Population Matters Update

Population awareness

The United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals has issued a draft proposal for consideration by the United Nations General Assembly. We protested the omission of any reference to population, but welcomed the inclusion of text about gender empowerment, reproductive rights and sexual and reproductive health.

Woman working on a farm

We have updated our Overshoot Index, which relates each country's ability to provide renewable ecological services such as water collection, food production and waste absorption to the country's population size and per capita resource consumption.

The Population Reference Bureau has published a concise guide to population and development, and David Johnson has published research on population in South Africa.

UK births fell a welcome 4 per cent last year, bucking recent trends. Possible reasons include the economy, government benefits changes and delayed childbearing.

Liverpool University has started a Population and Health program "to provide students with a deep understanding of population and health trends...in developed and developing countries".

What you can do >>

Family planning & women's rights

We have published a briefing comparing the generally limited aid for family planning across European Union countries and responded to UK consultations on sex education and overseas aid.

Girl Summit 2014

We recently supported the Girl Summit opposing child marriage and female genital mutilation.

A report published by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that rejection of contraception by married women in developing countries is due more to sex being only occasional or concern about side effects than to a lack of access.

Two welcome media reports have recently challenged conventional narratives on family formation, defending respectively a childfree life and having children later.

A UK think tank has proposed limiting child benefit to four children per household, while another has proposed replacing the benefit with greater childcare support. We applaud the principle but think that two is a better limit, while ensuring that support is provided for those in need.

What you can do >>

Environmental conservation

More evidence has emerged of the "sixth mass extinction".

Sea life

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has issued a report warning of continuing damage to Australia's Great Barrier Reef from development and climate change.

A study conducted in Sweden has revealed that methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxode at trapping heat, is now escaping from the bed of the Arctic Ocean.

World leaders are going to meet at United Nations headquarters in New York City for Climate Summit 2014 on 23rd September. There is an online petition urging the leaders to take strong action and marches will be held in cities around the world on 21st September.

What you can do >>

Sustainable lifestyles

We have commented on warnings about UK infrastructure costs, housing pressures and food security, and issued a critique of the UK Department of the Environment and Climate Change.

Shopping mall

Earth Overshoot Day 2014, the day on which global consumption will exceed the predicted production from renewable resources for the whole year, is coming up later this month.

There has been a call for an end to the sending of food waste to landfills and adoption of other waste-reduction measures "to save resources as the world's population rises".

We recommend the latest issue of Reproductive Health Matters, which is focused on the links between family planning and sustainability.

What you can do >>

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Booking details for our Annual General Meeting and Conference on 11th October will go out to members shortly via email and our magazine.

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Gifts in wills are important to us. We support Remember a Charity Week in the UK (8 - 14 September) and will offer free wills from October.


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