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In: Population, resources, environment and development. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development, Geneva, 25-29 April 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 267-92. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)The 1st section of this paper devoted to population, resources, and development broadly delineates for countries the physiological limits of land to support human populations according to pressure on resources. Subsequent sections examine the impact which an abatement of population growth could have by the year 2000 on resources in general and on the performance of the agricultural sector of developing countries in particular, link poverty to malnutrition, and deal with 1 specific aspect of the relation between distribution and undernutrition. The purpose of the final section is to highlight certain issues of the "food-feed competition" which requires more attention in the future. The frailty of the balance between population and resources is a basic concern of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. FAO's purpose is to promote agricultural and rural development and to contribute to the improvement of people's nutritional level. The significant characteristics of the FAO work on "potential population supporting capacity of lands" are the improved soil and climatic data from which it starts and the explicit specification of the assumptions made about technology, inputs, and nutritional intake requirements. Both the carrying capacity project and the results of "Agriculture: Toward 2000" have emphasized the importance of the role that technology will play in world agriculture in the future. Yet, technology is not free and its cost should be compared to alternative solutions. Moving people -- migration -- is an option that suggests itself in relation to the carrying capacity project. Changes in certain institutions, including land reform, size of the farm, market systems, pricing regimes are more suggestions that may arise with respect "Agriculture: Toward 2000" and to the food-feed competition. The ultimate question continues to be whether high agricultural technology is feasible on a world agricultural scale without dire environmental and other effects.
General overview. A. Population, resources, environment and development: highlights of the issues in the context of the World Population Plan of Action.
In: Population, resources, environment and development. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development, Geneva, 25-29 April 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 63-95. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)The acceptance by the international community of the importance of the interrelations between population, resources, environment, and development has been in large measure an outgrowth of the search for development alternatives that would reduce the disparities between developed and developing countries and ameliorate poverty within countries. Possibly the most important task of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment, and Development is to identify more clearly the role of population within these interrelationships, i.e., to identify through which mechanisms population characteristics condition and are conditioned by resource use, environmental effects, and the developmental structure. To a considerable extent the incidence of poverty forms the root cause of many of the problems derived from the interrelationships between population, resources, environment, and development in developing countries. Affluence appears to be the major cause of many of the environmental and resource problems in the developed countries. The first 2 sections are devoted to issues considered crucial in the alleviation of poverty. Lack of food, adequate nutrition, health care, education, gainful employment, old age security, and adequate per capita incomes perpetuate poverty of large numbers of people in developing countries and therefore also their production and consumption patterns, which undermine, through environmental and resource degradation, the very resources on which they depend for their livelihood. The discussion of environment as a provider of resources first considers supplies of minerals, energy, and water. Attention is then directed to the stock of agricultural land that can be expanded through fertilization and irrigation and which may be reduced as a result of desertification, deforestation, urbanization, salinization, and waterlogging. Another section focuses on the need for integrating population variables into development planning. In the formulation of longterm development objectives, population can no longer be regarded as an exogenous force, but rather becomes an endogenous variable which affects and is affected by development policies, programs, and plans.