UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-07: Statement of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Tamrat Layne




The electronic preparation of this document has been done by the

Population Information Network(POPIN) of the United Nations Population

Division in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme



A Statement Delivered


H.E. Mr. Tamirat Layne

Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of


At the International Conference on Population and Development

Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt

September 5-13, 1994

September6, 1994



     It is indeed a privilege and honour for me to be in the great and

historic city of Cairo to address this  august assembly of high level

delegations. We congratulate the Government and the People of  Egypt for

hosting this important international conference which has been convened

at a critical  moment when population problems weigh heavily on the

world s dwindling natural resources posing  a major threat to the global

environment.. I should also like to take this opportunity to

congratulate  you Mr. Chairman on your being elected Chairman of this


     Your country Mr. Chairman has expended considerable efforts in

helping putt together this  International Conference and bears testimony

to the importance it attaches to the problem at hand.  This is a global

problem affecting the lives of people everywhere in one way or another.

The credit  also goes to Dr. Na´fs Sadiq Executive Director United

Nations Population. Fund and Secretary -  general of the International

Conference on Population and Development and her colleagues.

     Mr. Chairman

     Ethiopia is taking part in this conference a year after the

adoption of its population policy. Our  participation in this conference

is different from that of similar conferences 1n the past, not only

because of this fact but also because we are now living in a new era of

political democratization and  a people centered development policy.

     The problem of rapid population growth has assumed critical

proportions in the least developed  countries like Ethiopia where, in

the face of continuing technological backwardness it has been and

continues to be difficult to meet basic human needs.. While

environmental factors play an important  role in aggravating the

situation at the root of Ethiopia s woes were the misguided development

policies pursued by the Military government that came to power in

February 1974. During the  seventeen vears of its reign it pursued among

other things, a development policy that totally  excluded the private

sector from participation in nation building efforts.

     Rapid population growth has exerted and continues to exert

pressure on the environment and  natural resources negative affecting

the quality of life of the Ethiopian  people. .Among the  manifestations

of such a pressure are increasing population land/ratios, resulting  in

among other  things over-cultivation, of arable land and hence

acceleration of the process of soil degradation.  Rapid population

growth has also exerted  pressure on social services such as education

employment health housing  and other basic amenities. Of particular

significance to nation building  efforts is the inequitable access of

the rural population to opportunities and basic services. All these

factors combine to perpetuate the state of poverty and underdevelopment

in Ethiopia

     Mr. Chairman,

     Currently the Transitional government of Ethiopia has put  In

place a .number of political economic and social measures of

unprecedented magnitude and  scope . A new constitution . that calls for

a federal political and administrative structure and one  that

guarantees the enjoyment, by all citizens of the full range of pol-

itical social and economic  right  is in the last stages of adoption.

     These changes in the political sphere are accompanied by concerted

efforts to implement an  economic policy that places considerable

reliance on the participation of the private sector in  development

processes .Under the new economic policy the command economy is replaced

by  one regulated by market forces. The policy is aimed at

rehabilitating the war-shattered social and  economic  structure and

enabling the country to benefit from domestic and foreign investment.

     The adoption of a national population policy last year represented

a milestone in the hi story of the  country . The regime  that preceded

the present Government strongly resisted the idea of a population policy

on religious and ideological ground and were opposed to considering it

as a factor  in economic and social development. It was with the

launching of the policy by the Transitional  Government that curtailing

population, growth as an instrument for tackling socio-economic

problems and achieving sustainable development became a guiding a

principle in nation building  efforts in Ethiopia.

     The condition  that necessitated the adoption of the  national

population policy are: an  exceedingly  high fertility  rate, high

infant and maternal  mortality  rates, low nutritional status, low per

capita income, rapidly  declining environmental quality as manifested by

the rapid rate of deforestation and soil degradation  and last but not

least a continuously declining food self-sufficiency ratio.

     The core component of Ethiopia's population policy is a

significant reduction of the rate of population  growth by  bringing

down the level of fertility to a manageable level as soon as possible.

Specifically  the policy aims at decreasing the total fertility rate

from the current 7.7 children per woman to 4.0  by the year 2015. To

achieve this the contraceptive prevalence rate is to be raised from the

current  4.0% of  eligible persons to 44.0% by the year 2015

     The national population policy underscores the necessity of

viewing  population pressure in its  economic and social context. in

line with this, other policy measures in the spheres of -education,

employment, health, social security and the improvement of the social,

legal, political and  economic status of women youth and the elderly

have been taken.

     Mr. Chairman,

     In setting such goals, we fully realize, that dealing with

demographic factors in isolation is not going  to do the job. The

pursuit of the goal of holistic and or integrated development is one of

the  cardinal articles of faith of the Transitional government and is

reflected in all macro level and  sectoral  policies currently in force

and those that are still  in the process of being formulated. Population

policies and  programs are essentially viewed as  facilitative of and

complimentary to other development efforts

     The adoption of a women's policy occupies a prominent place among

these measures . Without the  empowerment of women, no population policy

can be expected to  produce significant results. The  promotion of

women's rights and the creation of the necessary legal land

institutional framework to  translate this into reality has now placed

the gender issue in its proper perspective

     Moreover, since Ethiopia is predominantly rural, development

policy focuses on transforming the  rural economy and society. Higher

proportions of national budget are now being allocated for this

purpose. This, we believe, will have a positive impact in terms of

closing the rural-urban gap in  economic and social opportunities .

     In the advancement  of this goal, the Transitional Government has

adopted the strategy of  community based services to stimulate grass

roots participation in all aspects of development endeavour. The

decentralization policy adopted by the Government represents a quest

for a more effective method of involving local communities in

development processes.

     In view of this, population and development programs are

implemented at regional and sub-regional  levels. while the   national

Population council is responsible for articulating general   policy

guidelines, and monitoring  and evaluating their  Implementation at the

central level, regional and  sub-regional councils are responsible for

overseeing implementation activities at those levels. This will allow

for ensuring that regional and  sub-regional peculiarities are taken

into account in translating the national policy into region  specific

sets of activities.

     The activities at various levels are coordinated by the National

Office of Population which is  specifically responsible for formulating

implementation guidelines, monitoring and evaluating  mechanisms in

addition to its role as a secretariat to the National Population


     The Plan of Action already developed for the implementation of the

National Population Policy  during the period between 1994 to 1399

underscores the role of IEC in securing popular support for  and

community  participation in population progammes. A good proportion of

resources available  will be allocated in the pursuit of this objective.

     Improvement of quality and scope of family planning services,

strengthening national and regional  capacity for  population research,

data collection, analysis and dissemination, strengthening  domestic

capacity for the training of personnel at various levels in the sphere

of population and  development are areas of population and development

activities currently receiving priority attention.

     The effective implementation of these programmes calls for the

participation of the private sector  and non-governmental.

organizations. The National Population Policy and the Plan of action

underscore, such participation  by the non-governmental sector.

     Mr. Chairman

     The importance of this conference stems from the fact that today

rapid population growth has  become a global problem seeking a global

solution. The Transitional Government of Ethiopia is of   the view that

the successful implementation of the Programme of Action to be adopted

at this  Conference requires not only the commitment of national

governments but also the pooling of global  resources. However the

Programme of Action to be adapted by this Conference must recognize the

cultural and social realities of member states in finding viable and

workable solutions to the  population and development problem peculiar

to those countries.

     In conclusion I would like to express my confidence that given the

determination and the goodwill of  all a global  solution to the global

problem is possible. we believe that the joint efforts so far exerted

will lead to a further  strengthening of international cooperation. We

wish the conference every success in its deliberations.

     Thank you.

For further information, please contact: popin@undp.org
POPIN Gopher site: gopher://gopher.undp.org/11/ungophers/popin
POPIN WWW site:http://www.undp.org/popin