After Rio, population
June 30th 2012
Promoting a smaller family size is one of the cheapest, most reliable and most effective strategies for sustainable development.
Comments Simon Ross, chief executive, Population Matters “After the disappointment of Rio, the case for promoting a smaller family size is stronger than ever.”
The Rio+ conference on Sustainable Conference on Sustainable Development was widely held to be disappointing. Few specific commitments were made and clear divisions between countries were evident.
The participating countries did emphasize the need for universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health, and the integration of reproductive health in national strategies and programs, in the outcome document. But express reproductive rights language was deleted. There was little recognition of the need to slow population growth, which is projected by the UN to be 40% from 2011 to 2085.
Given the challenges faced by the international community in making progress on sustainability and environmental protection, it seems obvious that all approaches, including population, should be on the agenda.
A good start is being made in the July 11th London Summit on Family Planning
, hosted by DFID and the Gates Foundation. It pledges to mobilize global policy, financing, commodity, and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world's poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020. The hosts say, correctly, that family planning saves lives, improves health, strengthens communities, and stimulates economic growth.
However, if we are serious about sustainable development, we need to say something else, too. It is that it is in the interests of all, particularly the children themselves, that couples have one or two children, not three or more. That is why the provision and promotion of family planning and smaller families is so critical to a sustainable future.
- International Women’s Day 2012 – Reproductive health is the route to ending rural hunger and poverty
- Population Matters condemns coercive sterilisation
- Population & sustainable development links complex
- International Women’s Day 2011 – reproductive rights fundamental to women
- The Perils of Population