TEHRAN (Bernama) – Iran’s population model can be a good example for Muslim and regional countries, said a resident representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mehmet Hulki Uz said in an interview with the Iran Daily published Thursday that he welcomed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s decree governing population issued in mid-May, Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
“The population policy was a well-prepared, evidence-based, scientifically supported and actionable policy document,” he said.
“The leader’s policy document came in time because we were saying you (Iranians) need a policy document on aging and need to look at the youth issue more comprehensively.”
The policy covers youth, aging, urbanisation and women householders.
Asked what incentives the government should introduce to encourage more couples to have children, Uz referred to the outcome of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt.
Over 180 states including Iran took part in negotiations at the conference to finalise a programme of action in the area of population and development for the next 20 years.
“According to the ICPD, incentives or disincentives are not recommended to any country but the decision and timing of having a child should be left to a couple,” Uz said.
“The UNFPA and ICPD documents say countries should only inform people of the realities and let them decide instead of forcing them to have children,” he said.
Uz noted that Iran has achieved the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality rate by 80 percent by 2015, and warned removal of family planning methods could lead to unwanted pregnancies and increase child and maternal mortality.
He cautioned an unplanned increase of population could have social and economic consequences particularly if fertility rate is at the highest level in the less developed parts of Iran.
On the Iranian Health Ministry’s policy of advocating natural childbirth following the announcement of the population policy, Uz said the ministry and UNFPA will launch a nationwide campaign beginning next year to promote natural births across the country.
“UNFPA works within every country’s cultural values, norms and beliefs,” he said.