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It is a great pleasure to be here today to launch four reports on Census Thematic Analysis and Sustainable Development Indicators. I know that these reports are the results of tremendous efforts of various experts, led by the Statistical Research and Training Center of Statistical Center of Iran. I would like to take this opportunity and express my sincere gratitude to SCI and SRTC for leading this effort, and all the experts who contributed to these important reports.

I would also like to congratulate our colleagues in SCI for the continuous efforts to analyze the data collected to inform decision makers, and today is another important steps reached by SCI, as you will today launch 3 important in depth analysis of the census. In the current context of demographic transition in the Islamic Republic of Iran, It is evident that youth, gender and ageing are the main topics that decision makers need to pay attention. This transition draws various implications for socio-economic development. It is essential for policy- and decision-makers to understand and analyze the implications, identify opportunities and challenges that such transition offers, and initiate solutions to adapt to this population dynamic.

The current age structure of the country comprised of a majority of healthy and educated youth and working age population. This is about 70 percent of Iran’s population, which will remain the majority for the next three decades. The current demographic situation can provide an opportunity for the country to accelerate economic growth and reap the demographic dividend. The first dividend could also pave the way to 2nd demographic dividend in a near future when almost 30 percent of the country’s population will be over 60 years of age. In the same time there is a potential for gender dividend as in Iran, young women are educated and healthy to contribute to the development of the society.

This demographic situation is a result of progress and big achievement in many areas particularly reproductive health and education. You need to celebrate this achievement. but in the same time, investment in the capacities of current youth population by offering right skills training, ensuring sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, improving employability, and empowering women and young people to increase participation in labour market through effective policies such us social and family friendly policies, are essential for harnessing the first, second and gender demographic dividend in Iran. This is in line with the Population Decree of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the general policies of resilient economy, in which, investment in youth and empowerment of young generation are encouraged.

I am confident that our distinguished scholars will explain all these technical matters later today in their speeches while presenting the main findings of the reports. For my part, I would like to reiterate the importance of availability of sound and updated analysis to inform policies. This is crucial for the country at this time.

Filling the data gaps for sustainable development, producing sound analytic reports to explain the opportunities and challenges toward harnessing the demographic dividend, and contributing to formulation of evidence-based policies are in the core of our country programme in Iran.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, remains committed to supporting the efforts of governments to empower the greatest assets, young people and women, who can help us, move closer to our shared vision for a better future.

I hope that you enjoy listening to the findings of the reports and wish you all a very fruitful discussion today.
Thank you.