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    Expert Group Meeting on Population Growth and Demographic Structure.


    As part of the preparation for the forth-coming UN International Conference on Population and Development, an expert group met in Paris, France, in November 1992 to discuss population growth and demographic structure. As part of the demographic background for the meeting provided by the UN Population Division, participants were informed that although the world population growth rate began to decline in the late 1970s, this decline has not yet resulted in declining absolute numbers, and the annual increment to the world population was not expected to decline to the level that existed in 1985 until the period 2020-25. World population increased from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 5.3 billion in 1990. The medium variant population projection of the UN shows world population at 6.3 billion in 2000 and 8.5 billion in 2025 (the high variant shows 9.4 billion in 2025 and the low variant shows 7.6 billion). Population aging is expected to reach unparalleled levels in 2010-20. The meeting then considered the topics of population growth and socioeconomic development, confronting poverty in developing countries, demographic impacts of development patterns, demographic and health transitions, population growth and employment, social change and the elderly in developing countries, and social development and ageing in developed countries, The expert group meeting then prepared 19 recommendations aimed at governments, social institutions, and the international community. The recommendations call for political commitment to human resources development and population and development programs, especially in least developed countries, alleviation of poverty and social inequality, and equality of access to social and health resources that will lead to reduced mortality and fertility. Governments are urged to place a high priority on education and on increasing women's access to education and to remove barriers to economic independence for women. Health-sector priorities should be reassessed to provide the most cost-effective and efficient means of providing health care, reproductive health-care programs should receive high priority, and efforts should be made to minimize the effects of HIV infection and reduce the spread of AIDS. The needs of the elderly should be met with a "safety net," which should be developed in countries with no social security programs. The elderly should be recognized as an important human resource for development, and intergenerational equity should exist to accommodate their needs, with special efforts made to help them remain in their own homes and communities. Governments should collect accurate, comprehensive, and regular data on population characteristics and trends, and the international community should facilitate the comparative analysis of such data. Training should be provided to professionals in demography and related fields in developing countries.
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