ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Population Welfare would expand reproductive health services in the rural areas through increased cooperation between ministries, a robust private public partnership and the adoption of 'Birth Spacing as an important health intervention. Secretary Ministry of Population Welfare (MOPW) Shaukat Hayat Durrani stated this speaking at the inaugural session of 10th annual conference of Population Association of Pakistan (PAP) here on Tuesday. He said that the initiative has been taken to create awareness and ensure reproductive health services to every citizen at doorstep. The conference was organised by PAP in collaboration with Fatima Jinnah Women University with a theme of Population, Peace and Development. In his opening remarks, Dr. Saeed Shafqat, President, Population Association of Pakistan called the conference a landmark. He said that the need to manage the population was now even more urgent and issues of reproductive health, especially provision of safe contraceptive services, must be at the forefront of future planning. Saeeda Asad Ullah Khan, Vice Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi complemented the association for holding this years conference. She said that the sessions at this years conference would focus the issues faced by Pakistan and present a structured strategy to deal with these challenges. The university also encourages learning, teaching, research and dissemination of information and is well positioned to take forward the goals of the conference, she said. In his keynote address, Dr Kaiser Bengali, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Sindh said the theme of this years conference was important in the context of the challenges faced by Pakistan with its unequal society and alarming population growth. He said that there is a deficit in society and economic growth which cannot be sustained without a stable population. He added that peace and development occurs when all sections have a say in society and for this a stable democratic government was imperative. Collective decisions and benefits and cost to a society are very important, he said. Casper Peek, Senior Programme Advisor UNPA, spoke on rapid urbanisation and its advantages to the future growth of Pakistan. He said this 'Demographic Change would require investment in education and creation of employment opportunities. Pakistan has a lot to offer the world but new ideas are required to meet the unique challenges it faces, he commented. Founded in the year 2000, PAP is working to disseminate knowledge of research within the scientific community in Pakistan. It also provides a platform for policy makers, researchers and development partners to deliberate upon population and related issues that have a bearing on the overall development of the country.