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[Population and development in the Republic of Zaire: policies and programs] Population et developpement en Republique du Zaire: politiques et programmes.
[Unpublished] 1986. Presented at the All-Africa Parliamentary Conference on Population and Development, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 12-16, 1986. 9 p.The 1st census of Zaire, in July 1984, indicated that the population of 30 million was growing at a rate of at least 2.3%/year. The crude birth rate was estimated at 46/1000 and was believed to be higher in urban areas than in rural because of better health and educational conditions. The crude death rate was estimated at 16/1000 and the infant mortality rate at 106/1000. 46.5% of the population is under 15. The population is projected to reach 34.5 million in 1990, with urban areas growing more rapidly than rural. Zaire is at the stage of demographic transition where the gap between fertility and mortality is very wide. The consequences for national development include massive migration and rural exodus, unemployment and underemployment, illness, low educational levels, rapid urbanization, and increasing poverty. In the past decade, Zaire has undertaken a number of activities intended to improve living conditions, but as yet there is no explicit official policy integrating population and development objectives. In 1983, the Executive Council of Zaire organized a mission to identify basic needs of the population, with the assistance of the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). In 1985, the UNFPA developed a 5-year development plan. The UNFPA activities include demographic data collection, demographic policy and research, maternal-child health and family planning, population education, and women and development. In the area of data collection, the 1st census undertaken with UNFPA help has increased the availability of timely and reliable demographic data. The vital registration system is to be improved and a permanent population register to be developed to provide data on population movement. A National Population Committee is soon to be established to assist the Executive Council in defining a coherent population policy in harmony with the economic, social, and cultural conditions of Zaire. Demographic research will be conducted by the Demographic Department of the University of Kinshasa and the National Institute of Statistics. A primary health care policy has been defined to increase health coverage to 60% from the current level of 20%. Zaire has favored family planning services integrated with the primary health care system since 1979. At present 2 components of the Desirable Births" program are underway, the Desirable Births Service Project undertaken in 1983 and the Rural Health Project undertaken in 1982, both executed by the Department of Public Health with financing provided by US Agency for International Development. The RAPID (Resources for the Analysis of the Impact of Population on Development) program has been used since 1985 to inform politicians, technicians, and planners. Efforts have been underway since 1965 to include women in the development process, and a new family code is being studied which would give better protection to some rights of women and children.
[Unpublished] 1986. Presented at the All-Africa Parliamentary Conference on Population and Development, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 12-16, 1986. 7 p.The Second African Conference on Population and Development, held early in 1984, marked a decisive stage in African thinking about population. During the 12 years between the 1972 and 1984 conferences, African nations learned in detail about their demographic situation and confronted the ever-increasing costs of development and their lack of physical and administrative infrastructure. In the midst of these and other concerns came the drought, which for over a decade in some parts of the continent has reduced rainfall, dried up rivers, lakes, and wells, and forced millions into flight. It is in this context that population became an African issue. African countries on the whole are not densely populated nor do they yet have very large concentrations in cities. Yet, population emerges as more than a matter of numbers, and there are features which give governments cause for concern. First, the population of most African countries, and of the continent as a whole, is growing rapidly and could double itself in under 25 years. Second, mortality among mothers and children is very high. Third, life expectancy generally is lower in African than in other developing countries. Fourth, urbanization is sufficiently rapid to put more than half of Africa in cities by 2020 and 1/3 of the urban population in giant cities of over 4 million people. The 1984 conference recognized these and other uncomfortable facts and their implications for the future, and agreed that attention to population was an essential part of African development strategy. Strategy is considered in terms of the 4 issues mentioned. First, high rates of growth are not in themselves a problem, but they mean a very high proportion of dependent children in the population. About 45% of Africa's population is under age 14 and will remain at this level until the early years of the 21st century. Meeting the needs of so many children and young adults taxes the ability of every African nation, regardless of how rapidly its economy may expand. Understanding this, a growing number of African leaders call for slower growth in order to achieve a balance in the future between population and the resources available for development. Reducing mortality requires innovation. Among the new approaches to health care are the use of traditional medicine and practitioners in conjunction with modern science and the mobilization of community groups for preventive care and self-help. Health care and better nutrition also are keys to improvement in life expectancy and call for ingenuity and innovation on the part of African governments and communities. Part of the solution to the impending urban crisis must be attention to the viability of the rural sector. The role of the UN Fund for Population Activities in addressing the identified issues is reviewed.
POPULI. 1986; 13(1):5-14.Within the next 50 years, the predominantly rural character of developing countries will shift as a result of rapid world urbanization. In 1970 the total urban population of the more developed world regions was almost 30 million more than in the less developed regions; however, by the year 2000 the urban population of developing countries will be close to double that in developed countries. A growing proportion of the urban population will be concentrated in the biggest cities. At the same time, the rural population in developing countries is expected to increase as well, making it difficult to reduce the flow of migrants to urban centers. Although urban fertility in developing countries tends to be lower than rural fertility, it is still at least twice as high as in developed countries. The benefits of urbanization tend to be distributed unevenly on the basis of social class, resulting in a pattern of skewed income and standard of living. Social conditions in squatter settlments and urban slums are a threat to physical and mental health, and the educational system has not been able to keep up with the growth of the school-aged population in urban areas. The problems posed by urbanization should be viewed as challenges to social structures and scientific technologies to adapt with concern for human values. It is suggested than 4 premises about the urbanization process should guide urban planners: 1) urban life is essential to the social nature of the modern world; 2) urban and rural populations should not be conceptualized in terms of diametrically opposed interest groups; 3) national policies will have an impact on urban areas, just as developments in the cities will impact on national development; and 4) the great cities of the world interact with each other, exchanging both trade and populations. The United Nations Family Planning Association stresses the need for 3 fundamental objectives: economic efficiency, social equity, and population balance.
European Journal of Population. 1986 May; 2(1):1-4.This article discusses likely population processes in the decades ahead and the role that the United Nations (UN) can play in the field of population. By the year 2000, the demographic situation in the world will be even more complex and diverse. Absolute increases in world population will be significantly larger in the 1985-2000 period than in 1950-85 and serious economic, ecologic, and social problems arising from massive population growth will make development more difficult to plan. Prospects for social and economic development are poor in developing countries as a result of a failure to make broad institutional reforms. Without such development, spontaneous change in birth, death, and migration trends is unlikely. Unemployment and deteriorating standards of living, starvation, ignorance, and moral confusion do not provide a backdrop conducive to sound demographic behavior. Societal intervention at subnational, national, and international levels is needed to reduce diversity and equalize conditions for demographic change. The UN can play a crucial role in this process for 4 reasons: 1) its vision of independent nations, universal human rights, tolerance and peace, and economic and social advancement for all peoples; 2) its emphasis on peaceful coexistence, equal rights of nations, and constructive collaboration; 3) its promotion of a variety of strategies of economic, social, and humanitarian nature; and 4) its grounding in the decisions made by Member States themselves. In the decades ahead, it is crucial that this potential be used to conduct systematic research on the determinants and implications of population change, to refine population policies, to train professional staff, and to promote action aimed at conditioning behavior toward well-defined goals.