The new IUSSP Council met 30-31 January 2014 at IUSSP Secretariat headquarters at the Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED) in Paris. The Council tackled a packed agenda for its first meeting. As incoming Secretary General and Treasurer and first time member of the IUSSP Council, I was aware of the enormity of the task that awaited me and fully appreciated the implication and dynamism of the Council members and the Secretariat. Under the firm and attentive chairmanship of Anastasia Gage, the Council members deliberated for two full days. The first order of business was for the new council members to get acquainted and familiarize the new “green” Council members with the association’s multiple activities. Among the many points on the agenda, IUSSP research and training activities were at the center of the discussion.
After listening to the very positive report about the Busan International Population Conference (2,100 participants, 268 sessions, 984 oral presentations, 485 posters), we were tasked with deciding the venue for the 2017 Conference. Two countries proposed to host the 2017 Conference during the Busan Conference: South Africa and India. Taking into consideration the formal proposals submitted in December 2013, the Council decided to accept the proposal from South Africa, contingent upon a successful site inspection tour (see related article). The proposal from India also received much interest and the Council actively encouraged the Indian members to resubmit their project in 2016 for the 2021 Conference. The decision for the 2021 Conference host will be made in early 2017. The Council decided to move up the dates for bids by one year, as 4 years is now the minimum amount of time required to adequately organize such a meeting and assure the availability of conference facilities.
The second item on the agenda concerned the Scientific Panels. Three new panels were created on spatial demography, historical demography and language and population studies, and the mandates of six panels created by the previous Council were extended by one to two years. At the end of 2014, seven panels will complete their mandate. The Council, therefore, decided to send out a call for new panel proposals addressing nine priority themes (link to call for panel suggestions here). In early 2015, the Council will select several new panels from the suggestions received from the membership.
Seminars organized by the IUSSP Scientific Panels are irreplaceable as a venue for discussion and exchange on population research and policy questions. These meetings, however, can only include a small number of researchers. The Council has thus begun to think about other types of structures and activities that will enable a maximum number of members to be informed about and participate in debates of interest to demographers and those working in the population field. For instance, the IUSSP website could host forums or blog pages dedicated to topics of particular interest to members. As a pilot, it was decided to start a forum on population ageing. We will keep you informed of future developments.
The Council also reviewed the past training activities the IUSSP has undertaken with funding from UNFPA and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Open distance learning materials-- Tools for Demographic Estimation and Population Analysis for Policies and Programmes--developed with funding provided by UNFPA are now available on the IUSSP website. The IUSSP has also collaborated on a project to reinforce demographic training in Francophone Africa, organizing training workshops on advanced statistical methods and Q-GIS in Dakar, Marrakech, Ouagadougou, and Yaoundé. This project has been refinanced by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to continue on through to 2015.
Reinforcing ties with regional population associations (ALAP, APA, EAPS, PAA, UAPS) was next on the agenda. The Council decided that IUSSP should have a more regular presence at conferences organized by these associations. IUSSP will set up a stand to present IUSSP activities and IUSSP Scientific Panel’s will be asked to organize a special IUSSP session at these conferences. The regional associations will in return be given a dedicated page on the IUSSP website to advertise their activities and they will be asked to organize sessions at the IUSSP general Conference in 2017.
The Council strongly encouraged the IUSSP officers to make use of IUSSP’s special consultative status with the United Nation’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This status gives IUSSP the right to participate in and present statements on issues concerning population questions at meetings organized by the United Nations and associated UN bodies. Using this prerogative, Anastasia Gage made a statement at the most recent meeting of the Commission on Population and Development this past April.
Finally the Council had the pleasure to bestow the 2014 IUSSP Laureate on Thérèse Locoh.
Many other subjects were discussed at this first meeting: the new website, publication policy, new potential funding sources to assure the continuation of IUSSP activities, and the 2013 accounts, which were formally approved by email in May. For maximum efficiency, the Council members were assigned to serve on one of seven committees (list and membership below). These committees have already begun their work. Future issues of this newsletter will enable you to keep abreast of each committee’s progress.
Publication Committee: Ann Biddlecom, Øystein Kravdal, Parfait Eloundou Enyegue, Sureeporn Punpuing, France Meslé, (Paul Monet -Secretariat).
Fundraising Committee: Sajeda Amin, Ann Biddlecom, Anastasia Gage, Øystein Kravdal (Mary Ellen Zuppan - Secretariat).
Training Committee: Parfait Eloundou Enyegue, Fatima Juarez, Sajeda Amin, Tom LeGrand (Mary Ellen Zuppan - Secretariat).
Website Committee: David Lam, Tom Moultrie, Tom LeGrand, France Meslé (Philippe Migrenne - Secretariat).
Constitutional Amendment Committee: Tom Moultrie, Edith Pantelides, France Meslé (Paul Monet - Secretariat).
Steering Committee for the 2017 International Population Conference: Tom Moultrie, Parfait Eloundou Enyegue, France Meslé, Tom LeGrand, Anastasia Gage (Mary Ellen Zuppan - Secretariat).
Committee for the Call for suggestions for Scientific Panels: Tom Moultrie, Edith Pantelides, Fatima Juarez, Ann Biddlecom, Anastasia Gage (Paul Monet- Secretariat).