PARLIAMENTARIANS must heavily invest in population data by documenting the characteristics of people in order foster sustainable development, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mkhondo Lungu has said.
Mr Lungu said in order to achieve sustainable deveopment, it was necessary that all parliamentarians invested in population data.
“Population data documents the characteristics of people who in turn affect the potential for development. Without this, we will be planning in a vacuum,” he said.
Mr Lungu, who was speaking during the official opening of the Asian and African Parliamentarians Capacity Development on the integration of population issues into national development frameworks party III in Lusaka, said the capacity to monitor and project changing population dynamics and evolving demographic age must be a core investment for development.
“In a nutshell, this means that government must integrate population dynamics into planning and implementation of development initiative within all sectors at both national and sub national levels,” he said.Mr Lungu said it was time that Parliamentarians stepped up efforts in holding government accountable to gathering, analyzing and disseminating data on population.
“Through such, we will be confident of having a better today and tomorrow for the people living both today and in the future,” he said.And vice chair of Japan Parliament Federation for Population (JPFP) Teruhiko Mashiko observed that Zambia had taken a lead in Africa in parliamentary work on population and development.
“I would like to say I am most grateful for the fact that Zambia has taken a lead. Both the JPFP and I are proud,” Mr Mashiko said. Delivering a key note address, Mr Mashiko said parliamentarians were concerned with population matters because they loved the nature and culture of lands.
“Some people still do not have the proper understanding of the population issue. However I believe that all of us gathered here share the conviction that addressing population issue is the foundation for preserving nature and our cultures and build the well-being of the people who lived amongst them,” he said. Mr Mashiko said this year’s programme would be an important occasion.
“We can clarify the results of six years of work and conduct a new review of the next steps we will take in our role as parliamentarians,” he said. Meanwhile, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) deputy representative, Chinwe Ogbonna said she would use the opportunity to commend on-going efforts by the Asian and African parliamentarian forum on population and development in advancing advocacy, policy and legislative actions on population issues within different national contexts and regional levels.
“UNFPA stands as a committed strategic partner to Parliamentarians at global, regional and national levels, so that collectively, we can deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young persons’ potential is fulfilled,” Ms Ogbonna said.