21 June 2024 01:53 PM

The 1st Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC’23)

Tuesday، 05 September 2023 - 12:00 AM

Under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population organized the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC’23) from September 5 to 8 at the New Administrative Capital.

The conference represents a unique opportunity for researchers and policy makers worldwide to get first-hand information on the dynamic relationship between population, health and development.

The conference will witness the participation of decision-makers, ministers of health and population from different countries, ambassadors of countries, international partner agencies, UN and USAID, banking entities, entrepreneurs, the media and representatives of civil society, intellectuals, and sponsors of success partners.

PHDC’23 will provide a unique opportunity for experts, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners from around the globe to explore the dynamic inter-dependability between population, health and development.

Through the wide range of activities during the congress, panellists and participants will interactively address the challenges and forecasts, share experiences and best practices, and propose mitigation plans, adaptation strategies and roadmaps.

Egypt will also renew its international commitments towards population issues and efforts to achieve maximum benefits from the demographic dividend and its potential economic gains, he added.

Registration for participating in the conference will start on July 24 through its website



Tuesday 5 September 2023

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi witnessed, on Tuesday 5 September 2023, the opening of the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC'23) in the New Administrative Capital.

The conference is attended by Health and Population Minister Khalid Abdel Ghaffar and a number of ministers and senior state officials.

This is in addition to more than 8,000 persons from Egypt and the world countries take part in the four-day conference, which is held under the theme: "Healthy Population for Sustainable Development."

The conference brings together all those concerned with health, population and development issues at the global, regional and national levels, as well as representatives of international and civil society organizations, the private sector and entrepreneurs.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi posed for a photo op with participants in the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC'23).

The conference's activities started with the citizens' opinion survey on the population dilemma. They stressed the need to face overpopulation in order to provide a good quality of life for future generations. The population growth deeply affects the services provided to citizens, including health, education and others, they added.

Health Minister Khalid Abdel Ghaffar delivered a speech at the inauguration of the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC'23).

At the outset of his speech, Minister of Health and Population Khalid Abdel Ghaffar thanked President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for attending and sponsoring the conference.

Abdel Ghaffar said the PHDC'23 is being held 29 years after the International Population and Development Conference, which took place in 1994 in Cairo to highlight updates of the population issues at the international level.

He said that overpopulation phenomenon hinders economic growth and development efforts, adding that it also depletes all development revenues and affects the quality of services provided to people, due to the lack of balance between economic and population growth.

He noted the rapid population growth put strains on efforts of combating poverty, hunger and malnutrition as well as catering to the amounting demand for health services and education and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister Abdel Ghaffar reviewed the Health and Population Ministry's vision regarding introducing the National Strategy for Population and Development, along with a road map for handling the population issue through outlining the population characteristics and improving the living standards of people.

He underlined that Egypt's prolonged population issue dates back to the 1960s, noting that the country's earliest population programs have been introduced in 1962, in a step that was followed by the establishment of the family planning council, the National Population Council (NPC), a ministry for population and family affairs and, most recently, the launch of the National Project for Development of the Egyptian Family in 2022.

The minister added that the anticipated launch of the National Strategy for Population and Development 2023 represents the state's latest efforts to handle the overpopulation crisis.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi addressed the opening session of the four-day PHDC’23, in which he welcomed participants in the conference, which is held under the theme: "Healthy Population for Sustainable Development". 

He said: "The population growth is one of the most serious issues facing Egypt.” He noted that despite being a natural resources-rich continent, Africa’s natural wealth will not be enough to meet all the needs of its rapidly growing population that is expected to surge to 1.6 billion people in the coming few years.

El-Sisi also referred to the health minister's speech, in which he spoke about the relationship between the world's population size and the resources' use, and whether they will be sufficient to meet the needs of the growing numbers of people not only in Egypt, and that what is happening in Egypt is another form of what is happening in the world.

President El Sisi directed to organize the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC) on an annual basis as it represents a great opportunity and an important platform to address the population dilemma.

President El Sisi added that several countries managed to control population and many other countries failed to stop population surge. 

In the coming few years, the African population is expected to exceed 1.6 billion people, Sisi said, adding however, Africa’s natural wealth will not be enough to meet all the needs of its rapidly growing population.

Organizing this conference on an annual basis is of great importance, the president said, adding "Egypt, which has a population of 105 million people, in addition to 9 million people, who are guests of the Egyptian State, is capable with its resources to bear the burden."

El-Sisi referred to what came in the words of a woman who appeared in a documentary film on population that was displayed at the opening of the conference, in which she said that the most difficult thing is that she could not meet her family's demands.

Commenting on the woman's words, President El-Sisi said "The most difficult thing I go through is knowing that the resources available are far less than what is actually needed, and that this will be reflected badly on the quality of everything."

Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel Ghafar presented a copy of the National Population and Development Strategy (NPS) for 2023-2030 to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi following the launching of the roadmap for tackling Egypt's population issue that aims at enhancing the living conditions and the quality of life of Egypt's population.

Abdel Ghafar said the national strategy has been outlined in light of the sustainable development objectives, Egypt's vision for 2030, and Egypt's constitution, the National Strategy for Population and Development, and the National Project for Development of the Egyptian Family.

He added it is based on the following key axes: economic empowerment, services provision, cultural and educational awareness programs, as well as digital transformation.
The preparations for the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development

Sunday, 30 July 2023

Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar; held a press conference on Sunday, 30 July 2023 to announce the preparations for the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development (PHDC 23), set to be held on September 5-8 in the New Administrative Capital, under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

The press conference was held in the presence of representatives from the United Nations, international organizations, ambassadors, leaders of the Ministry of Health and Population, and representatives of television channels and local and foreign media.

Abdel Ghaffar said that the population growth “swallows the revenues achieved by the state” in terms of economic growth and development, which negatively affects development efforts and per capita spending on education, health care and housing, as well as its share of water and agricultural land.

The minister stressed the importance of considering the current demographic situation and its repercussions on the future, noting that Egypt now ranks fourteenth in terms of population in the world, explaining that the population in Egypt exceeds 105 million people.

He said that Egypt is achieving continuous improvement, as the number of births decreased from 2.7 million in 2014 to 2.183 million in 2022, and the total fertility rate decreased to 2.85 children per woman in 2021 compared to 3.5 children per woman in 2014. Family planning is to reach 66.4% in 2021, compared to about 58.5% in the 2014 survey.

The minister noted that it is expected that the world population may reach about 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050, where more than half of the expected increase in the world population until 2050 is concentrated in eight countries, including Egypt.

Abdel Ghaffar added that the conference will witness the launch of the Egypt's national strategy on population.

He noted that participants of the conference will interactively address challenges alongside exchanging know-how and optimum practices. Also, the participants will discuss proposal on resilience plans, adoption strategies as well road maps.

It's worth mentioning that Cairo had hosted its first International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994.

During the 1994 conference, 179 governments adopted a Program of Action aimed at empowering women and girls for their own benefit, as well as for the benefit of their families, communities, and nations.

For her part, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Elena Panova, delivered a speech, in which she said:

“On behalf of the United Nations in Egypt, it is my pleasure to be here today with H.E. Dr. Khaled Abdelghaffar, and the senior team from the Ministry of Health and Population; Dr. Tarek Tawfik, Dr. Hossam Abdelghaffar and Dr. Mohamed El Tayeb.

We are proud of our strong and long-standing partnership and very much commend the timeliness of this Population, Health and Development Congress.

This is the 29th year since the International Conference on Population and Development was organized in Cairo from 5th to 13th September 1994 which released the remarkable “Cairo Declaration”. Since then, the world has made a lot of progress on the implementation of the “International Conference on Population and Development”, ICPD programme of Action, and more accelerated efforts are required.

The world will come together this September at the SDG Summit to recommit and strengthen our united efforts in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear that optimizing the demographic dividend [and] that “the right to development goes hand-in-hand with the right to a clean, healthy, sustainable environment” as the UN Secretary General refers to as he speaks about priorities for this year.  

Egypt has made notable progress since its adoption of the SDGs in 2015 – the first in the region to do so. Egypt launched its Vision 2030 as a guide to reaching the SDGs. It also initiated several national strategies in line with Egypt Vision 2030 – most notably the National Population Strategy, Haya Karima, the National Project for the Development of the Egyptian Family, and the National Strategy on the Empowerment of Egyptian Women.

Egypt is making progress on the health, population and development agenda:

On improving sexual and reproductive health and family planning. As per the Egypt Family Health Survey 2021, the use of modern methods of family planning has increased to 64.7% (from 56.9% in 2014) and the fertility rate has been reduced to 2.85 from 3.5 in 2014. But more can be done. The unmet need for family planning is still high at 13.8% and it is even above 15% among the age groups of 15 to 29 years.

For this Congress, the UN system is fully mobilised to bring in global expertise and experiences – especially in light of emerging trends and priorities such as building demographic resilience (especially in light of Egypt’s young population), promoting the role of digitalization and addressing the climate emergency.

We must be reminded that climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, and sufficient food. WHO reports that the direct damage costs to health (excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion per year by 2030.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to recognize the technical leadership and expertise of the World Health Organization, WHO, and the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, for steering the efforts of the UN system in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population.

With the support of my office, the two technical lead agencies, WHO and UNFPA, spearheaded the UN system’s engagement, with technical and in-kind contributions to the agenda of the Congress also received from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UNESCO, UNICEF, and UN HABITAT. This also builds on existing joint UN initiatives such as “One Health”.

Allow me to briefly mention a few key points linked to effective multilateralism, the importance of national ownership and the potential that partnerships can bring for realising the sustainable development agenda for all.  

This Congress is an opportunity to truly shape Egypt and the region’s direction on ensuring equitable and accessible health and realizing the demographic dividend to address population opportunities for all. Global engagement and multilateralism enable us to learn from one another, build solutions that can be adapted to every context, and scale for larger impact.

On ownership, the foundation for this effort here in Egypt, is the commitment of the Government to realize the rights of all of its citizens, of all people in Egypt, and in particular the rights of women and girls. This political commitment is clear at all levels.

This commitment is also codified into the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework between the UN and the Government, signed earlier this month under the auspices of H.E. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, and through the leadership and coordination of H.E. Dr. Rania El-Mashat. Underlining the Government’s highest level of commitment, strengthening human capital is one of the pillars – making direct reference to not only improvement of the health system and health access, but also emphasis on well-being and the social determinants of health.

Strengthening human capital also means that communities are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills and are provided with opportunities to exercise their rights and choices.

Egypt has many successes to build upon.

In 2022 alone, the UN, under the leadership of WHO, continued support to the health insurance law’s development. In addition, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population, the Ministry of Finance and CAPMAS, the National Health Accounts report was recently launched. This report highlights health financing data in Egypt, with specific reference to needed scale-up of investments in the health sector.  

In addition, the UN, under the leadership of UNFPA and with generous contributions from the European Union, continued to support the Ministry of Health and Population for implementation of the National Population Strategy through technical and institutional capacity building, community engagement and empowerment of adolescents, young people and women. Support was provided to family planning units with procurement and capacity building of Ministry staff – with all 5,500 units providing at least three modern family planning methods.

And finally - I would like to end by making reference to the UN Secretary General’s report “Our Common Agenda”. This report outlines the UN’s forward-looking vision for the world - anchored in the principles of leaving no-one behind, protecting our planet (especially the right to a healthy environment), strengthening preparedness (including the acceleration of health technologies and ensuring universal health coverage), and of course, placing women and girls at the center.

With this, I would like to thank you all and I look forward to partnering with the Ministry of Health and Population, on behalf of the Government of Egypt, in a successful Congress.”

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