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King inaugurates population forum
11 January, 2005

AMMAN (Petra)- His Majesty King Abdullah yesterday inaugurated the Second National Forum on Population andDevelopment, organised by the Higher Population Council (HPC) at the RoyalCultural Centre under the slogan: "Youthand the population challenge".


The two-day forum, with the participationof local university students, representatives from youth clubs, experts,decision-makers and parliamentarians, seeks to brief the government and thesociety on what has been accomplished so far of the activities and goals of thenational population strategy.


Participants will also discuss thechallenges that face the Kingdom in the next decade and the role of youth inencountering them.


HRH Princess Basma, who was present at theopening ceremony, said the Kingdom has achieved satisfactory results in the past decadewith regard to reducing fertility rates and decreasingpopulation growth. She added that the results, although significant,were not adequate and intensified efforts and confident partnerships on alllevels were needed to continue the work of the HPC and public and civilsociety institutions to address population issues.


Princess Basma said it was important toconcentrate on youth and address the younger generation of marriageable ageto achieve the strategy''s desired goals in the fields of youthhealth and enhance positive lifestyles.


HPC Secretary General Zuheir Kayed briefedthe participants on population challenges and ways to confront them, aswell as the council''s policy and achievements.


He said the 2000-2020 strategy is based on four maintopics: Reproductive health, population and sustainabledevelopment, fair treatment of both genders and gaining media support inchanging mind-sets.


According to the 2004 census, theKingdom''s population standsat 5.3 million, of whom 1 million are aged 15 years and below. The annual population growth rate is 24 per 1,000, indicatingthat the country''s population will double by 2032 if the growth rateremains at its present level.


Participants at the event will alsodiscuss the Islamic point of view on family planning, and the national workplan for youth health, reproductive health, the economic participation ofyouth in the Kingdom and the role of media in changing youth attitudes.