The United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] team from the Pacific, Sub-regional office based in Suva, Fiji, has conducted a meeting with Ministry of Women Youth Children & Family Affairs (MWYFCA), on the 7th of Sept 2022, at the MWYCFA conference room in Honiara. The meeting was led by Technical Specialist Adolescents & Youth Mr. Brian Kronde, the Demographic Dividend Coordinator Mr. Kemueli Naiqama and the Program Specialist Ms. Lyn Vaike.
This is a scoping and consultative orientation meeting with the office of the Permanent Secretary and Heads of divisions highlighting the demographic dividend project under UNFPA and the new programming cycle (2023-2027).
The Technical Specialist for Adolescents & Youth Mr. Brian Kronde, stated that the demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country’s birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population. When falling birth rate changes the age distribution, fewer investments is needed to meet the needs of the youngest age groups and resources are released for investment in economic development and family welfare.
Decline in birth rate can enhance faster economic growth and ease burdens on families, therefore Solomon Islands government must prepare and act wisely before and during the transition. Mr. Brian however stated that there is also a side-effect if the government is not prepared given that the youthful population like Solomon Islands share 70% of the total population.
If we neglect to act on these issues it could pose a damaging effect on future prospects, like increasing unemployment, the social issues, and increasing in numbers of old age people will begin to be our challenge with our scarce resources. Embracing and understanding demographic challenges must therefore be a priority for all governments as well as Solomon Islands Government stated Mr. Brian.
UNFPA also deliberated on the need for a national platform to integrate demographic dividend Plans of actions to help ministries to prepare for such demographic transition.
Director Youth development Division of the Ministry of Women Youth Children & Family Affairs Mr. Andre Tipoki responded and commended the UNFPA team on-behalf of PS for coming out to the ministry and said “MWYCFA look forward to establish and further strengthens mutual relationship with UNFPA.”
This consultation raised mutual understanding by UNFPA partnering to emerging youth data need with UNFPA in terms of seeking further support to address the issue.
The UNFPA team reiterated that they would like to foster working in partnership with the ministry on this need as it also falls under one of their mandate.