• World Population Day on July 11, is a day dedicated to raising awareness about population issues and their impact on socio-economic development.
  • Recognising the country’s youthful population, the Department of Social Development hosts programmes to engage young people on critical issues, including sports, arts, and culture as pathways for development.
  • This year’s theme, “Embracing the Power of Inclusive Data Towards a Resilient and Equitable Future for All,” underscores the importance of comprehensive data collection in creating policies that benefit all citizens.

South Africa joins the global community in celebrating World Population Day, with the Minister of Social Development, Ms Sisisi Tolashe, extending wishes to all South Africans. World Population Day, celebrated annually on July 11, was established in 1987 by the United Nations Development Programme to mark the occasion when the world population reached five billion people. Each year, the day focuses on specific themes to highlight various population concerns and raise awareness about global population issues.

This year’s theme, “Embracing the Power of Inclusive Data Towards a Resilient and Equitable Future for All,” highlights the critical role that data plays in understanding and addressing the needs of a growing and diverse population. In South Africa, the National and Provincial Population Units celebrate this day by focusing on the annual theme and its significance to the country.

Minister Tolashe emphasised that inclusive data is not just about numbers but about people’s lives. “By committing to inclusive data practices, we can ensure that no one is left behind and that every individual has the opportunity to thrive,” she said. Inclusive data practices help policymakers make informed decisions, ensure programmes are effective and equitable, and represent the voices of all citizens.

South Africa’s population has reached over 61 million people, with a majority being young. This youthful population highlights the importance of making youth issues central to planning initiatives. To this end, the Department of Social Development has organised a convergence of young people in Rustenburg, North West, to engage them on issues affecting them, including sports, arts, and culture as catalysts for youth development.

The United Nations declared the theme for this year’s World Population Day to be a reminder of the importance of understanding and addressing the needs of our diverse population. Minister Tolashe noted that embracing inclusive data is a collective effort requiring commitment from all sectors to build a resilient and equitable future. This approach involves ensuring that data collection and analysis include all segments of the population, particularly marginalised and vulnerable groups.

For the Department of Social Development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this means designing and implementing policies that are fair, effective, and resilient, ultimately leading to a more equitable society. Inclusive data helps understand the diverse needs of the population, addressing gaps in services, ensuring equitable resource distribution, and developing targeted interventions that improve the lives of all South Africans.

Despite progress in collecting and utilising inclusive data, challenges remain, such as data gaps in rural and underserved areas and among marginalised communities. Efforts are ongoing to improve data collection methods, increase accessibility, and ensure data is disaggregated to reflect the true diversity of the population. Technology plays a significant role in enabling real-time data collection, enhancing data accuracy, and facilitating easier data sharing and integration across sectors.

Inclusive data is vital for informed decision-making, allowing policymakers to identify needs, allocate resources effectively, and evaluate policy impacts. In healthcare, it helps identify health disparities and target interventions where needed. In education, it addresses enrolment and achievement gaps. In employment, it highlights trends and informs policies promoting job creation and fair labour practices.

South Africa should focus on enhancing data infrastructure, investing in training data collectors, adopting innovative technologies, and engaging communities in the data collection process. Strengthening partnerships between the government, private sector, and international organisations like the UNFPA can support the development and implementation of inclusive data initiatives.

“Let us work together to harness the power of inclusive data for a brighter, more equitable future for all so that no one is left behind in our efforts to make a better life for all and realise our aim of being a caring society,” concluded Minister Tolashe.


Leave a reply