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  1. 1

    Address before the Second Committee of the General Assembly at its 48th Session on agenda item 96: International Conference on Population and Development.

    Mahran M

    [Unpublished] 1993. 4 p.

    This speech by Dr. Maher Mahran, Egyptian Minister for population and family welfare, before the 48th UN general assembly on November 4, 1993, pertained to his remarks on the Annotated Outline for the UN Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo in 1994. Brief comments were made about conference preparations and conference facilities progress. The following recommendations were made to strengthen wording on the link between development and population and to use this link as a major thematic area. 1) The analysis of the impact of consumption patterns on economic growth and sustainable development should be expanded to addressed whether degradation of the environment and depletion of resources is due to the consumption patterns of the rich or to greater population numbers. The goal should be to attain reasonable consumption patterns for developed and developing nations. 2) The link between structural adjustment and poverty reduction needs to be included in the draft document; national reports should document the effects of structural adjustment on their economies. 3) The link between rural development and sustained economic growth should be made in the final document. 4) Male responsibilities and participation in population programs must be detailed in a separate chapter, not just in paragraph 17. More research and resource allocation needs to be directed to this area. 5) The active participation of the private sector and local communities should be secured; a definition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is needed. 6) Chapter IV, subchapter A with Chapter XI should be combined with chapter IV, subchapter B as a separate entity; and chapter IV, subchapter C should be merged with chapter V. Chapters V and VI, chapters VII and VIII, chapters IX and X, and chapters XI and XII should be combined. 7) Greater emphasis needs to be placed on closing the gender gap and on implementing Safe Motherhood education programs, programs increasing women's status, programs linking ethics and population, programs for the elderly, and education in environmental protection and population. Finances, sovereignty, and NGO's freedom to experiment are other important issues. Egypt provides the example of a success story.
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  2. 2

    Population: a red herring in the environment debate.

    Kilby P

    DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN. 1992 Jul; 24:2-4.

    The Earth Summit was meant to be the culmination of the environment debate around the world. The fact is that its reductionist agenda did not provide a comprehensive analysis of human interaction with the environment. The United States refused to have the issue of population linked with poverty in the Third World and over-consumption in the First World. The lifestyle of the United States was not up for negotiation. That population was not discussed is seen by many as a major failure of the Earth Summit. Population growth is one element in a complex series of interactions affecting the environment, of which resource consumption levels are clearly the most important. The issue of population growth is not presented in terms of resource sustainability, equity, or access, but rather simply by the assertion that there are too many people in the Third World. The population debate is often presented in a way counter to the principle of women's autonomy. While gender equity issues are about choice, much of the debate on population is about control. The discussions of population policies seldom mention the third most populous country, the United Stats, characterized by high consumption and inefficient use of technology. The UN Development Program's Human Development Index shows than on energy use and greenhouse emissions, the developing world's per capita contribution is 1/10th and 1/5th, respectively. The world's population could reduce by the 1 or 2 billion poorest people and have very little impact on the environmental crisis facing the world. A better way of presenting population issues is to relate gross energy consumption to population, focusing on countries with high populations and over-consumption such as the United States, Japan, Europe, and Australia. The First World has to start looking inward at its own unsustainable consumption and population practices.
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  3. 3

    Population policy at a crossroads. Will world conference signal new directions for U.S.?

    McCarty L; Sherman D

    ZPG REPORTER. 1994 Jun; 26(3):1, 3.

    In September 1994 in Cairo, at the third population conference hosted by the United Nations, world leaders will be asked to approve a plan that could stabilize the world population at about 8 billion people by the middle of the next century. Participants will consider interrelated issues: population growth, access to family planning, women's empowerment, sustainable development, poverty, consumption, and the environment. This campaign for a more equitable world is likely to continue after Cairo, with the UN-sponsored social summit in Copenhagen and a women's conference in Beijing slated for next year. The Cairo International Conference on Population and Development will require a new approach to sustainability by balancing environmental protection, economic development, and present and future human needs. The United States has only 5% of the world's population, but it uses 25% of the world's commercial energy, produces more garbage and waste than any other country, and generates 21% of all carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. Demands for energy, water and food already cannot be met as natural resources are being exhausted at an alarming rate. The fight over water rights to the Colorado River exemplifies the shrinking natural resource base. In contrast to the Reagan-Bush administration, the Clinton administration restored funding to international family planning agencies and endorsed sustainable development. The US birth rate is back at a 2-decade high, while 60% of pregnancies are unintended. US adolescent pregnancy is the highest among industrialized countries, leading to a cycle of poverty and soaring public costs. Government funding for new contraceptive research has been stagnant because of the pressure of right-wing groups, although finally RU-486 became available for clinical trials. The Cairo conference is likely to recognize the US as the leader in global political issues, however, domestic population and consumption issues have still to be addressed.
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  4. 4

    What is at stake at the world conference on population and development: women's rights and responsibilities.

    de Oliveira RD

    PEOPLE'S PERSPECTIVES. 1994 Mar; (8):4-8.

    Planetary democracy is necessary and possible. T he world's citizens must participate in decision-making on global issues like the environment, development, and population. There is a recognition at the international level that almost everything in politics and culture has been decided by men. Women must speak out on the problems that afflict humanity in an endeavor to democratize human relationship and politics. At the UN Conference on Population and Development, women must fight to have their reproductive rights respected. Planeta Femea, the women's event during ECO'92, was a demonstration of this new stance taken by women. The Coalition of Brazilian Women that coordinated Planeta Femea addressed two issues: population and ethics. The Rio Conference unmasked the simplistic notion that it was the populous nations of the South that degraded the environment, polluted water, and burned forests, when the North's patterns of production and consumption were the principal culprits of environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources. The North's technological innovations drive all those denied access to these resources further into underdevelopment. The majority of mankind is becoming less and less competitive. According to UNDP figures, worsening terms of international trade, the burden of foreign debt, and trade protectionism deprive developing countries of 500 billion dollars in resources every year. To continue with present policies that perpetuate disparities among countries is to increase poverty worldwide and risk making our planet unsustainable. Improving the quality of life for all mankind requires a global alliance, a shared responsibility by all nations in confronting squalor and inequality. Modifying patterns of consumption and lifestyle in the North as well as reviewing global patterns of use of capital, resources and technology are needed to implement a common North-South agenda to salvage the planet.
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  5. 5

    Cairo conference.

    McMichael AJ

    BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1994 Sep 3; 309(6954):554-5.

    The United Nations Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in September, 1994, will evoke criticism of the inability of governments to act quickly enough to avert demographic and environmental crises. Rapid population growth has clear implications for public health. Globally there now occur anthropogenic changes in atmospheric composition, the degradation of fertile lands and ocean fisheries, an accelerating loss of biodiversity, and the social and ecological problems of massive urbanization. In the future, per capita consumption levels will increase in burgeoning populations of developing countries, thus adding to the environmental impacts of overconsuming rich countries. By the end of the decade there will be over six billion people, of whom one half will live in cities. These demographic and environmental trends, if translated into climatic change, regional food shortages, and weakened ecosystems, would adversely affect human health. The World Health Organization is likely to concentrate only on accessible family planning and promotion of health for women and families. Continuing asymmetric child-saving aid, unaccompanied by substantial aid to help mobilize the social and economic resources needed to reduce fertility, may delay the demographic transition in poor countries and potentiate future public health disasters. As a result of recent reductions in fertility, even in Sub-Saharan Africa, average family sizes have been halved. Yet the demographic momentum will double population by 2050. The biosphere is a complex of ecosystems and, if unsustained, it could not fulfill the productive, cleansing, and protective functions on which life depends. The Cairo conference must therefore recognize that sustaining human health is a prime reason for concern about population growth and models of economic development.
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  6. 6

    The Cairo crunch.

    Myers N

    PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. 1994; 3(3):37.

    The emphasis on excessive population growth in developing countries has diverted attention from the equally significant issue of excessive consumption in developed countries. For example, the rich nations, which contain only 22% of the world's population, cause 74-87% of major pollutants and consume 76-92% of global natural resources each year. While the world's wealthiest 1 billion people have doubled their consumption of meat, energy, steel, copper, and timber since 1950, there has been no increase among the poorest 1 billion. The worldwide value of luxury goods is equivalent to two-thirds of the gross national products of all Third World countries. Although the mass media's introduction into the Third World has raised the aspirations of the world's poor, stores of nonrenewable raw materials would be depleted within a decade if the standard of living were to be equalized. Even if per capita consumption worldwide declines to 2% per year from its current level of 3%, the sustainable capacity of the Earth is in jeopardy. The threat to the continued ability of the planet to sustain life and to the dignity of the have-nots could be ameliorated by a combination of measures, including zero population growth in developed countries, increased foreign aid to population programs in the Third World, production of goods that require fewer raw materials and generate less pollution, and reduced consumption in the North.
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  7. 7

    ICPD: in whose interest?

    Shiva M

    HEALTH FOR THE MILLIONS. 1994 Jun; 2(3):4-7.

    The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is set for September 1994. Arms control and control of military interests are as crucial as population control. The expenditure on the military and arms should go to social measures and true socioeconomic development. Women are leading the movement against war and towards peace. Women make up 70% of current refugees of ethnic conflicts. The conquest of free trade with little or no restriction and globalization trends forces developing countries to accept nonessential luxury items which tend to be irrational, hazardous consumer articles and technologies from industrialized countries. The privileged elite in developing countries and the industrialized countries overconsume, while the basic needs of the poor majority are not being met. The rich view the poor as a global threat and a threat for environmental degradation. They believe that free trade will solve all problems, yet it only marginalizes the poor and the vulnerable. The pattern of overconsumption is the threat. The poor are characterized as demons responsible for the population explosion. Women are angry that population control policies are attempts to control women's fertility. Specifically, most contraceptive technologies and most family planning programs target women. Male responsibility is ignored. Religious fundamentalists tell women not to become pregnant, not to use contraception, and not to seek abortion, yet they allow male sex behavior, e.g., sexual violence. This attitude leaves women vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and AIDS. Developing countries should be concerned about chapter III on Population, Environment, and Development in the ICPD text. Most countries, including India, have formed a consensus on this chapter. The Vatican and some Latin American countries have objections, however. The meeting in Cairo will likely continue to promote the view that the fertility of women in developing countries and of women of color must be controlled.
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