Nepal has witnessed many important demographic changes over the last 20 years due to declining fertility and mortality rates, increasing life expectancy, increasing age at marriage and large volume of both internal and international migration.
Large volumes of labour migration from Nepal within and outside country have brought about new dynamics in demography and development. Nepal has recently completed major surveys and the census such as National Population and Housing Census 2011, Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2011, Nepal Adolescents and Youth Survey 2010/11, Nepal Living Standard Survey 2010/11, Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2010, Nepal Labour Force Survey 2008/09, among others have discovered different dynamics of population characteristics. These sources have produced valuable information for dissemination to a large audience for academic, policy and programme benefits.
Nepal is experiencing many new population and development issues that are beneficial to explore, share and document to inform academicians, policy makers and development practitioners. The population and development issues documented in International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 1994 are still relevant and important to continue. Some, but not the exhaustive, issues that prevail in Nepal are demographic dynamics - fertility, mortality and migration, demographic transition, age-sex structure including youth bulge and senior citizens, demographic materials and methods; sexual and reproductive health and rights; family planning; poverty; human rights; gender equality and mainstreaming; social inclusion; environment and government policies and programmes. None of these issues are exclusive but reinforcing. The ICPD 1994 also stressed on organizing regular forum to advocate on population and development related issues. Moreover, at the time we are approaching to the deadlines of ICPD 2014 and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015, it is always appropriate to discuss and build common understanding among national stakeholders on key aspects of population and sustainable development issues to inform agenda setting for national development priorities and targets for the post ICPD and MDG Development Frameworks.
In the context of regular international, regional and national conferences, it is worthwhile to convene academicians, policy makers, development practitioners and other stakeholders in Nepal and provide an opportunity to share research findings and best practices. Organizing a conference in Nepal has three major benefits to cherish. First, it will provide opportunities for Nepali scholars to share their research findings and best practices in the larger audience. It will also help them to build their capacity and expose themselves. Second, it will encourage population and development discourse which will have a long term impact. Third, it will have policy and academic inputs for government, universities and other development stakeholders. In fact, conference is an important platform to explore, discuss and advocate the emerging issues on population and sustainable development.