PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government Friday formally launched its population policy aimed at stabilizing the population growth rate of the province, making efficient use of the available resources, setting population specific targets, objectives and an implementation frame work to control the highly unregulated population growth rate. Under the 18th constitutional amendment, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Government developed its first Population Policy which was approved by the provincial government in 2015. The proposed population policy advocates a holistic multi-sectoral approach to influence fertility, mortality and migration, as well as the size, structure and growth rates of the population are both a means to and outcomes of sustainable development. Shakeel Ahmad, Advisor to Chief Minister for Population Welfare was the chief guest at the launching ceremony held at PARD. The ceremony was also attended by members from National Assembly and Provincial assembly. Over the past four years Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has implemented reforms in the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Sector including policies, activities, financing mechanisms and evaluation systems. In collaboration with development partners, the provincial government has invested significant human and financial resources into creating a decentralized healthcare delivery system that was rooted in equity, access, data-driven flexibility and sustainability. The concerns spelt out in the policy pertained to problems associated with poverty, gender discrimination, environmental degradation, gross socio-economic inequities between rich and poor and between the urban and rural sections of the population. Furthermore premature mortality, the threat of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases etc, had also been also catered in the policy. The policy was more result oriented regarding creation of a balance in population size and per capita access to goods and services for sustainable development and improvement in quality of life. The policy is developed with the aim to develop a vision, recognize the existing problems, outline solution for the problems i.e. the implementation frame work and set population related targets medium and long term. The policy also envisaged promoting a prosperous, healthy, educated, and knowledge-based society where every pregnancywas planned, every child nurtured and cared for, and all citizens were provided with an opportunity and choice for improved quality of life as per their aspirations. The policy further envisaged high level of political commitment, resource allocation, mainstreaming population in the development process, good governance and leadership, accountability, Highly skilled, trained and motivated human resource and inter-sectoral collaboration. It also focused on teenage girls and adolescence, women empowerment, effective monitoring and evaluation, effective communication skills, expansion of services, linkages with other line departments, partners and community based organization, Public private partnerships, and the effective and meaningful use of the media. International and local researches constantly revealed the benefit of family planning to maternal health and child survival. This will be addressed by effective communication efforts of advocacy, motivation, counseling and care through easily available and affordable services. The government remains cognizant of the many issues that need to be addressed, including reducing the unmet need for family planning through universal accessibility of Family Planning and Reproductive Health services. The policy not only addressed Family Planning/Reproductive Health services and Rights but also considers the sustainable development milestones detailed in the Government of Pakistan’s national agreements including the Pakistan Vision 2025, FP-2020, and international plans of development such as Sustainable Development Goals. The policy has been developed at the opportune moment when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has embarked on decentralization. During this phase, adolescents and young adults were expected to play a major role at the forefront of this paradigm change towards a healthy and productive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for all. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 8.5% covered area of the country is occupied by 12.9 % of the country’s population. The increase in population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the last six decades is from 4.5 million in 1951 to 26.7 million in mid-2015 almost six time increase. This high growth rate evolved due to rapid decline in mortality rate and slow change in fertility rate since last four decades. It has resulted in youthful population in the age range of 15-29 population to around 31% in 2014. The 18th Constitutional amendment took place in 2010 and the Ministry of Population Welfare ceased to exist and its functions were devolved to the provinces under Population Welfare Departments. Naseem Hayat, Chairperson, Standing Committee for Population Welfare, members from academia, Government and Non-Government Organizations, as well as the representatives of the donor agencies attended.