Population Matters

A moral duty to limit growth

A moral duty to limit growth

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed upon in 2000, which were intended to improve wellbeing, particularly in the poorest countries, are due to expire at the end of this year.

The creators of the MDGs have been criticised for failing to take into consideration the root causes of poverty and gender inequality and the holistic nature of development. In addition, the MDGs do not address human rights or economic development.

People living in poverty

Seventeen new development goals collectively called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have recently been identified. Unlike the MDGs, which were targets for poor countries, every country is expected to contribute actively to achieving the SDGs.

Developed countries are held responsible for implementing initiatives to help achieve the SDGs in developing countries and taking action within their own borders. This includes limiting consumption. Reducing consumption is closely linked to the SDGs related to sustainable consumption and development of resources. As poorer countries develop, they inevitably begin to consume more. Therefore developed countries have a moral duty to reduce their consumption and promote more equitable consumption patterns.

Working to achieve reduced consumption must include encouraging people to have smaller families. Limiting population growth and size is directly related to reducing consumption levels, as fewer people means there will be less demand for resources and less strain on infrastructure.

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