Action by the United Nations to implement the recommendations of the World Population Conference, 1974: monitoring of population trends and policies.
Pursuant to the recommendation of the World Population Plan of Action adopted in 1974, which was reaffirmed by the International Conference on Population in 1984, the United Nations has been undertaking a biennial review of population trends and policies. At the 22nd session of the Population Commission, held in January 1984, the Commission requested the Secretary-General to prepare an addendum to the concise report on monitoring of population trends and policies for the 23rd session, bearing in mind the relatively short time span since the preparation of the last such report. The purpose of the present document is to provide the Population Commission with such information to facilitate its deliberation on the agenda item. Analyses show that the gradual slow-down of global population growth is still holding with the present rate estimated at 1.65%/year, down from 2% during the 1960s. Declines have occurred in both the developed and the developing countries. Regional diversity of population trends have been so large that an overall global assessment seems almost irrelevant for policy consideration at national levels. The future population growth rate is expected to decline slower than it did in the past 15 years unless population policies change significantly. During the 1980-85 period the working age population (15-64 years) in the developing countries is estimated to have increased, on the average, at an annual rate of 2.8%, the elderly population (60 and over) at 3% and women in the reproductive ages (15-49 years) at 2.9%. The most urgent problem for many developing countries is perhaps the continuing very rapid increase of the working age population. The aging of the population, which bears significant policy implications, is among the most salient features of population change in the world, except for Africa. Fertility rates in most developed countries continue to fluctuate at low levels. No current data on developing country rates are available. An overall improvement in mortality in most countries is noted. A high rate of urban population growth in developing countries is a tremendous problem facing these countries. International migration, social and economic implications, demographic perceptions and governmental policies are summarized. National sovereignty, human rights, cultural values and peace are stressed as important factors in population policies. Women's status is discussed as playing a role in population change.