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UN CHRONICLE. 1988 Mar; 25(1):35.The "Environmental Perspective" of the UN outlines 6 major problem areas and suggests what should be done about them. 1) Overpopulation exceeds the carrying capacity of the environment. Specific attention should be given to the problems of cities and public works projects should be designed to provide employment and improve the environment. 2) Food shortages must be dealt with to ensure security and restore the environment. Governments must adopt policies and institute regulatory measures for land and water use. 3) The available energy resources are being consumed at vastly different rates throughout the world. Policies should be devised to more equitably meet energy demands without further increasing the costs to the environment. 4) Industrial development is damaging the environment, and government policies, especially in developing countries, must be geared to minimizing waste of resources and increasing pollution. 5) Inadequate housing and public health services are causing high morbidity and mortality in many areas. Programs must be developed to deal with tropical diseases and unsanitary conditions. 6) International economic relations often adversely affect development. Aid to developing countries must be increased and trade patterns developed to mutual advantage and to safeguard the environment.
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. 359-81. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)This discussion focuses on the prospective impact of population growth, within the context of global constraints on resources and the environment, on certain basic conditions of socioeconomic development, i.e., food, education, health, housing, and income distribution. A table presents a basic summary of world demographic conditions as of 1980. About 3/4 of the world population of 4.4 billion is in the less developed countries. The population of these countries grows at an annual rate of about 3 1/2 times that of the more developed countries. Compared to the latter, the LDCs' birthrate is more than double, and its total fertility rate is nearly 2 1/2 times as large. The problem of hunger and undernutrition is serious, and continued population growth only makes the task of dealing with it more difficult over time. According to the US Presidential Commission on World Hunger (1980), 1 out of every 8 persons in the world is malnourished, and the number is rising. Poverty is the root cause of undernutrition. The rate of growth of food production has been slightly above that of population. The influence of population growth on food demand has been far greater than that of income growth. New sources of growth in food supply do not portend to be as readily available as before. In some ways current demographic trends will tend to improve the education, health, and housing (EHH) capital. Parents will be able to afford schooling for their children more easily because of later marriages, wider spacing of children, and fewer children. Lower fertility will make for fewer health risks particularly to mothers and infants. The problem of providing basic services for a rapidly growing population could be made more manageable by concentrating more on the human than on the material linkages between inputs and outputs, between the capital formers and the formed home capital. Population growth helps to perpetuate poverty by restraining the growth of wages. There has been a widening gap in per capita income between the richest and the poorest countries and between the middle income and the poorest. The burden of population growth is lessened through any means that raises factor productivity. 1 means would be the removal of conventions restricting the use of any factor below full capacity.