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Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation launches Egypt's National Population Strategy with EU, UNFPA

5 March 2019
From left to right: Dr. Amr Hassan, Rapporteur of the National Population Council, Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of European Union Delegation to Egypt, Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment of International Cooperation, Dr. Sahar al-Sonbaty, Head of the Ministry of Health and Population’s Family Planning Sector, Dr. Aleksandar Sasha, UNFPA Representative in Egypt

The Ministry of Investment of International Cooperation launched today the “EU support of Egypt's National Population Strategy,” in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the European Union, and the Ministry of Health and Population.

With the support of an EU-grant of 27 Million Euros, UNFPA, upon the request of the Government of Egypt, led the drafting process of the National Population Strategy, and now is tasked with facilitating its actual implementation.

The project is funded by the European Union and aims at increasing the use of voluntary, rights-based family planning through improved supply of family planning services and commodities, increased demand for family planning, and enhanced governance for implementation of the National Population Strategy. It will ultimately benefit Egyptians of reproductive age who will have more choices regarding the size of their families, as well as the timing and spacing of children. 

In his opening address, UNFPA Representative in Egypt Dr. Aleksandar Bodiroza, stated that family planning is the best investment to make for human development. “Ensuring universal access to voluntary family planning means putting the poorest, most marginalized and excluded women at the forefront of our efforts,” he said.

Investments in the well-being of adolescents and youth, and particularly adolescent girls, Bodiroza said, will unleash a demographic dividend of inclusive, sustainable economic growth in Egypt. Realizing this potential requires a powerful commitment to health, and in particular reproductive health and rights, he added.

On his part, Head of European Union Delegation to Egypt Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, said that achieving progress and creating job opportunities as well as education and development opportunities for all requires sustainable population growth.

“Sustainable population growth, which is mentioned in Article 41 in Egypt’s constitution, contributes to achieving a better life for the public, equal opportunities to basic services and higher levels of human development,” he explained.

For this reason, we in the European Union share the Egyptian government and local partners to encourage people, especially young people, to increase their awareness of the benefits of smaller families and family planning, with full respect for their individual rights and will."

“That’s why we at the EU are partnering with the government of Egypt and local partners to encourage people, especially young people, to raise awareness around the benefits of smaller families and family planning, while upholding their individual rights and will,” he said.

The launch event was attended by Rapporteur of the National Population Council Dr. Amr Hassan, as well as head of the Ministry of Health and Population’s Family Planning Sector Dr. Sahar al-Sonbaty, who both lauded the partnership with the EU and UNFPA to implement the National Population Strategy. 

Minister of Investment of International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr highlighted the importance of the National Population Strategy, saying it is key to sustainable development. She also underlined the importance of investing in families, including the investment in their health and education.

She explained that the government is working closely with the EU and UNFPA to implement the strategy, which will benefit Egyptians in reproductive age who will make informed choices about the size of their families.

The EU-funded project will work to scale up family planning services including contraceptive commodities, and make them more accessible to the Egyptian population of reproductive age. It will also work to educate them on family planning, and increase public awareness about family planning. Finally, it will ensure that the relevant stakeholders and institutions have the capacities to oversee as well as coordinate the implementation of the strategy.

The forward-looking strategy is unprecedented in its scope and significance at the national level and spans over the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.