Updated September 2000
Valid until December 2001
As of January 2002, renamed Population and Development Service (SDWP)
The Population Programme Service (SDWP) was established in 1995 within the Women and Population Division of the Sustainable Development Department. The work of this Department focuses on key dimensions of sustainability which concern natural and human processes, their interrelations and their impact over time: research and technology; agricultural extension and training; monitoring and management of natural resources; rural development and poverty alleviation; as well as population related factors such as gender and people's participation.
"Population" is understood in a broad manner, as in the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Substantively, activities of the Service focus on the interrelations between population factors, the biophysical environment and socio-economic and cultural factors as seen from a sustainable development perspective:
Examples of relevant interactions can be given:
Further to the identification and analysis of interrelations between population and rural development and of their policy and programme implications, the Service applies communication techniques to these issues. This is in order to develop and implement communication strategies into rural development and extension activities that take into account the gender and socio-cultural specificity of the target populations.
In order to meet the requirements of the World Food Summit Plan of action, in which population issues are an integral part of the analysis and action orientations, the Sustainable Development Department has identified the work on population and food security as one of the priorities for its medium and long term plans of work.
The Service provides on request relevant information and advice to countries and to FAO's Governing Bodies and promotes the implementation of those aspects of the ICPD Programme of Action which correspond to FAO's mandate, in particular those related to population and sustainable development. This means first encouraging in-house integration and mainstreaming of population considerations to all relevant technical areas of FAO; this is done by sensitizing agriculture, fisheries and forestry experts to the importance and relevance of population issues in their activities (e.g. socio-demographic structures and spatial distribution, population changes through time and space as relevant to food security and the sustainable use of natural resources).
The Service also synthesizes the experience of FAO and other institutions in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries relevant for population related activities and brings it to the attention of policy makers, programme designers and other users concerned with population, food security and rural development issues.
The Service participates actively in the Technical Support System (TSS) set up by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and specialized UN agencies. In close collaboration with the participating agencies, its staff provides technical assistance to the formulation and implementation of UNFPA-funded field projects, thus contributing to build national capacities for population activities; it also provides UNFPA Country Support Teams with methodological and information support. In this way, the TSS system provides coherent and synchronized inter-agency and multi-sectorial response to identified country needs. Finally, the Service co-ordinates the implementation of FAO/UNFPA intercountry projects, which currently focus on the integration of population concerns into education programmes for rural youth, community forestry programmes, and fishery policy planning.
More information on the activities and outputs of the Service can be found at:
The full text of population documents produced by FAO can also be found at:
United Nations POPIN system
Population Programme Service (SDWP)
Sustainable Development Department (SD)
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
Tel: +39 06 570 54852
Fax: +39 06 570 55490