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UN Chronicle. 1991 Jun; 28(2): p..The world's estimated 8 million female refugees--over half of the total refugee population--were the focus of International Women's Day on 8 March. "None have more fully demonstrated the capacity of women to cope and prevail than those women", Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said in his traditional message for the Day. Visions of women's potential for leadership were explored at "Making Women Count in the 1990s", a panel discussion held at UN Headquarters. Refugees, women and development issues, and women and work were other topics discussed by panelists Catherine O'Neill, Winn Newman and Dr. Nafis Sadik. Ms. O'Neill works with the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children; Mr. Newman, a lawyer, has successfully argued landmark legal cases in the United States on equal pay for work of comparable value; and Dr. Sadik is the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund. Author Erskine Childers, formerly with the UN Development Programme, was the moderator. The keynote speaker was former United States Congress member and Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1991. vi, 65 p. (WHO Technical Report Series 807)This report by WHO's Expert Committee on Environmental Health in Urban Development explains that social and physical factors, including the destruction of the natural environment, place the health of urban dwellers at risk. The report discusses the urbanization phenomenon and its consequences, the problems and needs in environmental health, and provides recommendations. From 1950-80, the world's urban population nearly tripled, with most of the growth occurring in developing countries, where urban population quadrupled. Experts predict that many urban centers in developing countries will have an annual growth rate of more than 3% over the next 40 years. While developed countries have seen declines in the level of population growth, the health risks to its urban inhabitants have nonetheless increased. Technological changes, increased energy consumption, and increased levels of waste have placed great stress on the environment and have increased the health risks. But developing countries have seen even more problems associated with urban living. Rapid urbanization levels have led to overcrowding, congestion, and the destruction of previously unsettled ecosystems. Pollution levels have increased. Due to the lack of sanitation services, the threat of communicable diseases has increased. Social problem such as crime and violence also affect the well-being of urban dwellers. The group at greatest risk includes poor women and children. The report explains that tackling the health problems associated with urbanization will require a major conceptual change, considering that current efforts are ineffectual. Some of the recommendations include: strengthening the management of urban development; strengthening the management and technology for environmental health; and strengthening community action.
Santiago, Chile, United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 1991. 146 p. (Libros de CEPAL No. 31; LC/G.1648/Rev.2-P)This book reviews the issue of changing production patterns with social equity and the integration of environmental priorities within development objectives in Latin America and the Caribbean. The book is also a preparatory document for the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The book is based on six central ideas. 1) Environmental sustainability is a necessary outcome of economic policy in Latin America for meeting the needs of future generations and for ensuring sustained growth at present. 2) The origins and consequences of environmental problems differ between developed and developing countries. 3) Man's relationship to nature occurs at all levels from individual to global, and all levels are interactive. 4) Sustainable development outcomes secure a dynamic balance between all forms of capital and assets. 5) Integration of environmental concerns within the development process requires a systematic process, appropriate economic policies, management of natural resources, technological innovation, broad-based community participation, education, institutional consolidation, investment, and research. 6) The 1992 UNCED provided an opportunity to adopt a new perspective on development that was environmentally sustainable. The book examines the links between environmental sustainability and macroeconomic policy, natural resources, changing production patterns, poverty, development of strategies, financing, and international cooperation. It defines "sustainable development"; describes the nature of relations between economic policies, natural resources, and the environment; analyzes the main relations between poverty and the environment and the role played by technology in changing production patterns; identifies new institutional structures and financial policies and arrangements; and links the international agenda with sustainable development.
REVUE DE L INFIRMIERE. 1991 May 21; 41(10):33-5.The coordinator of a project fighting against AIDS in Tanzania in collaboration with the government is a Danish nurse, one of 4 mobilized teachers, working for the Tanzanian Red Cross to spread the message of prevention in primary and secondary classes in the North of the Kagera region using original pedagogical methods such as theater, song, and poems. The educational project consists of a group of 8 persons (social workers and nurses) travelling in 2 groups directed by a doctor. The Red Cross helps orphans, providing them with uniforms and school supplies by turning to the village administration, who indicates which families need help with their health. At present the problem of the cholera epidemic is the most pressing, and AIDS is dealt with in conjunction with the filtration of water and the plantation of trees in the Red Cross program that started in March 1989. The extreme poverty is attributable both to AIDS and to the war with Uganda, in addition to economic difficulties caused by the free fall of the price of coffee, the principal cash crop of the region, and the fact that banana trees contracted a disease. It is a higher priority for most men to obtain food than a box of condoms, especially since the disease is hard to comprehend until symptoms appear. However, they do not distribute condoms, but only inform young people where to get them, partly because of the opposition of religious organizations to this preventive measure. The other solution is to have only 1 sexual partner, but a good number in their audience are Muslim who have several wives. Many other nongovernmental organizations mobilize in Tanzania with actions against this epidemic. Some people change their behavior, other never do, and the hope lies in making young people aware of this disease.
Report of the ESCAP/UNDP Expert Group Meeting on Population, Environment and Sustainable Development: 13-18 May 1991, Jomtien, Thailand.
Bangkok, Thailand, United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP], 1991. iv, 41 p. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 106)The 1991 meeting of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific considered the following topics: the interrelationships between population and natural resources, between population and the environment and poverty, and between population growth and consumption patterns, technological changes and sustainable development; the social aspects of the population-environment nexus (the effect of social norms and cultural practices); public awareness and community participation in population and environmental issues; and integration of population, environment, and development policies. The organization of the meeting is indicated. Recommendations were made. The papers on land, water, and air were devoted to a potential analytical model and the nature of the interlocking relationship between population, environment, and development. Dynamic balance was critical. 1 paper was presented on population growth and distribution, agricultural production and rural poverty; the practice of a simpler life style was the future challenge of the world. Several papers focused on urbanization trends and distribution and urban management policies. Only 1 paper discussed rural-urban income and consumption inequality and the consequences; some evidence suggests that increased income and equity is associated with improved resource management. Carrying capacity was an issue. The technological change paper reported that current technology contributed to overproduction and overconsumption and was environmentally unfriendly. The social norms paper referred to economic conditions that turned people away from sound environmental, cultural norms and practices. A concept paper emphasized women's contribution to humanism which goes beyond feminism; another presented an analytical summary of problems. 2 papers on public awareness pointed out the failures and the Indonesian experience with media. 1 paper provided a perspective on policy and 2 on the methodology of integration. The recommendations provided broad goals and specific objectives, a holistic and conceptual framework for research, information support, policies, resources for integration, and implementation arrangements. All activities must be guided by 1) unity of mankind, 2) harmony between population and natural resources, and 3) improvement in the human condition.
ZPG BACKGROUNDER. 1991 Oct; 1-4.During the 1990's 1.5 billion children will be born, more than in any other decade. 10% of them will not reach their 5th birthday. The causes of these deaths are contaminated drinking water, poor sanitation, common diseases, environmental pollution, and malnutrition. None of these are mysterious problems; the solution is only a matter of will. Even the US which ranks 6th in per capita gross national products suffers from these problems as it does not even make the top 10 in any significant measure of child welfare. The US ranks 18th in child mortality rates and 21st in < 5 mortality rates. In the US, 101 cities, containing 50% of the US population, have failed to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards for ground level ozone. Child labor is also an international problem that exists in the US as well. The average fine for a child labor violation is $170. In cases involving permanent injury or death to a child the average fine is only $750. Clearly even the US does not place a very high value on children. In every nation, including the US, family size is a very accurate predictor of child poverty, mortality, disease, and abuse. The more children there are in a family the more likely they are to be poor, get sick, be physically abused, or die. Families with 5 or more children are 3 times more likely to be poor than families with only 2 children. Child survival programs alone are hot as successful as a combined program of child survival and family planning. Thus family planning programs should be in place in every country that is currently having trouble keeping its children healthy, well fed, and prosperous. If every tax payer in the industrialized world contributed 1 penny a day, or US3.65 annually, to family planni ng assistance, there would be enough resources to ensure that all the children of the world would be wanted and cared for properly.
PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW. 1991 Winter; 30(4 Pt 1):497-501.Papanek's responses to the Gamani Corea paper on UN strategy for the 1990s in international development are presented. Corea's paper is considered as an evolution of thinking about development economies. Over 40 years, some issues have faded and others have taken prominence, and some issues have been ignored even though of considerable importance to development. 4 areas are identified for discussion: 1) the changing role of planning, and the market, poverty, and the environment; 2) north/south issues; 3) major changes in the world economic system; and 4) the world economic environment and the role of domestic policies. The greatest change has occurred in the emphasis on environmental consequences of development in contrast to past concerns with achieving a high rate of growth with some attention to land tenure issues. There is also an emphasis on the private sector and foreign private investment. Planning has taken a recessive role. Income distribution and poverty alleviation is also of concern. Although government intervention is no longer fashionable, it is not clear what provisions there are in the market for assuring that the poor have a reasonable share of the growth. The north/south issues are discussed in terms of the limited bargaining power of developing countries. Contributing factors are the multiplicity of objectives desired simultaneously. The UN resolutions on development strategy do not always reflect developing country's objectives. Suggestions are made to bargain 1) on objectives crucial to many developing countries, 2) on objectives that generate the least resistance among the industrialized countries, and 3) on those objectives where there is reasonable consensus on what needs to be done. Major changes in the world economic system that are not included in UN strategy but will affect policy are: 1) US leadership has declined as the principal supplier of capital; 2) US absorption of world exports is shrinking; 3) the peace dividend will insure stability if not an increase in transfers; 4) increased competition for markets and private investment will come from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; and 5) a response needs to be made to technology changes in the US, Japan, an Europe in order to stay competitive. There is recognition that countries shape their own destiny and can be successful with the appropriate policy mix.
New York, New York, UNFPA, 1991. 44 p.When discussing issues of population and the environment, 2 factors stand out: 1) poverty is continuing to grow, rather than shrink. Worldwide over 1 billion people live in absolute poverty and the total international debt of low-income countries is over $1,000 billion and growing; 2) social sector programs designed to maintain health, family planning services, housing, and education are constantly underfunded and do not receive the priority that they merit in national and international development programs. This report from the UNFPA contains discussions of sustainable development, the problem of growing urban populations, the balance between population and resources, land degradation, tropical forest destruction, loss of biodiversity, water shortages, population impacts on quality of life, and policy considerations.
ICCW NEWS BULLETIN. 1991 Jul-Dec; 39(3-4):12-5.In 1924, the League of Nations adopted the 1st international law recognizing that children have inalienable rights and are not the property of their father. The UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child emerged in 1959. 1979 was the International Year of the Child. In 1990 there was the World Summit on Children and the UN General Assembly adopted the Global Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention included civil, economic, social, cultural, and political rights of children all of which covered survival, development, protection, and participation. At the end of 1990, 60 countries had ratified the convention, thus including it into their national legislation. Even though India had not yet endorsed the Convention by the end of 1991, it expressed its support during the 1st workshop on the Rights of the Child which focused on girls. India has a history of supporting children as evidenced by 250 central and state laws on their welfare such as child labor and child marriage laws. In 1974, India adopted the National Policy for Children followed by the establishment of the National Children's Board in 1975. The Board's activities resulted in the Integrated Child Development Services Program which continues to include nutrition, immunization, health care, preschool education, maternal education, family planning, and referral services. Despite these laws and actions, however, the Indian government has not been able to improve the status of children. For example, between 1947-88, infant mortality fell only from 100/1000 to 93/1000 live births and child mortality remained high at 33.3 in 1988 compared with 51.9 in 1971. Population growth poses the biggest problem to improving their welfare. Poverty also exacerbates their already low status.
HYGIE. 1991; 10(3):24-6.UNESCO's work in the field of health promotion is aimed at improving the quality of life of the world's people through an interdisciplinary effort. Health promotion and education are defined broadly, as the provision of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes conducive to health and well-being. Similarly, health education is considered to occur in a variety of settings--from schools to field operational projects to cooperative programs with Member States to community activities. Of greatest concern is meeting the basic health and educational needs of the most disadvantaged, marginalized sectors--a goal that requires viewing health within its broader social and economic context. Poverty makes children more vulnerable to endemic diseases and nutritional disorders, and in turn undermines the effectiveness of school-based interventions, unless it is addressed directly. School feeding programs (preferably based on parent participation and indigenous foodstuffs) may be necessary to relieve children's hunger and facilitate learning. In some cases, schools themselves are sources of disease as a result of overcrowded classrooms, poor ventilation, and a lack of clean water and latrines. In regions where health services are not easily accessible, it may be necessary to train teachers to recognize health problems such as parasitic infections, malaria, and visual and hearing disorders and to provide limited first aid. Since school children in developing countries are within 5-10 years of childbearing age, investments in increasing their knowledge of health, nutrition, and family planning provide substantial returns.
INTER-AMERICAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT. BULLETIN. 1991 Dec; 8(11):1-3.The author indicts World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and overall developed country policy as responsible for Latin America's large impoverished and disenfranchised child and adolescent population. As an example of the magnitude of the problem, he notes that 1/3 of Brazil's 150 million population is comprised of youth and children. 8 million live on the streets, of which only 1 million receive official aid. Forced to fend for themselves, these youths fall into drug addiction, prostitution, and crime, suffering poor health, malnutrition, and widespread illiteracy. Many are sold, imprisoned, kidnapped, and exploited. Street children in Rio de Janeiro even suffer the added threat of being killed by the Squadrons of Death who consider the murder of juveniles a solution to delinquency. The state of affairs has deteriorated to such an extent in Peru that abandoned children are considered the most significant social problem. Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua all suffer similar problems of impoverished youths, and claim some of the highest infant mortality rates (IMR) in the world. Cuba is the only country in Latin America with an IMR comparable to and often lower than many developed countries. Chile and Costa Rica follow closely behind in their achievements. Where Latin America already holds the largest gap between wealthy and poor, meeting adjustment demands of Northern economies and countries has only made conditions and inequities worse. Recession and poverty have worsened at the expense of youths. Attempting to pay down debt over the 1980s, improvements in Latin America's trade balance have gone unnoticed as the South has grown to be a net exporter of capital. Latin American nations need more than token charitable donations in times of emergency and particular duress. Development programs sensitive to the more vulnerable segments of society, and backed by the political will of developed nations, are called for. Unless constructive, supportive policy is enacted by Northern nations to help those impoverished in the South, social rebellion and continued, enhanced resistance should be expected from Latin American youths in the years ahead.
ASIA-PACIFIC POPIN BULLETIN. 1991 Jun; 3(2):7-11.George Walmsley, UNFPA country director for the Philippines, discusses demographic and economic conditions in the Philippines, and present plans to revitalize the national population program after 20 years of only modest achievements. The Philippines is a rapidly growing country with much poverty, unemployment and underemployment, uneven population distribution, and a large, highly dependent segment of children and youths under age 15. Initial thrusts of the population program were in favor of fertility reduction, ultimately changing to adopt a perspective more attuned to promoting overall family welfare. Concurrent with this change also came a shift from a clinic-based to community-based approach. Fertility declines have nonetheless grown weaker over the past 8-10 years. A large gap exists between family planning knowledge and practice, with contraceptive prevalence rates declining from 45% in 1986 to 36% in 1988. Behind this lackluster performance are a lack of consistent political support, discontinuities in program implementation, a lack of coordination among participating agencies, and obstacles to program implementation at the field level. The present government considers the revitalization of this program a priority concern. Mr. Walmsley discusses UNFPA's definition of a priority country, and what that means for the Philippines in terms of resources nd future activities. He further responds to questions about the expected effect of the Catholic church upon program implementation and success, non-governmental organization involvement, the role of information and information systems in the program, the relationship between population, environment and sustainable development, and the status of women and its effect on population.
International Family Planning Perspectives. 1991 Sep; 17(3):108-13.South Asia consisting of Bangladesh, India, Nepal Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, claims 1/5 to total world population with expected population growth of at least 200 million by the year 2000. Taking issue with assumptions behind World Bank (WB) and United Nations (UN) population projections for the region, the authors make less optimistic assumptions of country fertility and mortality trends when running population projections for the region. Following discussion of methodological issues for and analysis of population projections, the paper's alternate assumptions and projection results are presented and discussed. Projections were made for each country of the region over the period 1985-2010, based on assumptions that only very modest fertility declines and improvements in life expectancy would develop over most of the 1990s. South Asian population would therefore grow from over 1 billion in 1985, to 1.4 billion by 2000, and almost 1.8 billion by 2010. Overall slower fertility decline than assumed for the UN and WB projections point to larger population growth with momentum for continued, larger growth through the 21st century. Rapid, substantial population growth as envisioned by these projections will impede movement toward an urban-industrial economy, with a burgeoning labor force exceeding the absorptive capacity of the modern sector. Job seekers will pile up in agriculture and the informal sector. Demands upon the government to deliver education and health services will also be extraordinarily high. High-tech niches will, however, continue expanding in India and Pakistan with overall negative social effects. Their low demand for labor will exacerbate income disparities, fuel interpersonal, interclass, and interregional tensions, and only contribute to eventual ethnic, communal, and political conflict. Immediate, coordinated policy is urged to achieve balanced low mortality and low fertility over the next few decades.
TEMAS DE POBLACION. 1991 Jun; 1(2):51-5.This critique of the World Bank's role in developing country population programs begins with a description of a 1987 case in which an 80-year- old Bangladeshi man was persuaded to undergo vasectomy and then robbed of his incentive payment by the health agent. For over 20 years, the World Bank has pressured 3rd World governments to implement population control programs. Although there are divergent opinions within the World Bank, the most dominant is the neomalthusian view that the poor through their high fertility help perpetuate their own poverty. This view hides the real source of poverty in the Third World: the unequal distribution of resources within these countries and between the developed and developing countries. The World Bank has always been blind to the inequalities, and has associated with the elites of developing countries who monopolize the resources of their countries and thereby impede authentic development. Furthermore, the emphasis on population control distorts social policy and hinders the implementation of safe and voluntary family planning services. In many countries the World Bank has required governments to give greater priority to population control than to basic health services. It has pressured them to relax contraceptive prescription norms and has promoted the more effective methods without regard to proper use or side effects. In Bangladesh the World Bank has sponsored sterilization programs that rely on coercion and incentives. In that country of enormous inequities, 10% of landowners control over 50% of lands, while nearly half the population is landless and chronically underemployed. Political power is concentrated in the military government, which annually receives over 1.5 billion dollars in external aid. External aid primarily benefits the wealthy. 3/4 of the population are undernourished and less than 1/3 are literate or have access to basic health care. The poor of Bangladesh, as in many other countries, feel that their only source of security is to have many children, a significant proportion of whom will not survive. In rural Bangladesh, where chronic hunger and unemployment are rife, the incentives and the pressures of family planning and health workers were sufficient to persuade many persons to undergo sterilization. Payment of commissions to workers to promote sterilization has discouraged them from supplying adequate information about sterilization for fear of losing clients. Population from other donors and wide publicity about the abuses in the sterilization program and the high rates of regret among women undergoing sterilization only for the incentives have led to some modifications, but the World Bank has continued to exert pressure on the Bangladeshi government to develop fertility-control programs. The damaging effects of World Bank population programs can also be seen in Indonesia, Nepal, and other developing countries.
STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING. 1991 Jan-Feb; 22(1):1-18.A study investigative the pros and cons of financial payments for sterilizations to clients, medical personnel, and agents who motivate and refer clients was conducted by the government of Bangladesh in conjunction with the World Bank. Results indicate that Bangladeshi men and women opt to be sterilized both voluntarily and after consideration of the nature and implications of the procedure. Clients were also said to be knowledgeable of alternate methods of controlling fertility. A high degree of client satisfaction was noted overall with, however, 25% regret among those clients with less than 3 children. Money is a contributing factor in a large majority of cases, though dominating as motivation for a small minority. Financial payments to referrers have sparked a proliferation of many unofficial, self-employed agents, especially men recruiting male sterilization. Targeting especially poor potential clients, these agents focus upon sterilization at the expense of other fertility regulating methods, and tend to minimize the cons of the process. Examples of client cases and agents are included in the text along with discussion of implications from study findings.
In: Preserving the global environment: the challenge of shared leadership, edited by Jessica T. Mathews. New York, New York/London, England, W. W. Norton, 1991. 39-77.The thesis that human population growth will eventually destroy the equilibrium of the world ecosystem, because environmental strain is a nonlinear effect of the linear growth, is embellished with discussions of technology and resulting pollution, population dynamics, birth and death rates, effects of expanded education, causes of urbanization, time constraints and destabilizing effects of partial development and the debt crisis. It is suggested that the terms renewable and nonrenewable resources are paradoxical, since the nonrenewable resoureces such as minerals will always exist, while renewable ecosystems and species are limited. The competitive economy actually accelerates destruction of biological resoureces because it overvalues rare species when they have crossed the equilibrium threshold and are in decline. Technological outputs are proportional to population numbers: therefore adverse effects of population should be considered in billions, not percent increase even though it is declining. Even the United Nations does not have predictions of the effects of added billions, taking into account improved survival and decreased infant mortality. Rapid urbanization of developing countries and their debt crisis have resulted from political necessity from the point of view of governments in power, rather than mere demographics. Recommendations are suggested for U.S. policy based on these points such as enlightened political leadership, foreign aid, and scientific investment with the health of the world ecosystem in mind rather than spectacle and local political ideology.