Development planning can take different modes and have various facets, but whether it is on the individual, professional, urban or country level, it cannot be done independent of the person.
In effect, no meaningful development can take place without situating the human being at the centre.
The importance of this fact, fortunately, has not been lost on the world, as the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development placed human rights and dignity at the core of the global development agenda.
More progress has been achieved since then. To further strengthen the central place of the human being in development agendas around the world, the United Nations again reaffirmed the need for universal access to reproductive health by agreeing to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
It is against this background that the third Africa-China Conference on Population and Development, the first outside China, was opened in Accra yesterday.
The Daily Graphic sees Ghana, and for that matter Africa, to be fortunate to be part of this conference, especially as it is spearheaded by China, a country that has many years of experience to share with its friends as far as population planning and development is concerned.
Data indicates that the population of sub-Saharan Africa alone is projected to double by 2050 and that five countries out of the nine whose populations are projected to make up half of the global population are in Africa.
But this is the period of unbridled exploitation of non-renewable resources.
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The conference in Ghana to discuss population data management and sustainable development within the context of South-South cooperation is, therefore, of great importance to developing countries, particularly Ghana.
It is the hope of the Daily Graphic that the conference will discuss challenging demographic realities that confront especially the developing world, such as the rapidly growing youthful populations in Africa and the ageing populations in countries such as China, all with the ultimate aim of enhancing the lives of the people.
We also want to draw the attention of the conference participants to the fact that funding for development issues, such as on population, by donors and development partners is gradually dwindling.
For countries such as Ghana that are in the middle-income bracket and inching towards a higher status, funding for population activities is likely to cease totally and this calls for a deliberate and focused political and economic priority on population, so that we do not find ourselves wanting a few years to come.
It will be interesting for participants to learn from China how it was able to manage its population explosion many years ago.
We rather caution that in choosing what policy to adopt to control and manage our populations, we do not concentrate only on how to just reduce our population but also manage it in such a way that we do not end up experiencing what China is facing with an increase in its ageing population, with its own repercussions.
In this regard, we add our voice to that of the Vice President, whose speech was read on his behalf by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, in urging participants to find innovative ways to improve data production systems to be able to use them effectively to factor population issues into our development planning.