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    Regional Seminar on Fertility Transition in Asia: Opportunities and Challenges

    Project ID: DE-004 Status: Completed

    Remarkable success has been achieved in the reduction of fertility in Asia. The total fertility rate (TFR) in the region has dropped to 2.3 births per woman by 2005. This regional average, however, masks considerable difference in the TFR observed among subregions. The TFR has plummeted to below replacement level in East and North-East Asia, and North and Central Asia (1.7 births per woman). In sharp contrast, South and South-West Asia exhibit a total fertility rate of 3.0 births per woman, while in South-East Asia the total fertility rate is 2.3 births per woman. Several countries in Asia now belong to the extremely low fertility category, with the fertility level of Hong Kong, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Macao, and Singapore falling at critically low level of below 1.5 children per woman. It is also to be noted that almost all countries in the region have begun fertility transition.

    Country experiences reveal that various factors have contributed to the decline in fertility. In some countries, socio-economic development has played a major role in fertility decline, while in others strong family planning programmes � in the absence of development � have been successful in fostering fertility decline. It has, however, been highlighted that sustainable fertility decline occurred in countries with higher human development index. By contrast, fertility decline had slowed down or even stalled in countries where fertility transition began at lower level of human development index.

    Drawing from the experience of various countries in the region, this regional seminar was organized by UNESCAP to provide an overview of fertility transition in Asia. It examined the role of socio-economic development versus programmes and policies adopted by countries to reduce fertility, as well as the reasons for hindering fertility decline in countries with relatively high fertility levels. Finally, the seminar highlighted new issues and challenges faced by countries at various stages of fertility transition and suggest key policy recommendations for action.

    The seminar was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 18 to 20 December 2006, as a component of the UNESCAP project entitled �Population, Development and Poverty: Emerging Challenges� approved by UNFPA for the 2004-2007 cycle. Dr. Abeykoon, IHP Fellow, contributed as a consultant to UNESCAP in the organization of the seminar, and also presented a paper on �Fertility Transition in Sri Lanka: The Determinants and Consequences.�

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     Project at a glance  Project team
    Start Date: Oct 2006
    End Date: Dec 2006
    Themes: Demography
    Sponsor(s): UNESCAP
    Client: UNESCAP
    IHP Staff: APTL Abeykoon
     Location  Further information
    Region: Sri Lanka
    Country(s): Sri Lanka
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    Related IHP research:

    External links:
    UNESCAP Seminar on Fertility Transition in Asia: Opportunities and Challenges


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