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Promoting a viable population growth policy

Public Policy

The world population has witnessed a remarkable growth during the recent decades. In 1965, it stood at 3.3 billion people. In 2017 -52 years later- the global population reached a staggering 7.5 billion people corresponding to more than a doubling of the Earth’s residents over the last half-century.
Humans have been blessed with access to natural resources such as water, food and rare minerals that have been indispensable to the evolution and to the progress of humanity since time immemorial.
Nonetheless, the rapid increase of the world population is raising again Malthusian concerns. The Earth’s resources are finite and cannot sustain the current population growth rate in the long run; the Earth’s population is set to grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050.
“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”
This is tantamount to saying that world population during the post WWII century will increase 3 times as much since man’s appearance on our planet. A Native American saying reminds us that uncontrolled population growth and excessive use of resources can leave the world empty-handed:
“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”
The 2017 World Population Day is an important occasion to raise awareness on contemporary unsustainable consumption patterns.
According to the United Nations, this year’s World Population Day will coincide with the 2017 Family Planning Summit that will focus inter alia on family planning among the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable women.

Preventative family planning is a vehicle for promoting sustainable population growth and for enhancing the status of women.
The “Protection of the Family” resolution adopted on 22 June 2017 by the United Nations upholds international human rights standards on the right to life and the right to family life, and is a good starting-point to further promoting sustainable population growth through family planning.

Child marriage is considered as a major triggering factor worsening population pressure around the world. It is referred to as a major problem in numerous countries located in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and even in Europe.
The charity “Girls not Brides” estimates that 1 out of 3 girls in the developed world are married before the age of 18. It also estimates that approximately 700 million women alive today were married when they were children.
According to the World Bank and the International Centre for Research on Women, child marriage accelerates population growth as women marrying before the age of 18 are prone to having more children than women marrying at a later age. Child marriage also discourages women from pursuing higher education as their prospects of completing education diminishes drastically. In many cases, girls marrying at an early age are left with no other option than to drop out of school. This impedes the prospects for achieving economic empowerment owing to the marginalization of girls and of women.
Lack of access to family planning also remains a major concern in many countries. The 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action called upon member states of the United Nations (UN) to improve access to family planning services in an effort to resolve issues related to overpopulation.
The 1994 Cairo Declaration on Population & Development likewise called for constrained efforts to strengthen family planning particularly in the developed world. Nonetheless, the UNFPA estimates that approximately 225 million women “are not using safe and effective family planning methods.”
In order to address these challenges, I appeal to UN member States to implement concrete plans to address target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This target requires the world community to eliminate all forms of harmful practices including early and forced child marriage to advance the status of girls and women worldwide.
Addressing child marriage would further advance gender equality, increase access to education and improve the social status of girls and women. Child marriage is considered as a violation of human rights and must be eliminated in all its forms.
Enhancing family planning policies enables societies to cope with population pressures by bringing down the fertility rate to a sustainable level. This would improve the economic well-being of families and alleviate poverty and inequality. The economic burden on families would be reduced as there would be fewer mouths to feed.
However, countries should avoid implementing family planning policies reducing the fertility level below the 2.1 reproduction rate.
Addressing the depopulation of ageing advanced societies by fostering migration of population from high population growth developing countries is therefore key to optimizing growth potential and thus to move development forward.

(Dr. Hanif Hassan Al Qassim, is Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue).

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25 Comments on "Promoting a viable population growth policy"

  1. bobinget on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 9:05 am 

    In China leads the world in solar panel manufacturing and installation, the major producers are Trina, Yingli, China Sunergy Jinniu Energy, Suntech Power, and Hanwha SolarOne , CHINT Group Corporation and JA Solar Holdings.

    Similarly China is the largest manufacturer of Wind turbines since 2010, the market is dominated by Goldwind (19% market share), followed by Goudian (11% market share) and Mingyang (9% market share). Now these companies have also started to make their impact felt abroad.

  2. onlooker on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 9:31 am 

    I read the title and stopped reading. It should have said “Promoting a viable population reduction policy”. But no worry Nature has one

  3. Kenz300 on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 9:45 am 

    If you can not afford to provide for yourself you can not provide for a child.

    Having a child you can not provide for is cruel and only leads to more poverty, suffering and despair.

    How many charities are dealing with the same problems over and over again. It is time to deal with the cause and stop trying to put a band aide on the symptoms.

  4. penury on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 10:26 am 

    I am happy that more meetings will be held, after all if we had to take action rather than hold meetings, nothing would get done.

  5. Davy on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 10:33 am 

    Modern humans run into scale issues everywhere they look and population is no different. The reason for this is our state of overshoot is so great now. Maybe 50 years ago management of all our modern ills could have been possible. Now we have little time and the scale of the needs far too great for and manageable solutions. We are now at the point of triage and salvage.

    Goofy techno optimist dismiss there is a problem just like they dismiss long term economic growth ending. They see continued development and increasing human activity through efficiency and substitution. Alternative energy and development will eventually solve energy and population problems. Population and climate will likewise be managed through zero emission strategies. These zero emission strategies are mind games but they believe in it.

    As long as population rises no problems will have solutions. Population is beyond human management because there is no consensus of what overpopulation is. Religious organizations, economist, and politicians don’t see a problem. Scientist are conditioned to agree with them through self-censoring and convenient assumptions of techno development.

    We are on a crash course of failures. The time frame and locations are partially known but the unknown aspects are so great as to prohibit accurate predictions. We can be sure Asia and many third world areas are most at risk because this is where most of the population is and most of the growth will occur. Localized failure will lead to generalized failures so areas that are better positioned are not safe either. The developed world is in overshoot even with smaller less growing populations. Complexity is just as vulnerable as high aggregate population to failure. Combine the two and we have real disasters in the making. Most major urban areas are very vulnerable.

    There are no answers for this catch 22 of multiple predicaments. There are only efforts to mitigate and adapt but you would not know this by talking to most experts. It is only the brave that are honest about this situation. The brave are now thinking about life boats and hospices while the foolish talk about trips to mars and a renewable century.

  6. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 10:36 am 

    Make popcorn, put your feet up and watch the future of population control.

    Climate & Extreme Weather News #43 (July 10th to July 14th 2017)

  7. Sissyfuss on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 10:37 am 

    Unfortunately as the living conditions of Earth continue to deteriorate more will turn to religion as an ameliorating anesthetic which will lead to stronger message of procreating for God as an inescapable duty. A close loop of collapse ensues.

  8. Cloud9 on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 11:01 am 

    Let me assure you, after a couple of glasses of wine and her silk negligee hits the floor, population overshoot is the first thing on my mind.

  9. tahoe1780 on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 11:27 am 

    Denial / Cognitive Barrier –

  10. onlooker on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 11:29 am 

    The truth is short of some intentional WMD plan to eliminate billions yes billions, our current population or even substantially less cannot be sustained much longer. The trend lines of the degradation of the Environment of this planet and rising population keep getting worse in terms of the sustaining these human population levels. Thus large human die off is inevitable

  11. onlooker on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 1:54 pm 

    Makati, continuing our mutual interrogation, the fertilizer and pesticide use has not been getting less but more as diminishing returns require more application and populations continue growing and Globalization/Capitalism became more ubiquitous and ingrained around. This all translates to soils which are inert/dead ie. dead beneficial microbes. So how will the overpopulated Asian countries like Philippines feed itself once access to synthetic fertilizer and pesticides trails off? Remember also the water tables aquifers are quickly being emptied. Also, poor countries are not equipped to handle epidemics or pandemics. These could occur at any moment. See

  12. onlooker on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 1:55 pm 

    oops around the world

  13. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 1:55 pm 

    Weather pushes Ontario farmers to brink of disaster

    “No matter how old you are, we haven’t seen weather like this,” Whittington added. “Last year, we had the driest summer in a hundred years and now we have the wettest in 150 years.”

    Warmer Arctic harms crops in US, Canada: study

    Just a matter of years before the panic hits.

  14. Hubert on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 2:19 pm 

    Same old news everyday. I have pretty much given up on these governments to solve any of the problems facing us.

    We may begin to some major collapse taking place in the next 30 years.

  15. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 3:22 pm 

    First Half of 2017 Hottest on Record for Parts of U.S. Sunbelt

    “From the deserts of Arizona to the swamps of the Chesapeake, 2017 has already been a memorably scorching year—and it’s only half over. The first six months of 2017 were the second warmest on record for the contiguous U.S. (behind only 2012) in observations going back to 1895, according to NOAA’s national climate summary for June. The nation is well synched with the planet as a whole, which has been running second only to 2016 for its warmest year on record.”

  16. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 3:23 pm 

    Europe smashing all time heat records: Parts of Spain to hit 47 deg C 117 deg F today with parts of Italy and Greece hitting mid 40’s

  17. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 6:19 pm 

    River Towns in Illinois Brace: ‘Flooding of This Magnitude Has Not Been Seen Before’

  18. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 6:33 pm 

    The uncomfortable truth: The Great Barrier Reef is doomed

    Charlie Veron is the world’s leading expert on coral reefs. His prognosis for the future of the Great Barrier Reef, and the world, is dire.

    “and thus more likely to cope with climate change – the cataclysmic wrath of which will be upon us, Veron believes, in 10 to 15 years.

    “We have crossed a bridge now, and we have burnt it,” he says, ”

    As per usual the biologists are 100 times more doomy than media darling computer climate modellers.

  19. Makati1 on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 6:57 pm 

    Onlooker, Commenting on ‘supposed’ conditions in the Philippines while referencing an article about China, is NOT proof of your assertions. And the source of the China article is a Washington DC think tank.(WIKI) Do your homework if you expect me to take you seriously.

    Give me a good reference to the ACTUAL growing use of pesticides/chemical fertilizers in the PHILIPPINES TODAY (not 10 years ago) and I might agree with you. Otherwise, like most Americans, you have no idea of the conditions here. Only the U$ propaganda that is fed to you and it is so slanted/spun that it is mostly fiction.

    Comparing conditions in the Ps to those in China is like comparing conditions in Burmuda to those in the U$. Not even close. But, they are separated by about the same amount of ocean. lol

  20. Davy on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 7:04 pm 

    makati, I suppose you think the P’s does not use pesticides are something. I think you need to do more than homework. You need your head examined.

  21. Makati1 on Sat, 15th Jul 2017 8:45 pm 

    Davy, you need the homework, not me. Chemicals take money. A thing in short supply here.

    Many pesticides are banned in the Ps that are used widely in the U$. Yes, there are some used, but mostly on corporate mono culture farms like palm oil for export, not those of average farmers here. You may need to use chemicals, but many in the world do not and cannot. Get educated and come back with a good rebuttal.

    You might find this U$ pesticide site useful:

    Filipinos are moving forward: (five years of progress since that article)

    Difficult to find any facts on the use of chemicals in the Ps in the last 5 to 10 years as it is not a big thing here for most of the population.

  22. Davy on Sun, 16th Jul 2017 5:06 am 

    makati, the P’s uses chemical herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides or are you telling me the country is a permaculture country with no industrial agriculture. You are off the deep end of unreality. It is getting worse with time and now even your buddies are calling you out. Yet, you continue to trumpet you found a refuge from the ills of modern life. Anyone with a brain knows you are full of shit.

  23. Davy on Sun, 16th Jul 2017 5:06 am 

    “Agrochemical use in the Philippines and its consequences to the environment”

    “Agriculture has been the traditional backbone of the Philippines’ economy and farming is still by far the most common form of employment in the country. The current industrial agriculture system promotes the reliance on agrochemicals, both synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, while neglecting to consider their negative effects on the economy of local communities, human health and the environment. The widespread use of irrigation, agrochemicals and new seeds have largely increased agriculture production, but this model of agricultural growth is flawed because of declining crop yields and massive environmental impacts. According to the recent Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) data, between 1961 and 2005 fertilizer applications in the Philippines increased by 1000%, while yields of rice and maize increased only by 200 and 280% respectively, and the yield of pulses remained about the same. From 1977 to 1987 pesticide use increased by 325%, while rice yield increased by only 30%. Pesticide imports have continued to increase, while rice and corn yields have increased at a much smaller rate. Poverty in rural areas is not being reduced in the Philippines, and it affects many smallholding farmers. However, farmers are still encouraged to spend heavily in seeds and agrochemical inputs (the main expenditure in farms is agrochemical inputs: 65% for fertilizer and 18.2% for pesticides). After the introduction of high yielding varieties of seeds in the 70s, indigenous rice was almost eradicated and farmers have lost ownership of the seeds they grow. In general, the excessive and inappropriate use of chemical fertilizers in crop soils cause land degradation and losses in soil fertility worldwide. Moreover, agrochemicals cause water pollution that directly and indirectly affects human health. According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), 37% of the total water pollution originates from agricultural practices, which include animal waste and fertilizer and pesticide runoff. Water pollution from nitrates derived from fertilizer runoff is more widespread in the Philippines than previously thought. For example, a recent analysis by Greenpeace of groundwater in Benguet and Bulacan Provinces found that 30% of the tested artesian wells had nitrates levels above the World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water safety limit. Other studies have also found high levels of nitrates around sweet pepper farms in the Manguang area in Ilocos Norte. The greatest risk of nitrate poisoning is considered to be the ‘blue baby syndrome’ or methemoglobinemia, which occurs in infants given nitrate-laden water, and affects particularly babies under 4 months of age. Moreover, anyone drinking from a contaminated well could be vulnerable to the long-term effects of nitrates, such as various types of cancer.”

  24. Hubert on Sun, 16th Jul 2017 7:24 am 

    We are living through some interesting times. Unfortunately, a lot of us maybe around to see the demise of the Oil Age. It’s hard to imagine a world without oil.

  25. Harquebus on Sun, 16th Jul 2017 6:04 pm 

    “sustainable population growth” Ha!

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