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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    International health policy and stagnating maternal mortality: is there a causal link?

    Unger JP; Van Dessel P; Sen K; De Paepe P

    Reproductive Health Matters. 2009 May; 17(33):91-104.

    This paper examines why progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 on maternal health appears to have stagnated in much of the global south. We contend that besides the widely recognised existence of weak health systems, including weak services, low staffing levels, managerial weaknesses, and lack of infrastructure and information, this stagnation relates to the inability of most countries to meet two essential conditions: to develop access to publicly funded, comprehensive health care, and to provide the not-for-profit sector with needed political, technical and financial support. This paper offers a critical perspective on the past 15 years of international health policies as a possible cofactor of high maternal mortality, because of their emphasis on disease control in public health services at the expense of access to comprehensive health care, and failures of contracting out and public–private partnerships in health care. Health care delivery cannot be an issue both of trade and of right. Without policies to make health systems in the global south more publicly-oriented and accountable, the current standards of maternal and child health care are likely to remain poor, and maternal deaths will continue to affect women and their families at an intolerably high level.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Global health governance and the World Bank.

    Ruger JP

    Lancet. 2007 Oct 27; 370(9597):1471-1474.

    With the Paul Wolfowitz era behind it and new appointee Robert Zoellick at the helm, it is time for the World Bank to better define its role in an increasingly crowded and complex global health architecture, says Jennifer Prah Ruger, health economist and former World Bank speechwriter. Just 2 years after taking office as president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz resigned amid allegations of favouritism, and is now succeeded by Robert Zoellick. Many shortcomings marked Wolfowitz's presidency, not the least of which were a tumultuous battle over family planning and reproductive health policy, significant reductions in spending and staffing, and poor performance in implementing health, nutrition, and population programmes. Wolfowitz did little to advance the bank's role in the health sector. With the Wolfowitz era behind it and heightened scrutiny in the aftermath, the World Bank needs to better define its role and seize the initiative in health at both the global and country levels. Can the bank have an effect in an increasingly plural and complex global health architecture? What crucial role can the bank play in global health governance in the years ahead? (excerpt)
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  3. 3

    Health must come before politics in WHO-Africa's reforms [editorial]

    Lancet. 2005 Mar 19; 365:1004.

    An impressive fanfare of melodic African gospel music heralded the long-awaited launch last week of the final report of the Commission for Africa. The 17-strong Commission, chaired by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, set out to take “a fresh look” at Africa’s past and present, and make realistic recommendations for the continent’s survival. The Commission’s report is a laudable achievement: the hefty volume is a pragmatic and decisive review of Africa’s needs. It is, as promised, unfalteringly honest— and health initiatives are not spared criticism. According to the report, the failings of current health efforts are clear: there are too many initiatives and too little coordination. The Commission’s solution focuses on harmonisation of health policy at a national level and integration of donor-led initiatives into governmental plans. As if in preparation for these recommendations, Luís Sambo, head of the WHO’s African Regional Office, last week concluded a tour of the UK and USA by announcing sweeping reforms of WHO/AFRO. He plans to decentralise activities and give more authority to country representatives “to cope with potential increases in resources”. (excerpt)
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  4. 4

    Getting representation right for women in development: accountability, consent and the articulation of women's interests.

    Fierlbeck K

    In: Getting institutions right for women in development, edited by Anne Marie Goetz. London, England, Zed Books, 1997. 31-43.

    Consent, as a basis of political authority, remains a forcefully compelling principle because it recognizes so many of the human qualities - autonomy, dignity, responsibility - which we collectively value. But to revere the concept of consent means that we must respect the unpalatable decisions made by others and respect, in turn, means than we cannot ultimately challenge the autonomy of the decision-makers. Thus the more we respect consent, the less capable we are of investigating the context of choice; and the less satisfied we are with the context of choice, the less respect we have for the principle of consent in practice. To break this circle we must be willing to probe and to query the choices and decisions of 'autonomous' agents; for consent itself is not only a moral construct but, more tangibly, a potently political device for ensuring obedience. Instruments of such palpable power must always be carefully and consistently scrutinized, and we must be brave enough to say whether consent has been won at too high a price. (excerpt)
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  5. 5

    Making development organizations accountable: the organizational, political and cognitive contexts.

    Kardam N

    In: Getting institutions right for women in development, edited by Anne Marie Goetz. London, England, Zed Books, 1997. 44-60.

    Most of the development literature considers accountability either as a political or an organizational issue and few consider it as a cognitive issue. All three must be examined in order to acquire a broader understanding of accountability. Accountability has to do with the organizational characteristics (goals, procedures, staffing, incentive systems) of all agencies involved, as well as with the political context, that is, the political commitment of the stakeholders to a project, whether the options of 'exit' and 'voice' are available and whether democratic accountability exists. Finally, accountability cannot be discussed without understanding the 'discourse' underlying a particular policy area, in our case gender policy. How do different stakeholders define 'gender issues'? On what basis should resources be allocated to women? The perceived cause of gender constraints will also determine what solutions are proposed. To what extent is there agreement between different stakeholders on the nature of the issue and the proposed solutions? These are some of the questions we might ask as we explore gendered institutions. Therefore, I will begin by analysing the conditions that limit and promote accountability within these three major categories: the organizational context, the political context and the cognitive context. (excerpt)
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  6. 6

    [Toward a new international penal law: some general reflections at the end of the century] Vers un nouveau droit international pénal: quelques réflexions générales à la fin du siècle.

    Aznar Gomez MJ

    In: La protection des droits de l'Homme entre la législation interne et le droit international. Actes du colloque organisé par le Centre de Recherches sur la Coopération Internationale pour le Développement de la Faculté de Droit de Marrakech avec le concours de la Fondation Hanns-Seidel, les 21 et 22 janvier 2000. Rabat, Morocco, Revue Marocaine d'Administration Locale et de Developpement, 2001. 33-56. (Thèmes Actuels No. 26)

    In classic international law, since the individual is separated from the international sphere by the legal fiction of the State, while international law at the dawn of the twenty-first century no longer governs only co-existence among States or the pursuit of their common goals, but also collective interests proper to the international community as a whole, the protection of human rights today is no longer part of the domain reserved to States. At the present time, we find that the individual is the subject of rights and the State is the subject of new duty, namely the respect of human rights. It is possible to identify, through the practice of diplomacy and international jurisprudence, a few general rules, divided into those relating to substance and those relating to procedure. Among the rules relating to substance, it is possible to identify the principles of sovereignty and cooperation, the elementary rules of humaneness and the rule of individual criminal liability. In the area of international sanction mechanisms in international law, the first image we see is that of the courts of Nuremberg and Tokyo. The classic approach to the sanctioning of individuals has really changed only since the end of the 1980's. These sanctions had long been in the hands of the State. In all cases, at least on the normative level, they left in their hands the obligation to obey and to enforce international criminal law, which at the present time is conveyed, among other ways, through the action of international tribunals, bilateral cooperation through international criminal judiciary assistance and multilateral cooperation. Several humanitarian tragedies, such as those in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Rwanda, have called into question the effectiveness of these new enforcement and sanction procedures; however the participation of public opinion and non-governmental organizations (NGO's), the political and judicial action of the United Nations have reinforced it.
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  7. 7
    Peer Reviewed

    The postwar moment: lessons from Bosnia Herzegovina.

    Cockburn C

    Women and Environments International. 2003 Spring; (58-59):6-8.

    There are two main lessons that can be learned from the Bosnian experience. First, it is absolutely vital that a gender analysis from the very outset is placed at the heart of peacekeeping operations or postwar reconstruction. It should be main-streamed so that everyone, not just women, not just gender focal points, but everyone thinks about the gender realities of the war and of peace. Second, local women's NGOs must be consulted, befriended, made partners with the international community and have equal rights in the process. (excerpt)
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  8. 8

    Family planning and the Gulf war.

    Hanafi H

    PEOPLE. 1991; 18(2):24-5.

    The effect of the Gulf War on family planning services in the Arab Region is discussed. The war may also underscore the problems of inequities in the distribution of wealth, misuse of natural resources, displacement of people (refugees and human rights), and precariousness of economies based on disorganized imported/exported labor. It is hoped that this will lead to a coordinated population policy on migration and population movements in the Arab Region. The Arab world has also exposed it's high fertility rates, mortality rates, poverty, and conditions of women. The IPPF family planning associates have functioned in 14 Arab countries with hesitant support. The scarce family planning resources may be diverted to investments in national security and emergency care and curative services. Health, education, nutrition, and joblessness are critical for Iraqis, Jordanians, and those fleeing or being expelled from Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Their status may be no better than the refugees stranded in Jordan. Attitudes from the war may lead to pressure on mothers to replace the dead, or retreat into thinking about safety in numbers. Public opinion against the West's imperialist plots about family planning, as evidenced in Israel's pronatalist policies, may equate family planning with being anti-Islamic and antinationalist. These fears are further exacerbated by the fundamentalist concerns about anti-Islamic family planning. Religious fanaticism also threatens the newly acquired rights of women to choose the desired number of children, to education, and to hold public office. A further complication is the political nature of international assistance which may punish poorer Arab nations for their rebellion, or be distributed based on political aims. No Arab nation is neutral and IPPF will suffer resulting in fewer exchanges and regional-based activities.
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  9. 9

    Our next forty years.

    Mahler H

    PEOPLE. 1992; 19(1):3-6.

    Marking the 40th birthday of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Secretary-General Halfdan Mahler discusses the crisis facing the organization and calls for IPPF's moral reawakening. Examining the present conditions of the world. Mahler notes with frustration that crass materialism has enveloped the globe. During the 1980s, the economies of developing countries suffered badly. In addition, a vacuum of leadership has emerged, posing an obstacle to development. Development, says the secretary-general, means the actualizing of both the individual and society's potential. 3 rationales guide the family planning efforts of IPPF: development, health, and human rights. Evidence indicates that children in smaller families achieve higher social and economic levels than children in larger families, and that families, and that fewer children and birth spacing contribute to the well-being of mothers and children. The human rights rationale, explains mahler, implies the right to education about family planning and access to services. Opposition to family planning ignores the ethical dimensions of these 3 rationales. Unfortunately, says Mahler, some countries now seem to have retracted their commitment to family planning. It is this fact that brings a sense of urgency to the work of every Family Planning Association (FPA) and the IPPF. Unless IPPF and FPAs meet this challenge with determination, they risk the possibility of becoming irrelevant. Mahler explains that IPPF must engage in aggressive marketing of the characteristics that make family planning successful. Additionally, Mahler calls for a new pioneering role for IPPF that will bring about its moral reawakening. Mahler concludes by suggesting a vision of the future in which family planning has succeeded.
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  10. 10
    Peer Reviewed

    Solidarity and AIDS: introduction.

    Krieger N


    This article asks the reader to carefully consider the personal implications of AIDS were either he or close friends and relatives afflicted with the syndrome. We are urged to acknowledge the limited capabilities of personal and social response to the epidemic, and recognize the associated degree of social inequity and knowledge deficiency which exists. Summaries of 3 articles are discussed as highly integrated in their common call for global solidarity in the fight against HIV infections and AIDS. Pros and cons of Cuba's evolving response to AIDS are considered, paying attention to the country's recent abandonment of health policy which isolated those infected with HIV, in favor of renewed social integration of these individuals. Brazil's inadequate, untimely, and erred response to AIDS is then strongly criticized in the 2nd article summary. Finally, the 3rd article by Dr. Jonathan Mann, former head of the World Health Organization's Global program on AIDS, on AIDS prevention in the 1990s is discussed. Covering behavioral change and the critical role of political factors in AIDS prevention, Mann asserts the need to apply current concepts and strategies, while developing new ones, and to reassess values and concepts guiding work in the field. AIDS and its associated crises threaten the survival of humanity. It is not just a disease to be solved by information, but is intimately linked to issues of sexuality, health, and human behavior which are in turn shaped by social, political, economic, and cultural factors. Strong, concerted political resolve is essential in developing, implementing, and sustaining an action agenda against AIDS set by people with AIDS and those at risk of infection. Vision, resources, and leadership are called for in this war closely linked to the struggle for worldwide social justice.
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  11. 11

    The role of the U.N. for advancement of women -- a proposal.

    Haq K

    Development. 1989; (4):49-51.

    In 1970, the United Nations adopted a long-term women's advancement program and other initiatives to raise consciousness on women's issues and to identify appropriate actions to take in promoting gender equality and women's integration in development. Setting its objective as equality between the sexes by the year 2000, the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies is also a UN system-wide medium-term plan with specific activities to implement over the period 1990-95. These UN actions have, therefore, prepared the way for women's advancement in the 1990s and beyond. Efforts do, however, need to be made to build upon and expand these initiatives to facilitate the total integration, participation, and recognition of women in the social, economic, and political lives of countries throughout the world. Present UN strategy suffers from multiple focal points, a diffused mandate, limited financial resources, and inadequate interaction with national governments. The development of an UN Special Agency for Women's Development is suggested as a way of solidly propelling women ahead toward globally-recognized equality and greater overall opportunity. This agency would be the umbrella over existing and future related programs and activities, armed with a clear and specific mandate, an independent executive board, an independent fundraising ability, institutional arrangements to undertake in-country projects, and field offices.
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  12. 12
    Peer Reviewed

    Alma Ata and Health for All by the Year 2000. The roles of academic institutions.

    Bryant JH; Zuberi RW; Thaver IH


    In the context of the controversial conference at Alma Ata and the emergent plan of Health for All by the Year 2000 (HFA/2000), the role of academic institutions is discussed. At the risk of expanding the controversy over HFA/2000, institutional involvement facilitates the testing of principals against real world problems of health development. Views from both sides of the debate and controversy are considered with respect to the appropriateness of institutional involvement in HFA/2000. A consultative committee to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) analyzing the successes and failures of primary health care development is 1st explored. Other views from technical discussions of WHO on the roles of universities in the strategy of HFA are then examined. Traditional and progressive arguments on the roles of university in society are reviewed, with an eye to how HFA fits in. The paper concludes that institutions capable of and willing to provide substantial, institution-wide commitment are appropriate candidates for involvement in HFA/2000. The Aga Khan University's commitment orientation and health services development is cited as an example of appropriate, positive institutional participation. The Network of Community-Oriented Educational Institutions for Health Sciences addressing problem-based teaching methods, community orientation, and partnerships with governmental health services is also exemplary. In closing, the paper queries the extent to which the movement will attract institutions around the world.
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  13. 13

    The ethics of population control.

    Warwick DP

    In: Population policy: contemporary issues, edited by Godfrey Roberts. New York, New York/London, England, Praeger, 1990. 21-37.

    On the basis of the orthodox assumption that population growth constitutes an obstacle to economic development, most countries have established programs aimed at reducing fertility through contraception. The methods used by family planning programs, ranging from voluntary acceptance through educational and informational campaigns to financial incentives or disincentives to outright forced sterilization, raise complex ethical issues. Specifically, there are 5 ethical principles--freedom, justice, welfare, truth-telling, and security/survival--that can be used to evaluate deliberate attempts to control human fertility. Such an approach suggests that forced abortion, compulsory sterilization, and all other forms of heavy pressure on clients to accept a given means of fertility control violate human freedom, justice, and welfare. The violations inherent in financial incentives are demonstrated by the fact that they are attractive only to the poor and disadvantaged sectors of the population. Family planning programs that offer incentives to field workers to meet acceptor quotas often lead to a disregard of client health and welfare by subtly encouraging workers to withhold information on medical side effects, outright deceive clients about methods that are not being promoted by the family planning program, and fail to take the time for adequate medical counseling and follow-up. Even programs that provide free choice to clients are illusory if the methods offered include controversial agents such as Depo-Provera and acceptors lack the capacity to make an informed choice about longterm effects. Recommended is the establishment of an international code of ethics for population programs drafted by a broad working group that does not have a vested interest in the code's terms.
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  14. 14


    Castro Ruz F

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 43-4.

    The government of Cuba eagerly looks forward to the World Population conference, for it presents an opportunity for countries to review the results of the problems and progress of the last 10 years. Despite expectations of population growth until the year 2000, some countries, specifically underdeveloped ones, will be more affected than others. It is in these countries that the greatest aid and assistance is needed. The government of Cuba has pointed out in one of the recent journals that it published that it is the moral duty of the international community to deal with the monumental task of feeding, clothing and educating the underprivileged. The government of Cuba does not believe that the cause of uncontrolled population growth is the result of biological factors; it is the result of socioeconomic factors. To date, the world has undergone severe economic change in addition to experiencing an arms race urged on by the Reagan Administration. The result is the hindrance to any population or socioeconomic program which would sharply curtail the misery of millions of people in underdeveloped countries.
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  15. 15


    Kyprianou S

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 45.

    The government of Cyprus considers it of paramount importance the improvement of the quality of life of its citizens. It attempts to influence population and demographic factors through social and economic policies. Since its independence in 1960, the government has achieved its goals of providing a better standard of living. The results can be seen in the increase in the life expectancy from 66 years in 1950 to 74 years in 1980. However, some of the progress was and still is hampered by the invasion and occupation of most of the country by the Turkish army. Today, the country has to deal with a decrease in the fertility and mortality rates and an increase internal and external migration and in the aging of the population. The government has dealt with the problem of fertility by implementing programs which help to combine the duties of childbearing and housework with employment. The government stresses that the presence of the Turkish army seriously impairs any population programs that it wishes to implement. The government of Cyprus believes in the Universal Plan of Action; however, the objects of the Plan of Action can only be achieved during times of peace and security.
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  16. 16

    International trends in reproductive rights.

    Huston P

    [Unpublished] 1990 Jun. Paper presented at the 5th Annual International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Conference: A Decade of the Women's Convention: Where are we? What's next?, Roosevelt Hotel, New York City, Jan. 20-22, 1990. 5 p.

    The acceptance and guarantee of a person's basic human right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of one's children still remains an on-going challenge in legal and social institutions. Government's organized opposition to women's freedom in reproductive health care are illustrated in this paper by examples drawn from Romania, Singapore and the Soviet Union. In spite of the fact that the 1st mention of reproductive health care was paralleled to a basic human tight in the UN in 1966, such international guarantees are ignored by governments and powerful coalition groups thus denying the access and availability of services to millions of men and women. There are now around 300 million couples practicing responsible reproduction, an additional 300 million who are seeking such services and another 100-200 million who will join there 2 groups. Finding appropriate resources to meet the needs of education, information, counseling, and follow-up services are a few of the tasks facing administrators and policy-makers in the next decade. Strong political backing is a pre-requisite to assure success of such investments because of the existence of such groups as the anti-choice lobbyists in the US who have succeeded in denying US government funding to UNFPA and IPPF. Constant vigilance is a 2nd requirement to protect, defend and uphold women's right to reproductive choice. Providing women with legal mechanisms is essential if such practices as genital mutilation (female circumcision), child marriage, slavery and illegal prostitution are to be eradicated. The suggestion that 1994 be proclaimed "International Year of the Family" with the theme Family: Resources and Responsibilities in a Changing World, will allow NGO's to develop viable agendas to defend women's reproductive rights internationally. (author's modified)
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  17. 17


    Karame R

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 95-6.

    The major goal of the 1984 World Population Conference should be to develop a more structured policy that can be adapted to the particular socioeconomic needs and sociocultural infrastructures of the Member States. Since the last Conference, Lebanon has undergone a series of crises, including repeated devastating cyclones, a massive influx of Palestinian refugees, continuous war and its consequent dislocation, housing crises, and general disorganization in all sectors of civilian life. Despite this situation, Lebanon is endeavoring to help its population regain some sense of balance. Ethnic, religious, psychological, and political barriers have, of course, hindered the search for an optimal solution to the country's population problems. The Government of Lebanon would thus welcome support from a specialized body within the international community to help the country to restore its equilibrium.
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  18. 18


    Ortega Saavedra D

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 118.

    The international political and economic crisis is exerting its heaviest toll on developing countries. Most unfortunate is the fact that the arms race not only threatens to destroy the planet through the outbreak of nuclear war, but is also wasting valuable resources that could be used to improve people's living conditions. The billions that are being spent on the arms race should be diverted to help meet man's basic needs and guarantee every individual's basic human rights in terms of food, health, housing, and employment. The struggle for the maintenance of world peace requires a constructive international effort. The World Population Conference can play an important role in urging a reorientation of priorities, so that all the world's individuals can be enabled to freely choose their own destinies and live in dignity.
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  19. 19


    Lamrani K

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 111-2.

    The 1974 World Population Conference called for the establishment of a world economic order based on equality and respect for the independence and sovereignty of every nation. This aspiration has been thwarted by the deadlock in the North-South dialogue, aggravation of the Third World debt, alarming increases in arms expenditures, and the continuous decrease in aid allocated to development in the Third World. The unequal relations between developed and developing countries continue to foster a lack of balance between population density and the concentration of wealth. There is thus a need to renew commitment to a new international order. In this spirit, it will be possible to reduce tension among blocs and to enable the international community to establish economic relations based on principles of justice and mutual interest, especially in terms of prices of industrial goods and raw materials. Until there is a more equitable distribution of wealth in the world, the welfare of the entire human race will be jeopardized. Thus, Morocco reaffirms the necessity of forming a comprehensive, effective policy to fight poverty and improve the standard of living of the world's peoples. Morocco believes that successful population policies will have to be humane, balanced, and integrated in the framework of a comprehensive world plan of action that respects national sovereignty and human rights.
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  20. 20


    Sodnom D

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 109-10.

    The fundamental concern of every society must be the right of people to work, to participate actively in productive and social life, and to improve their material and spiritual circumstances. This principle forms the basis of the population policy of the People's Republic of Mongolia. Toward this end, the government has carried out a cultural revolution to overcome the backwardness left behind by the previous feudal-theocratic regime and has created a modern system of health care, education, and social security based on the dynamic development of the country's economy. Among the country's goals for the year 2000 are a general plan for the development and deployment of labor and material resources; programs for food and agriculture, rational energy use, housing, and manpower allocation; and programs for scientific and technical progress. Increasing the size of the population remains a central focus of Mongolia's population policy. Imperialist economic policies and the consequent hunger, malnutrition, and poverty are the main obstacles to development in poor countries--not overpopulation. Despite successes in increasing life expectancy, improving school attendance rates, and increasing per capita income and social consumption, Mongolia has faced several problems in recent years. The increasingly young population has required large expenditures for social needs; in addition, industrialization and consequent urbanization have produced labor shortages in agriculture. The fact that the population is scattered over such a wide area creates obstacles for cultural and educational work. Mongolia is in full support of United Nations population activities aimed at removing obstacles to solving the problems of developing countries and views ensuring peace and security as a necessary 1st step.
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  21. 21


    Lazar G

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 78-9.

    The Hungarian Government awards great importance to demographic issues. World population problems are inextricably linked to other vital issues such as peace, security, disarmament, protection of the natural environment, and energy resources. Each country must strive to achieve a demographic balance in harmony with social and economic progress. However, this goal can be achieved only under conditions of peace, disarmament and security, and cooperation among the world's nations. At the same time, the formulation and implementation of demographic policies is a sovereign right of each nation and there should be no outside interference in this process. Hungary, which seeks to adjust demographic measures to the constantly shifting demographic and socioeconomic situation, currently seeks to continue to moderate its population decline until it is curbed. Other goals are to improve and stabilize the age composition of the population, improve health conditions, and increase family stability.
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  22. 22


    Hermannsson S

    In: Population perspectives. Statements by world leaders. Second edition, [compiled by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1985. 80.

    The 1974 World Population Conference created a new awareness of the need for national and international action on the interrelationships of population growth and the availability of resources such as food. This awareness was a precondition for action and spurred the development of an integrated approach to global overpopulation. It is hoped that the upcoming conference will underscore the ongoing urgency of the serious scarcity of resources. A better quality of life for all, regional peace, and political stability are but a few of the positive benefits that can be expected from the priority attention of all governments to rapid population growth. Iceland considers it essential that the population issue not be considered in isolation, but rather as 1 of several closely interacting important factors. The years ahead and the political actions chosen by governments will be critical to the future of the world's children.
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  23. 23

    A first note on the right to decide freely and responsibly.

    van de Kaa DJ

    In: Profession: demographer. Ten population studies in honour of F.H.A.G. Zwart, [edited by] B. van Norren and H.A.W. van Vianen. Groningen, Netherlands, Geo Pers, 1988. 181-91.

    The field of population knows a much repeated sentence that is contained in paragraph 14f of the World Population Plan of Action: "All couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so; the responsibility of couples and individuals in the exercise of this right takes into account the needs of their living and future children, and their responsibilities towards the community." Its most basic flaws are a consequence of its nature as a consensus text and of its family oriented background. The text 1) fails to recognize that a hierarchy of human rights is involved, 2) makes insufficient distinction between the right to birth control and the right to procreate, and 3) makes insufficient between rights and duties, and between the rights and duties of individuals, couples, and the government. Prior to the International Population Conference held in Mexico City in 1984, the International Planned Parenthood Federation published a report called "The Human Right to Family Planning," which attempts to define a right to family planning as "a) the right of everyone to have ready access to information, education and services for fertility regulation; and b) the right of everyone to make decisions about reproductive behaviour... ." The approach taken is clearly individualistic: "everyone." An alternative approach may be found by distinguishing between the negative and positive aspects of 2 related, but clearly distinct, rights. Both can be formulated and considered as unalienable, basic human rights, which individual persons have and which may not be invaded by governments. These are 1) the basic human right to use the means and methods of fertility regulation and 2) the basic human right not to procreate against one's will. Both rights could be included in legally enforceable instruments be it international or national. That in view of the emotional, physical and social consequences of childbearing it may be much more important for a woman to be able to exercise these rights than for a man, is readily conceded, but should not lead to a fundamentally wrong formulation or interpretation of the rights concerned.
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  24. 24

    State of world population 1987.

    United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]

    In: UNFPA: 1986 report, [by] United Nations Fund for Population Activities. New York, New York, UNFPA, 1987. 6-31.

    The implications of population growth and prospects for the future are examined in a 1987 UNFPA report on the state of world population. Demographic patterns in developed and developing countries are compared, as well as life expectancy and mortality rates. Although most countries have passed the stage of maximum growth, Africa's growth rate continues to increase. Changes in world population size are accompanied by population distribution and agricultural productivity changes. On an individual level, the fate of Baby 5 Billion is examined based on population trajectories for a developing country (Kenya, country A), and a developed country of approximately the same size (Korea, country B). The report outlines the hazards that Baby 5 Billion would face in a developing country and explains the better opportunities available in country B. Baby 5 Billion is followed through adolescence and adulthood. Whether the attainment of 5 billion in population is a threat or a triumph is questioned. Several arguments propounding the beneficial social, economic, and environmental effects of unchecked population growth are refuted. In addition, evidence of the serious consequences of deforestation and species extinction is presented. The report concludes with an explanation of the developmental, health and economic benefits of vigorous population control policies, especially in developing countries.
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  25. 25

    Human rights, population ethics and the Third World: sources of moral conflict in international population policies.

    Sharpless J

    Madison, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Center for Demography and Ecology, 1987. 47, [6] p. (CDE Working Paper 87-10)

    This philosophical essay considers the basis of moral issues inherent in national and international population policies, largely based on U.N. texts. The basic definition of any moral stance on population policy depends on 1) how the problem is defined; 2) the nature of the feasible alternative courses of action proposed to resolve the problem; and 3) how the proposed actions will affect people's lives and property, broadly defined. Questions of cost versus benefit, ends and means, distributive justice and individual versus the commonality then arise. A brief history of the current world population situation is given. The development of the world's political understanding of the population problem, and the recent U.S. policy responses follow. A majority of the most populous and rapidly growing nations admit to their growth statistics and have instituted population policies. There are several distinct ideological groups that reject the notion of a population crisis, notably Marxists, Catholics, conservative political economists and some radical feminists. Certain middle-of-the-road theorists believe that the moderate population problem will resolve itself once the socioeconomic structure is developed. Resolution of moral dilemmas resulting from alternative visions of the population "problem" or "crisis" usually takes the form of a discussion of human rights. U.N. pronouncements on this issue have evolved from silence to the current view that each family has the right to knowledge and means to space and limit family size. A UNESCO publication even extends and specifies this right as the domain of the woman of the family. The rights of future generations are implicit in population ethics, but these are not articulated in the literature. Finally, UN texts imply rights of each nation (but not necessarily of actual national or ethnic groups within nations) to specify population policy. It should be appreciated that most of the non-western world does not have a tradition of individual rights, but rather communal rights. Most of the UN statements are based on European values. Simply to invoke the concept of "basic human rights" does not resolve moral issues.
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