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Studies in Family Planning. 1984 Nov-Dec; 15(6/1):296-302.The international Conference on Population, held in Mexico City in August 1984, met to review past developments and to make recommendations for future implementation of the World Population Plan of Action. Despite the several ifferences of opinion, the degree of controversy was minor for an intergovernmental meeting of this size. The 147 government delegations at the Conference reached overall agreement on recommendations for future international commitment to expanding population efforts in the future. This review examines the recommendations of the Mexico Conference with regard to health, family planning, women in development, research, and realted issues. The total 88 recommendations wre intended to reaffirm and refine the World Population Plan of Action adopted in Bucharest in 1974, and to strengthen the Plan for the next decade. Substantial improvement in development was noted including fertility and mortality declines, improvements in school enrollement and literacy rates, as well as access to health services. Economic trends, however, were much less encouraging. While the global rate of population growth has declined slightly since 1974, world population has increased by 770 million during the decade, with 90% of that increase in the developing countries. Part of the controversy at the Conference focused on the remarkable change of position by the US delegation, which largely reversed the policies expressed at Bucharest. The US delegation stated that population was a neutral issue in development, that development is the primary requirement in achieving fertility decline. Several recommendations emphasized the need to integrate population and development planning, and called for increased national and international efforts toward the eradication of mass hunger, illiteracy, and unemployment; achievement of adaquate health and nutrition levels; and improvement in women's status. The need for futher development of management, training, information, education and communication was recognized. A clear call to strenghten global efforts in population policies and programs emerged.
Population and Development Review. 1984; 10(2):353-9.Thise comments and remarks were fomulated in 1974 during a panel discussion which was part of the program for the Population Tribune, a nongovernmental meeting, organized in parallel with the 1st UN World Population Conference at Bucharest. The panelists discussed the ways in which they expected the deliberations of a similarly conceived international conference, taking place 10 years after Bucharest, would differ from those of the 1974 meeting. The author prefaces his comments by clarifying his own position: population change is nnot the determinant of economic and social development. 5 major differences between the future policy debates and those at Bucharest are identified, explored and critically judged. The next Conference's deliberations will be characterised by a greatly increased understanding and appreciation of what its topic is supposed to be, of what the population problem really is and of what population policy is about. The author argues that the present conference did not deal with these issues in a satisfactory fashion. He maintains that there has been a failure to identify the structure of the population problem: an inconsistency between collective and individual interest. The principle to be adopted by governments is to analyze their own situation, identify their problems and act according to their best interest. The principles are the same whether a country is developed or developing. A 2nd major difference will be an increased understanding and appreciation that population policies should be guided by a search for improvement and optimization. A 3rd important difference will be increased demographic sophistication of the participants, to overcome the mechanistic and naive interpretation of the development-fertility link. A 4th difference is the expectation that, by 1984, the economic sophistication in discussing problems of development will have been greatly increased, which will facilitate constructive discussions of economic-demographic interrelations. A final change expected for 1984 would manifest itself in a calmer yet more helpful stance of the developed countries with respect to the developing world in demographic matters. Ultimately, the solutions must be local, rather than global.