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The UNFPA’s 2015 State of World Population Report was officially launched in a ceremony held in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran. The event was jointly organized by UNFPA, Disaster and Emergency Health Academy of Tehran Medical University as well as the Demography Department of the University of Tehran.

This year’s UNFPA report proposes a new vision for humanitarian response in crisis settings, placing particular emphasis on the needs of women and adolescent girls in such situations. 

High officials from various Government entities, academia, United Nations agencies as well as diplomatic corps participated in the launching ceremony and shared their views on this important topic.

In the opening session, Prof. Mahmoudian from University of Tehran; Mr. Saeidi, Deputy for Preventive Measures of the National Disaster Management Organization; Mr. Sivanka Dhanapala, UNHCRRepresentative; Dr. Nourbakhsh, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Dr. El-Adawy, UNFPARepresentative delivered speeches about the various aspects of humanitarian actions in today’s crisis-prone world.

Mr. Saeidi reminded the audience of the I.R. Iran being among the ten most disaster prone countries, and mentioned that rapid urbanization and increasing population density are among key factors that could potentially raise vulnerability in humanitarian situations. Mr. Saeidi, called for more attention to the needs of women, girls, older persons and people with disabilities, as the most vulnerable groups in emergencies.

Dr. El-Adawy stated that preventive and preparedness measures should be placed as top priorities of any response plan, particularly related to reproductive health needs of women and adolescent girls. Highlighting the importance of attending to these needs, she shared her personal experiences related to the RH response in several crisis zones. Dr. El-Adawy stated that UNFPA is delivering an increasing share of its services in emergencies, and has responded to crises in 38 countries in 2014.

The fact that the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons have increased during the past five years in the Asia and Pacific region was brought to light by Mr. Dhanapala, UNHCR Representative. He noted that today over 60 million refugees are suffering from mega crisis. Although development process has accelerated, the world is lagging behind in response to humanitarian crisis.

Following the speeches, a brief summary of the 2015 State of World Population Report was presented by Ms. Ahmadzadeh, Assistant Representative of UNFPA.

In continuation, two technical panel discussions were conducted, the first on data and demographic implications of disasters and the second on health in emergencies. It was emphasized that conducting appropriate socio-demographic analysis to mitigate the impacts of emergencies is essential.

Collecting and generating relevant data and establishing integrated data banks, improvement of inter sectoralcoordination as well as recognition of opportunities and challenges in the country to empower resource mobilization efforts are among the several practical recommendations considered in the wrap up session of this event.