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10 Jan 2017 - UNFPA & National Implementing Partners Review Achievement & Discuss Road Ahead

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Annual Programme Review Meeting of the sixth Country Programme between UNFPA and the national implementing partners was Co-Chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNFPA Representative, Dr. Leila Joudane on Wednesday 10 January 2018.  High level participation from all relevant national ministries and organizations provided a good forum to review the achievements and discuss the road ahead to achieve results.

Officials of the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI), University of Tehran (UT), & Ministry of Cooperative, Labor, & Social Welfare (MoCLSW ), Secretariat of National Council of Elderly, and the Ministry of Health & Medical Education (MOHME) presented their proposed activities and workplans for 2018  in details  for endorsement of the Co-chairs.  Some of the anticipated results to be achieved are the road map for ending preventable maternal deaths, establishment of a technical committee to develop the demographic dividend road map,  and  Iran hosting the regional ageing international forum .  Among others, rich exchange on mechanisms and lessons learnt for enhancing the inter sectoral collaboration between various implementing partners for achieving maximum results was also the highlight of the event. 

During this event, national officials also presented their 2017 achievements as a result of the joint programmes with UNFPA. Some of the notable results achieved in 2017 were Tabriz Statement as an outcome document of the Regional Forum advocating with policy makers to reaffirm their commitment to have right policies in place for older persons, the National Transfer Account Report which is an effective tool for analyzing the impact of changing population structure on economy, and offering variety of policy options for harnessing the first and second demographic dividend; as well as, responding effectively to the implications of population ageing , and report on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicator related to population and development including data gaps in  Iran.

During this long day event, Dr. Joudane also  introduced  UNFPA’s Strategic Plan (2018 – 2021) to the participants emphasizing on UNFPA’s   ultimate goal of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and potential of youth fulfilled.  She touched based on UNFPA’s global transformative results of ending unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal death, and ending violence against women and harmful practices. Dr. Joudane highlighted that UNFPA’s strategic plan calls for working together to deliver SDG goals and to be vocal about achievement of results.  Expressing her contentment, Dr. Joudane noted that Iran’s sixth Country Programme is aligned with UNFPA’s strategic plan and reaffirmed UNFPA’s commitment to help government achieve its development priorities. 

Dr. Joudane and her co-chair concluded the meeting by acknowledging the implementing partner’s collaboration and efforts in 2017 and wishing all a result-based 2018.



4 Dec 2017 - UNFPA & Australia Sign Direct Aid Programme

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UNFPA Iran Country Office is pleased to announce the acceptance of the application for funding under the Australian Direct Aid Programme (DAP). Today during the signing ceremony of the agreement, UNFPA Representative in Iran, Dr. Leila Joudane and Ambassador of Australia H.E. Mr. Ian Biggs reaffirmed their commitment to support HIV/AIDS programmes.  

The agreed activities are in line with the sustainable development principle of “leaving no one behind”, as it targets the most vulnerable and margalinzed population.   This is the second cooperation between UNFPA and Australia in Iran.



29 Nov 2017 - Syrian Delegation visits Iran’s midwifery and reproductive health programme

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A study tour, facilitated by UNFPA Iran, and consisting of a delegation of 17 participants from the Ministry of Health of Syria and UNFPA Syria, visited the midwifery and reproductive health programme of Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education from 25 to 29 November 2017.  Dr. Mohammad Afifi from the UNFPA Arab States Regional Office (ASRO) accompanied the delegation.

Participants visited the Dornian Basic Health Care Center in the south of Tehran, the Noor-Saadat pre-marital counseling center and 2 maternity hospitals. Prominent experts from the Ministry of Health and the Iranian Red Crescent Society presented Iran’s national reproductive health programme, the maternal health and the neonatal health programmes, the midwifery curriculum, as well as reproductive health in disasters.

Some members of the delegation, UNFPA Iran and UNFPA Syria met with Dr. Asadi Lari, the Acting Minister and Head of International Affairs in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.  The Head of the delegation, Dr. Reem Eskandar Al-Ateki pointed at cultural commonalities between the two countries.  Stressing on the devastating crisis in Syria and the migration of health providers, Dr. Al-Ateki expressed much interest in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Iran especially in areas of pre-marital counseling, maternal health and the experience of Iran in family planning.  

Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Iran Representative, and Dr. Omar Ballan, UNFPA Assistant Representative committed their support for the continuation of such exchanges, and hoped for future South-South collaborations between the 2 countries. Dr. Asadi Lari concluded the meeting on a positive note suggesting the preparation of a Plan of Action, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding in reproductive and maternal health between Iran and Syria.


29 Nov 2017 - University of Tehran & UNFPA Launch National Transfer Accounts Report

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Today the first National Transfer Account (NTA) report of the I.R. of Iran was jointly launched by UNFPA with the University of Tehran (UT). Experts and academia from various relevant entities attended the launching ceremony and participated in the rich technical panel discussion.  

Dr. Mahmoudian, UNFPA & UT Project Director opened the ceremony and explained the importance of analysis and correlating between population age structure and economy.  He explained how NTA provides in-depth analysis to inform policy makers for better socio-economic programmes and plans. Dr. Mahmoudian also announced the establishment of the secretariat of National Transfer Accounts at the Institute of Population Research with the support and UNFPA and UT for continue delivery results.

Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in her welcoming speech emphasized that it is the time for Iran to capitalize on the time-limited demographic window, and effectively utilize its educated and healthy human resources especially young women, to speed up socio-economic growth, and harness the first and second demographic dividend. Dr. Joudane referred to NTA  as an effective tool for analyzing the impact of changing population structure on economy, and offering variety of policy options for harnessing the first and second Demographic dividend as well as responding effectively to the implications of population ageing while ensuring investment in adult health, especially reproductive health and right of women along with the empowerment and social plans to guarantee productivity.   She reiterated UNFPA’s commitment to support NTA in 2018.

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Dr. Abbasi, renowned demographer as one of the direct officials involved in the NTA project highlighted Iran’s remarkable population changes in the last decades. He referred to the researchers conducted in this regard in the last three years.      He briefed the participants about the three phases of the NTA project in Iran. The first phase completed called for capacity building for calculating NTA, the second phase – today being the foremost session – refers to dissemination of preliminary results of NTA and the last phase due in 2018 will aim at bringing NTA results to the attention of policy makers through accurate and practical policy option.

Dr. Ghafari, Head of Social Sciences Department of UT congratulated his team for achievement of the first two phases and highlighted social and policy aspect as the two main dimensions of demography. Considering the demographic structure of Iran, he called for policy makers to consider the quality and quantitative aspect of population.


23 Nov 2017 - Discussion session with Donors & International Community on the 2017 State of World Population Report

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A technical briefing session was hosted for the donors and the international community on the 2017 State of World Population (SWOP) Report. The global launch of this United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) flagship report, entitled “Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality” coincided this year with the international day for eradication of poverty.

Ambassadors and representatives from a large number of embassies and international organizations including UN agencies participated in the session on Thursday 23 November 2017. Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in her welcome speech elaborated that the report aims to reflect on how sexual and reproductive health and rights may contribute to a fairer, more inclusive society, where everyone’s rights are respected. She quoted, Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA “our world is increasingly unequal, but this inequality is not only about money, it’ also about power, rights and opportunities’’ and underlined that if a woman or adolescent girl cannot enjoy her reproductive health and rights, then she cannot stay healthy, cannot complete her education, cannot find decent work, and cannot chart her own economic future to ultimately contribute to her society.

Dr. Joudane lauded Iran’s significant achievements in the health and education sectors and noted that efforts should continue to be made to sustain these achievements while addressing any disparities and inequalities. She elaborated on the current demographic profile – window of opportunity – positioning Iran with the largest number of young people for the next decade which is an asset for the country.  To fully benefit from this demographic window of opportunity, a life course continuum approach should be adopted to provide the youth and adolescent with the required knowledge and skills to remain in good health, to ensure healthy families, so that their effective participation in labor force is guaranteed and stable peaceful society ensured.

The global SWOP report was presented to the audience by Dr. Monire-Therese Bassir, UNFPA Programme Specialist and Dr. Kambiz Kabiri, UNFPA Programme Analyst. The report argued that while economic inequality may be improving between countries, it is worsening within many countries. In at least thirty-four (34) countries, gaps between the richest and poorest grew between 2008 and 2013. In many countries, a privileged few are rising to the top and are staying there, while the ranks of those at the bottom grow. Inequalities in reproductive health are linked to economic inequality. Within most developing countries, women in the poorest 20 per cent of the population have, for example, the least access to sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, while, women at the top of the wealth scale generally have access to a fuller range of high-quality services.

Following the presentation of the SWOP report, a thought-provoking discussion was held on the issues addressed in the report. Among  which issues of boys having to leave the school to take part in workforce, discrepancy between men and women in labor force, availability and access on primary health care coverage can be highlighted.  In addition possible areas of South-South and North-South collaboration with Iran was discussed.

Dr. Joudane concluded the session by thanking the distinguished participants for attending the session and emphasizing on the fact that stopping the present downward spiral of inequality globally requires a new vision, a vision for inclusive societies, where all human potential is realized. She added that this has been envisaged in the UNFPA Strategic Plan (2018-2021) and reiterated on UNFPA’s commitment to work with host governments, partners, donors and other United Nations agencies towards a future where no one is left behind, and where zero is the only acceptable number:

Zero maternal deaths,

Zero unintended pregnancies

and Zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.


15 Nov 2017 - UNFPA & Welfare Organization Join Hands to Conduct National Survey of Older Persons

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According to United Nations Population projection the proportion of older persons aged 60 years and above in Islamic Republic of Iran will reach to about 30 percent in 2050.  The government of Iran plans mainstream ageing related issues in the national and sectoral polices and plans.  Hence within the framework of UNFPA sixth Country Programme (2017 – 2021) to support the partners to fill existing data and information gaps for evidence-based policy formulation and planning in the area of population and development, conduct of a National Survey of Older Persons was envisaged.  With support of UNFPA, Prof.  Asghar Zaidi, the Professor of International Social Policy from University of Southampton facilitated a three day workshop (12-15 November 2017) to review the proposals and mechanics to conduct the national survey scheduled for early 2018.   The workshop brought full participation of various relevant organizations such as State Welfare Organization, Statistical Center of Iran, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, National Organization for Civil Registration as well as academia from University of Tehran and University and the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Science, showing the multi sectoral approach to older persons issues. 

The closing ceremony was held this morning in State Welfare Organization with presence of  Dr. Mohseni Bandpey, Deputy Minister and Head of State Welfare Organization ,  Dr. Salmannejad, Head of Secretariat for the National Council of the Older Persons, and  Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dr. Salmannejad, acknowledged UNFPA’s support towards ageing issues and emphasized on the importance of the national survey as a solid evidence for policy formulation for older persons. 

Dr. Khosheshi, the national expert to co-conduct the survey highlighted the importance of addressing ageing based on evidence and right data.  He elaborated on some significant technicalities of conducting the survey to ensure efficiency of data collection for better policy formulation and called for learning from international experiences once the results are out.   Dr. Khosheshi also referred to the current population pyramid of the country and related the growing ageing population to the good and dedicated services of the government in areas such as better health and education resulting in an increase in life expectancy.

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Dr. Joudane, UNFPA Representative in Iran expressed her deep condolences to all the Iranians and government of Iran specially the family members of the victims of deadly earthquake in Kermanshah and announced UNFPA readiness for any support if needed.  She expressed her contentment in positive steps taken together with relevant implementing partners to address ageing issues.  Having said that, she noted that timely undertaking of  such surveys are essential for policy formulation ensuring that the rights of older people are protected, their needs are fulfilled, and their dignity are retained.  Dr. Joudane lauded the high level and sophisticated discussions during the past three days on various characteristics and aspects of national survey as well as practical recommendations provided by the knowledgeable academics and Prof. Zaidi for conducting high quality survey.  While expressing confidence in  capacity of Iran’s academia as well as Statistical Centre of Iran  and other partners involved, she called for continuous quality control measures as an  essential measure to ensure that the result of survey provide precise information for policy makers to decide and plan.  Dr. Joudane reaffirmed UNFPA’s commitment and continuous support to this important exercise to reach to its final goal and objectives.

Dr. Bandpey also conveyed his deep condolences and announced that the Welfare Organization has provided support team to address post –traumatic issues to earthquake stricken areas.  He thanked all relevant stakeholders involved in addressing ageing issues and expressed special thanks to Dr. Joudane not only for UNFPA’s  support towards government of Iran to address ageing  but also offering helping hand during the current emergency.  Dr. Bandpey noted that ageing being a priority for the government should be addressed through a scientific approach and highlighted the feminization of ageing requiring special attention. He  stated that older person as compared to other population groups are more vulnerable because often they think that  they are left behind that their potential cannot be utilized.  Dr. Bandpay mentioned some significant achievements on ageing such as allocation of national budget line for the first time last year and noted that forums such as the Tabriz Regional Ageing Symposium & Soul Ageing Conference have advocated for more joint efforts with UNFPA to address the needs of older persons.  He also referred to the advocacy efforts with the parliament to establish right-based approach for addressing issues of older persons and increasing the budget allocation.

Last but not least, Prof. Zaidi provided practical recommendation related to the national survey questionnaire, sampling, data quality, pilot study, analysis and dissemination and elaborated on way forwards for efficient conduct of the national survey for older person in light of discussions during the last three days of the workshop.  Analysis of the survey results was noted as the most important step because it can lead to right policy formulation and should be done with strong gender lens.  Closing ceremony concluded with question and answers by experts from various organizations.


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