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The road to Mexico City: preparation for the 1984 International Conference on Population.

Heisel DF

The decision to hold the UN Mexico City Conference on Population was not arrived at without controversy. The mandate of the 1984 Conference was to review progress made over the 10 years following the World Population Conference in Bucharest in 1974, which adopted the World Population Plan of Action. The Plan as not viewed by all parties as a success, but it has continued to be recognized for a decade now as the statement of what can be agreed to at the international level with respect to population. The decision to hold the 1984 Conference was influenced by 1) the view that population questions had become less controversial and that ideological opposition was receding, 2) the feeling among many population specialists that the population issue had lost salience, and 3) the fact that demand for multinational population support began to significantly exceed supply. Developing countries were more strongly in favor of holding the Conference than developed countries, who expressed more reservations; this configuration of support was very different from that of 1974. The final decision was to hold the conference, but it was further decided that the Conference would limit its attention to the Plan's recommendations for action and for implementation. The report reviewing and appraising population trends and policies since the last World Population Conference was based on 4 expert group meetings on 1) fertility and the family, 2) population distribution, migration, and development, 3) population resources, environment, and development, and 4) mortality and health policy. The final report highlights 1) the slowing of economic growth, 2) world population growth rates, 3) new and changing population policies, 4) fertility change, 5) urban growth, 6) foregin employment, and 7) changes in population structure.

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