Policy and technical advice on population dynamics and sexual and reproductive health and rights

Project description

Title: Sector Initiative Population Dynamics, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (PD/SRHR)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2018 to 2021

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The world’s population currently stands at over 7.7 billion people and is expected to increase to almost 11 billion by 2100, with the highest growth rates in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It is not just the size of the population but also its geographical distribution and age structure that are changing. These population dynamics influence social and economic development worldwide. 

While there is a steady demographic trend indicating an ageing world population, the partner countries of German development cooperation frequently have a high proportion of children and young people in their population. Migration and urbanisation are global phenomena that nevertheless have very varied impacts in different countries and regions worldwide.

These population dynamics are closely linked to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In developing countries, over 200 million women per year would like to avoid pregnancy but they do not use any modern methods of contraception. Every year over 300,000 women die as a result of complications during pregnancy and labour. Moreover, 2.5 million children do not survive beyond their first four weeks of life. 

Improving maternal and child health is essential for implementing a sustainable, gender-sensitive policy based on human rights.


The position of German development cooperation with regard to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the areas of population dynamics (PD) and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is strengthened at national and international level.

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The sector initiative focuses on three areas:

  • Advising the BMZ sectoral division on policy and technical issues 
    The sector initiative advises the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on technical matters and provides it with reports and concepts to be used in presenting, refining, implementing and communicating its development strategies. Priority areas include providing ongoing support to the BMZ Initiative on Rights-based Family Planning and Maternal Health and implementing the cross-cutting approach to population dynamics in line with BMZ’s 2014 position paper.
  • Providing technical support and advice on the implementation process 
    The sector initiative assists German development cooperation programmes with implementing BMZ positions, proven strategies and new instruments in the areas of PD and SRHR. It works with programmes in the partner countries to develop innovative approaches and support their implementation. The sector initiative documents, analyses and processes results, identifying lessons learned. Relevant topics include the integration of SRHR with universal health coverage (UHC) and the integration of demographic trends into the development policy and planning of partner countries. For this module, measures for social and political dialogue on demographic and economic data and projections are planned, along with skills development at demography authorities in French-speaking Africa. 
  • Networking with strategic partners and mainstreaming PD and SRHR 
    By engaging in strategic partnerships, the sector initiative helps to shape the international technical discourse on SRHR, PD and the right to health, and to consolidate expertise and resources for the implementation process. On behalf of BMZ, it collaborates with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) to draw up and implement the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. Furthermore, the sector initiative supports the German contribution to the SheDecides movement for sexual and reproductive rights. On behalf of BMZ, the sector initiative promotes exchange between like-minded governments in order to agree upon joint positions and strategies for negotiations within the EU and the United Nations, for example within the scope of German membership of the UN Commission on Population. 


The BMZ Initiative on Rights-based Family Planning and Maternal Health has helped give family planning and maternal health a higher priority in politics. As a result, Germany continues to be perceived internationally and in partner countries as a key actor in promoting SRHR. BMZ has positioned itself strategically with regard to the Global Financing Facility. Pilot measures for implementing the BMZ position paper on population dynamics have promoted the positioning of PD as a cross-cutting issue in development cooperation. Supporting and advising the national Ministry of Planning in Togo has enabled it to advise other ministries on PD. As a result, PD have been integrated into the Togolese national agriculture and education strategies. Through the support of the International Confederation of Midwives, the representation of midwives on health policy discussion bodies and the establishment of the Public Council on Midwifery Services by the Ministry of Health to develop midwife-specific guidelines were realised in Kyrgyzstan in collaboration with the GIZ project there.