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Anticipated population decline in the next 50 years requires policy makers today to make necessary steps to strengthen human capital through improved education, healthy lifestyles, social protection and gender equality

Sarajevo, 8 December 2020 – United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the Agency of Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHAS), the Institute of Statistics of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FZS), and the Institute of Statistics of the Republika Srpska (RZS) have recently implemented Population Projections 2020-2070 and a Population Situation Analysis with the support of Sweden. . Both initiatives are essential for better understanding of demographic trends and represent evidence for the development of population policies that will ensure strengthening of human capital in the country.

“Population Situation Analysis has confirmed that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the country with “lowest low” fertility in the world (1.25), high-level migrations and population ageing as well as deeply rooted gender inequalities. By 2070, such demographic trends and inequalities will lead to a decline in total population by over 50% while demographic structure will be skewed towards older population (with their share in total population of over 40%). Sectors essential for socio-economic country development such as education, health care and social protection will be under serious threat of underperforming while labour market would experience a shortage of skilled workers and professionals. It is therefore of utmost importance that new solutions are found for increased investments in well-being, livelihoods, and opportunities for young people to thrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”, explained Mr. John Kennedy Mosoti, UNFPA Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

BHAS, FZS, and RZS believe that these initiatives are very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina. “In the current era of globalisation and availability of a large amount of information, official statistics have become a universal and the only understandable language for all decision-makers, businessmen, analysts and all other statistical data users, domestically and globally. It is a fact that demand for statistical data has been constantly rising, that increasingly more statistical indicators need to be measured, and that the quality of statistical data is insisted upon. Given that official statistics in B&H is part of both European and global statistics, it is very important that we constantly work on its further development and alignment with international statistical standards and recommendations.”, concluded Mr. Adnan Cerić, Deputy Director of Agency of Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The importance of reforms and strengthening of human capital was also emphasized by Mr. Torgny Svenungsson, Deputy Head of Mission in the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Young people are leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina to raise families in countries within the EU. So, what authorities in this country should do to keep the population from declining is implementing the reforms required for EU membership. They will benefit the population and transform society in a way that will make it more attractive to its citizens.” 

We call upon policymakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina to engage in the development of population policies that promote human capital and employment. The sooner the population policies are developed the higher the chance to revert negative demographic trends and create a prosperous and sustainable society for all citizens.

For more information contact: Majda Smajlović, UNFPA BiH, 061 171 673, prljaca@unfpa.org