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Population and Development Review. 2006; 32 Suppl:1-51.By the end of the twentieth century, although expansion of population numbers in the developing world still had far to run, the pace had greatly slowed: widespread declines in birth rates had taken place and looked set to continue. To what degree population policies played a significant role in this epochal transformation of demographic regimes remains a matter of conjecture and controversy. It seems likely that future observers will be impressed by the essential similarities in the path to demographic modernity that successive countries have taken in the last few centuries, rather than discerning a demographic exceptionalism in the most recent period--with achievement of the latter credited to deliberate policy design. But that eventual judgment, whatever it may be, needs to be based on an understanding of how demographic change over the last half-century has been perceived and the responses it has elicited--an exercise in political demography. Such an exercise, inevitably tentative given the recency of the events, is essayed in this chapter. (excerpt)
Genus. 2005 Jul-Dec; 61(3-4):141-163.World demographic growth at the time of the Rome Conference in 1954 was characterized by unprecedented high rates of natural increase. This was the consequence of the combined effect of faster declines in death rates and sustained high birth rates. As a result, world population would double from three to six billion between 1960 and 1999 and from 5 to 6 billion in just 12 years (1987-1999), while it had taken the world four times as much to double from 1.5 to 3 billion and nearly a millennium to reach the first billion. What triggered this growth were primarily unprecedented mortality declines, a better control of major killer diseases and increases in survival particularly in the developing countries (life expectancy increased from 41 to 65 years on average over the last three decades). With such unprecedented growth rates, the theory of demographic transition acquired particular policy significance in the late 1950s to raise a serious concern about the impact of current and projected growth rates both within countries and internationally at the economic, social and geopolitical levels. This theory would soon become the driving force behind all population policy objectives aimed at third world countries where governments were encouraged to formulate population policies, establish policy institutions and programme structures to implement family planning programmes, bring about smaller-sized families and help couples avoid unwanted pregnancies. (excerpt)
Pakistan Development Review. 2004 Winter; 43(4 Pt 1):423-440.Pakistan's development project that was initiated in the 1950s with a focus on creating a prosperous and equitable society, making the benefits of scientific advancement and progress available to all the people, got lost somewhere in the labyrinth of development fashions and econometric modelling learned in American universities and World Bank/IMF seminars. The latest of these fashions being eagerly followed by the economic managers of the state is the implementation of structural adjustments, termed "Washington Consensus" by some, flowing from the operative rules and ideological framework of neo-liberal globalisation. In practice these adjustments, euphemistically called reforms, have foreclosed the possibility of improving the condition of working masses, not only in Pakistan but globally, including the developed West. If Pakistan is to reclaim its original people-centred development project, it will have to set its own priorities of development in the context of indigenous realities shared in common with its South Asian neighbours. Following the globalisation agenda at the behest of the Washington-based IFIs will sink the country into ever greater debt and mass poverty. (author's)
New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University, Economic Growth Center, 1996 Sep. 28 p. (Center Discussion Paper No. 762)This paper reviews the development experience since the 1980's and finds room for guarded optimism about what we can learn from it. Firstly, a global consensus is emerging on the need for macro-economic stability through prudent fiscal, monetary and foreign exchange policies. However, at the micro or structural level, while governments need to decentralize their decision- making authority more fully than they have thus far, in reaction to the recent reappraisal of the East Asian model there is some danger that development policy will swing too far in rejecting liberalization and returning to government intervention. Secondly, the paper points out that, while there exists a well-recognized causal nexus between exports and growth, the reverse causation also holds, i.e. domestic growth patterns conditioned by education and R&D expenditures and policies determine whether or not a country can take full advantage of existing export opportunities. Finally, although fast-disbursing policy-based loans have not been as successful as they could be, largely because of the World Bank's chosen modus operandi, they represent potentially highly effective instruments that should not be abandoned. Rather, the Bank should help render such loans more fully "owned" by recipients, replace country-specific lending quotas by aid ballooning related to carefully worked out reform packages, and develop a better division of labor with other multilateral and bilateral donors. (author's)
Population and Development Review. 2005 Jun; 31(2):389-398.The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an elaborate international project set up in 2001 under UN auspices, aims “to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human wellbeing and to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to human well-being.” It involves over 1,000 experts as panel and working group members, authors, and reviewers. Numerous reports are planned, covering the global and regional situations, scenarios of the future, and options for sustainable management. The first of these, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report, was issued in March 2005. The Report is organized around four main findings. The first two concern the past: what has happened and what it has meant for human welfare. The other two concern the future: what may happen and what might be done to improve matters. The time frame is the last 50 years and the next 50. Ecological change is assessed in terms of ecosystem services— the benefits humans receive from ecosystems. These include: provisioning services (supplying food, fresh water, timber, etc.); regulating services (climate regulation, erosion control, pollination); cultural services (recreation, aesthetic enjoyment); and supporting services (soil formation, photosynthesis, nutrient cycling). Of 24 services examined in the assessment, 15 are determined to be in decline or are being drawn on at an unsustainable rate. The welfare costs of these changes are disproportionately borne by the poor. Four world scenarios are developed to explore plausible ecological futures, varying in degrees of regionalism and economic liberalization and in approaches to ecosystem management. Under all of them the outlook is for continued pressure on consumption of ecosystem services and continued loss of biodiversity. In particular, ecosystem degradation “is already a significant barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals agreed to by the international community in September 2000 and the harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years.” Remedy will be demanding: “An effective set of responses to ensure the sustainable management of ecosystems requires substantial changes in institutions and governance, economic policies and incentives, social and behavior factors, technology, and knowledge.” Such changes “are not currently under way.” The excerpt below, covering Findings #1 and #2 of the Assessment, is taken from the section of the report titled Summary for Decision-makers. Most of the charts are omitted. Parenthetical levels of certainty correspond to the following probabilities: very certain, = 98%; high certainty, 85–98%; medium, 65–85%; low, 52–65%. (author's)
Women's organizations in El Salvador: history, accomplishments, and international support. [Organizaciones femeninas en El Salvador: historia, logros y apoyo internacional]
In: Women and civil war. Impact, organizations, and action, edited by Krishna Kumar. Boulder, Colorado, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001. 183-203.Women's organizations in El Salvador have undergone a unique evolution, first in relation to the conditions of war that permeated El Salvador from 1980 to 1992 and then in response to economic restructuring and the challenges of democratization following the war. The conditions of El Salvador's civil war, along with the fact that many women's organizations became stronger during the war, have resulted in a unique set of organizations that are marked by their autonomy at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Early-conflict women's organizations (1980 to 1985) were characterized by their attachment to a wide range of popular grass-roots organizations and attempts to incorporate women into these groups. Many of these organizations mobilized women around economic issues, survival in the war, and human rights. A few formed in this period began to work with battered women and to question women's legal, political, and domestic subordination. Few, however, were willing to embrace the concept of feminism. Late-conflict and post-conflict women's organizations (1986 to 2001) are characterized by women challenging gender hierarchies within mixed grass-roots organizations and putting forth a gendered discourse on specific women's rights, ranging from violence against women to inequities in the labor force. Feminism also became more prevalent during this time. In this chapter we look at the particular changes found in women's organizations and link them to specific historical, social, and economic circumstances. We then evaluate what the impact of women's organizations has been in terms of empowering Salvadoran women and make recommendations for international donor organizations so that they can better serve Salvadoran women's organizations. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations, Dept. of Public Information, 1996. , 845 p. (United Nations Blue Book Series, Vol. 6)The first section of this book traces the history of the UN's efforts to improve the status of women. An overview is presented in the first part, and part 2 chronicles the UN's efforts to secure the legal foundations of women's rights during the period 1945-62. Part 3 traces the stage of the UN's work (1963-75) that began with recognition of the indispensable role of women in development and of the gulf between the existence of women's legal rights and women's ability to exercise these rights. Part 4 follows developments through the UN Decade for Women (1976-85), and part 5 describes actions taken from 1986-96 to respond to the failure of the Decade for Women to achieve improvements in the priority areas of employment, health, and education. Part 6 concludes this section by remarking on the strategies and issues that will dominate the UN's next 50 years of work in improving women's status and eliminating gender-based discrimination and by noting that the Platform for Action from the 1996 Fourth World Conference on Women serves as a tool in the empowerment of women but that the formal recognition of women's rights has yet to lead to a practical improvement in their status. The remainder of the book contains 1) a chronology of events, 2) a chronology of UN conferences and seminars, and 3) a selection of documents on women published by the UN that form a comprehensive record of UN involvement in the campaign to promote women's rights, including the complete texts of the major conventions, treaties, and declarations.
Tokyo, Japan, Asian Population and Development Association, 1996 Dec. 33 p. (APDA Resource Series 2)This paper presents an overview of the distinguishing features of the 20th century by focusing on the decades between the first and third World Population Conferences (1974-94). The essay opens with a prologue which describes the increasing concern about population growth which served as the background to the development of the progressive World Population Plan of Action (WPPA) in 1974 and presents current population projections and annual growth rate data. The next topic is the adoption of the WPPA, with its last minute attention to family planning programs, at the Bucharest Conference. This is followed by consideration of the "Bucharest effect" which included reversals by China and India which led to their adoption of new policies to control growth. Discussion of the "quiet gathering" at Mexico City which adopted recommendations to further implement the WPPA in 1984 is augmented with a look at the ripple caused by the denial of the US delegation of the possibility of achieving demographic goals before achieving economic development. The three global upheavals experienced in the 20th century after the watershed of World War II are then identified as the world population explosion, the destruction of the global environment, and the conflicts which followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. The ensuing discussion then considers the three most important aspects of the world population crisis: the population growth rate, the size of the annual increases, and total global population. Finally, the paper looks at the Fourth International Conference on Population and Development during which the WPPA became a Programme of Action which embraced a revolutionary strategy calling for the empowerment of women to achieve population stability and development, emphasizing reproductive health care, and establishing targets to reduce death rates. The essay concludes by calling for a revolution in thinking to derive ways to cope with the upcoming 30 years of rapid population growth.
In: Earth summit. Conversations with architects of an ecologically sustainable future, by Steve Lerner. Bolinas, California, Commonweal, 1991. 237-48.The former secretary of the Brundtland Commission, now the executive director of the Center for Our Common Future, presents a historical overview of the international environment efforts since the formation of the independent Brundtland Commission. The 21-member commission held public hearings in Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Indonesia, Kenya, and the USSR to get the common people's perspective. In fact, the commission used their quotes in the report, Our Common Future. The members organized regional presentations of the report to nongovernmental organizations and to governments. The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) emerged from the debate, which occurred on the day of the 1987 stock market crash, so it did not get much media coverage. The Center for Our Common Future was created to promote the messages of the commission's report and to increase the dialogue on sustainable development. The Center has set up a global network of 160 working partners in 70 countries. A key message of the report is forging a path from confrontation to cooperation. We all must accept part of the responsibility of working toward sustainable development. Participants in a 1990 meeting in Vancouver agreed that the UNCED process needs broad participation. 26 issues are on the UNCED agenda, including water, toxics, biodiversity, biotechnology, land management, ocean management, and acid rain, which are too numerous to manage at the UNCED. A North/South issue is no longer relevant because we are a global community and we must cooperate. The only way the North is going to advance is if it considers its economic self-interest. Much of the world is waiting for the US to lead, but it is not budging. Many suggest that Europe take the lead, e.g., Norway's climate fund. Grass roots groups need to organize and empower themselves to effect change.
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW. 1990 Jun; 16(2):355-62.The United Nations, foremost among international organizations concerned with demographic issues, has undergone a subtle shift in function since its inception. The organization's initial focus was on the collection and analysis of demographic data. Activities in this area have included periodic meetings of statisticians at the regional level, seminars and training courses for officials, publication of handbooks on census procedures and vital statistics methods, technical assistance during census taking, and studies on methods to enhance data reliability and validity. In 1962, a debate emerged about whether the organization should respond to requests from Member States for technical assistance in establishing population control programs. Given limited resources, the general consensus was to prioritize campaigns that promoted economic development. However, a shift in emphasis occurred in the late-1960s when evidence accumulated that investments in family planning programs were more cost-effective than investments in economic growth. The establishment in 1969 of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities reflected this new approach. Then and now, however, funds allotted to population activities within the United Nations network comprise a minuscule fraction of total resources allocated to development.
Social Science and Medicine. 1990; 31(6):639-48.Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) has gone from "classical colonialism to neocolonial debt bondage." this article traces SSA's deterioration from a master-servant relationship during colonialism to the present-day "hybrid of decay and anarchy" from which people's health status and health services in the region are being asphyxiated by the debt crisis. The tragedy facing the continent is a carryover from colonialism SSA remains dependent on outside multinational forces that continue to determine her policies, extract her natural wealth, and minimally invest in the SSA region. This continued "cola-colonization" or external control of SSA has resulted in the "catastrophic" decline of most of SSA's social and economic institutions reflecting the collapse in the economies of the West. By the end of 1986, SSA owed US $200 billion or 45% of its GDP--growing to over US$600 million by the year 2000. By 1990 all SSA countries had to accept structural adjustment policies (SAP's) imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to monitor cuts in Government public spending, remove subsidies, trade liberalization and currency devaluation all leading to "tragic declines" in the standard of living. Health services in SSA also originated from colonialism and today remains dependent on the home government's. One of the major carry-over's is the urban/rural disparity; 70% of SSA's population is rural yet most health services and providers are in the urban areas contributing to higher infant mortality rates (2-5 times) in the rural areas. The debt crisis has compounded the magnitude of the lack of health services for the majority of people. Shortages exist for all essential drugs and equipment while social services and institutions have deteriorated, aggravating the already low health status in the region. SAP's have increased starvation, epidemics and the brain drain. Perhaps there is a need for a "Marshall Plan" to help SSA out of its underdevelopment.
New York, New York, Oxford University Press, 1985. 243 p.This report focuses on the contribution that international capital makes to economic development. While paying close attention to the events of the recent past, it also places the use of foreign capital in a broader and longer-term perspective. Using this perspective, the Report shows how countries at different stages of development have used external finance productively; how the institutional and policy environment affects the volume and composition of financial flows to developing countries; and how the international community has dealt with financial crises. A recurring theme of the Report is that countries in debt-servicing difficulties are not necessarily those with the largest debts or those that have suffered the biggest external shocks. The Report stresses that international flows of capital can promote global economic efficiency and can allow deficit countries to strike the right balance between reducing their deficits and financing them. A historical perspective on the role of international finance in economic development is presented, followed by an assessment of policies of industrial economies from the perspective of developing countries. The importance of developing countries' policies in deriving benefits from foreign capital is considered. Issues in managing capital flows are presented. The Report then discusses the main mechanisms through which foreign capital flows to developing countries. An overview of the international financial system and its relations with developing countries are presented. Issues in official development finance are examined. The evolving relationship between the developing countries and international capital markets is outlined. Possibilities for a bigger role for direct and portfolio investment in developing countries are examined. The Report concludes that the developing countries will have a continuing need for external finance. It demonstrates that many of the policies required to attract external finance and promote economic growth are either being implemented or planned already. A prosperous and stable world can become a reality if each country follows the route outlined.