Population Matters

Call for population growth to be addressed

Call for population growth to be addressed

We have welcomed a report by the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health entitled Population Dynamics and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Roger Martin, Chair of Population Matters, said, “We welcome this call for the importance of population to sustainability and poverty alleviation to be more widely recognized. We also endorse the report’s recommendations on promoting access to family planning services and empowering women. We would add that governments should promote the benefits of smaller families, both for individuals and for society.”

People on a crowded street

The report, for which we provided input, concludes that current population trends “create challenges for the provision of basic resources and services and for the pursuit of inclusive economic growth and social development.”

The report recommends that governments and their national and international partners:

1. Increase funding for family planning and the wider sexual and reproductive health agenda to 10 per cent of official development assistance and 10 per cent of national development budgets.

2. Not renegotiate the Sustainable Development Goals and targets. The draft framework contains goals regarding healthy lives and gender equality and targets on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, including family planning. Ensuring that these goals and targets are subsequently included in all national development plans is imperative.

3. Advocate for Sustainable Development Goal indicators at a global level and in national development plans. The indicators must be reliable and comparable, and measure progress in achieving universal access to family planning and the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda. The indicators also must be disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

4. Urgently press for further commitments to reduce resource consumption and carbon emissions, and support investment in low-carbon forms of development.

Construction work in Nepal

5. Amend the United Kingdom International Development Act of 2002 to mandate the Secretary of State to consider the impact of development assistance on population dynamics and vice versa.

6. Utilise the economic arguments presented in the report to support governments — and finance ministries in particular — to develop appropriate laws, policies and investments that promote universal access to family planning and the wider sexual and reproductive health agenda.

7. Legislate and develop policies to combat gender-based violence and invest in long-term planning capabilities with better quality data on population dynamics, contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning.

8. Support and invest in secondary education for girls to promote gender equality and empower women.

9. Champion universal access to health care and remove unnecessary barriers, particularly for young people and migrant workers.

10. Work with conflict, humanitarian, security and climate change groups to promote a holistic approach to sustainable development that ensures universal access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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