programmatic challenges. This process of capacity-building would be greatly facilitated by international cooperation, in particular at the regional level, using the Internet and other efficient and cost-effective electronic information and communication technology.


To build the capacity of population research institutions in developing countries to carry out research and policy formulation on emerging critical population and development issues, specifically the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and the population ageing in South and South-East Asia

Expected accomplishments:

  • Enhanced national capacity for demographic research and policy formulation on critical population and development issues at the regional and subregional levels and the demographic impact of AIDS and socio-economic and demographic issues related to the impact of population ageing
  • Improved regional and subregional cooperation among developing countries on the demographic impact of AIDS and socio-economic and demographic issues related to the impact of population ageing through the creation of collaborative networks using the Internet and other modern information and communication technologies

Effects and Impact:

This project was implemented by the Population Division/DESA. The project has two components – one on the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa (successfully completed) and the other on population ageing in Asia (terminated).

  1. Demographic impact of AIDS in Africa. A training workshop on the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa was held in New York from 8 to 13 September 2003, with 24 participants (demographers, statisticians and public health specialists) from 13 of the most HIV/AIDS affected countries of Africa. The training programme imparted a strong understanding of the broad demographic aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including methodological and data quality issues. The training programme emphasized the importance of communicating information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in an effective way, to national audiences as well as tools and suggestions for doing so. As part of this training project, an experimental website Aidsimpact and an electronic forum were created, with the objective of facilitating the interaction of the trainees prior to the workshop and after their return to their countries. In a post-workshop structured evaluation survey, participants indicated that the Workshop imparted, and they were able to share experiences, on what demographers, statisticians and public health specialists can do to assist national AIDS programmes. Many of the participants further indicated that the training led to a better communication between public health agencies and data collection and analysis agencies. This component was hence successfully completed
  2. Population ageing in Asia. This project was conceived and undertaken in cooperation with the Economic and Social Commission for Asian and the Pacific (ESCAP). An expert panel was convened at ESCAP to draw up a detailed blueprint for a multi-stage research training programme on population ageing in Asia. However, the implementation of this blueprint ran into difficulties because trainees with the appropriate technical background and career outlook were not readily available in the countries concerned and putting together a multi-disciplinary faculty to teach the programme over several stages proved problematic.