Population and environment in the twenty-first century


Abstract: In the past 50 years global population grew by 3.7 billion. There is a large unmet need for family planning and wherever women have been given the means and the information to decide if or when to have the next child, then family size has fallen, often rapidly. However, since the UN 1994 Cairo conference on population and development, support for international family has collapsed and fertility declines in many of the poorest countries have stalled. Amongst some of the most vulnerable groups family size has risen. The investment made in voluntary family planning will largely determine whether, in the next 50 years, the global population grows to something less than 8 billion or to over 10. The trajectory taking us to the higher figure could jeopardize any possibility of transitioning the global economy to a biological sustainability. Much precious time has been lost. Almost all the additional growth in population will take place in the world’s poorest countries, and it is imperative that the international community act to improve access to family planning in those countries, within a human rights frame framework.

Keywords Population growth Conservation Contraception Cairo conference Sustainable economy

Published in Population and Environment, May 2007, 28(4-5): 204-211

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Malcolm Potts
Publication date: 
April 3, 2007
Publication type: 
Journal Article