Expert group meeting on population and sustainable development, in particular, sustained and inclusive economic growth

New York (Virtual meeting)

21 July 2021 to 22 July 2021


The special theme of the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on Population and Development will be Population and sustainable development, in particular sustained and inclusive economic growth. The theme is related to chapter III of the Programme of Action adopted by the International Conference on Population and Development, which took place in Cairo in September 1994. That chapter emphasized the need to integrate population in development strategies and to address the interlinkages between population, sustained economic growth and poverty on the one hand, and between population and the environment on the other. These issues remain relevant today and have, in fact, assumed new importance and urgency.

Since the Cairo conference, there has been an accumulation of evidence on environmental problems attributable to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. Such problems are compounded and amplified by continuing population growth. Population ageing, a gradual but relentless global demographic trend, brings the potential of economic benefits and personal opportunities associated with longer and healthier lives, as well as increased fiscal and macroeconomic pressures. As more countries are entering advanced stages of population ageing, those with persistently low levels of fertility face the reality or the prospect of population decline and need to formulate appropriate policy responses.

This expert group meeting will review the latest evidence and analysis of these topics, drawing from the experiences of countries in all regions of the world. The presentations and discussion during the expert meeting are expected to generate inputs for the preparation of the Secretary-General's report on the theme of the fifty-fifth session of the Commission.



Organization of work

Day 1: Wednesday, 21 July 2021


12 noon - 12.10 pm

Opening remarks 

  • Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist, UN DESA

12.10 - 12.30 pm

Keynote presentation


 12.30 - 12.50 pm

Session I. Setting the stage: Population dynamics, programs and sustainable development, sustained and inclusive economic growth




 1.05 - 2.05 pm

Session II. Population dynamics, the generational economy, macroeconomic growth and inequality





2.20 - 3.20 pm

Session III. Gendered economy




 Day 2: Thursday, 22 July 

9.00 - 10.00 am

Session IV. Population and sustainable development

Part I: Upper-middle income and high-income countries

10.00 - 10.15 am


10.15 - 11.15 am

Session IV. Population and sustainable development

Part II:  Low and lower-middle income countries



11.15  - 11.30 am


11.30 am - 12.30 pm

Session V. Population dynamics and environmental sustainability




12.30 - 12.45 pm



12.45 - 1.45 pm

Session VI. Interactive discussion: Policy challenges and recommendations

  • National and regional experiences in the integration of population issues in development planning and strategies
  • Country case studies by country types, e.g., slow population and economic growth in developed countries, persistent population and economic growth in least developed countries

  • Population, the environment and climate change: what has changed since Cairo and future prospects

  • Other key topics for the Secretary-General’s report to effectively support the Commission’s mandate to review and assess the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and its contribution to achieving the SDGs

    •  Moderator: Mr. Tim Miller, Interregional Adviser on Population and Development, Population Division, UN DESA

Open to all panellists to contribute




1.45 - 1.55 pm

Closing remarks