Population Matters Update - July 2015 Part 2

Population awareness

Later this month, the United Nations Population Division will release its 2015 population estimates and projections. The numbers will be crucial for shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

Population growth is putting pressure on public infrastructure

In Australia, population growth is “diluting” the benefits from government investment in public infrastructure, such as housing and health care.

The population size of the UK has reached another record high with net migration overtaking natural growth (the difference between births and deaths) to become the largest contributor to population growth. The Guardian, amongst many other publications, quoted our chief executive Simon Ross, who spoke about the impact of continued population growth in the country.

Young people in the UK are facing “exile” as they are having to leave the area in which they were raised to find affordable housing.

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Family planning & women's rights

The United Nations Human Rights Office for the High Commissioner has launched a series of factsheets on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) rights. These factsheets focus on the intrinsic right of people to access SRH services, including educational information, contraception and abortion.

A young girl studying at school

Daughters of women who work tend to have better careers, higher pay and more equal relationships than those whose mothers stay at home, according to a study covering 24 countries recently published by Harvard University.

The 2015 update to the European Union’s Gender Equality Index, which synthesises various aspects of differences in rights and achievements between men and women to create a single measure, reveals marginal progress between 2005 and 2012 and calls for more to be done.

During the past two decades, German charity Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung has trained more than 15,000 peer educators through its Youth-To-Youth Initiative aimed at improving sexual and reproductive health among young people in East Africa.

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Environmental conservation

Marine life will be irreversibly harmed unless CO2 emissions are cut, according to scientists who warn that limiting global warming to 2C as national governments have agreed to do will not prevent the harmful effects.

Beijing's population growth has quadrupled its environmental impact

Beijing’s population doubled between 2002 and 2009, leading to the quadrupling of its environmental impact.

An updated land cover map reveals significant changes to the UK landscape between 2006 and 2012 resulting from forests being cleared for development or agriculture and artificial surfaces replacing natural habitats.

Wildflower species are declining in California. This is the first direct evidence of the detrimental impact of shifting weather patterns and may foreshadow much greater diversity loss.

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Sustainable lifestyles

This year, countries will seek to reach agreement on a global strategy for development until 2030, directed by the Sustainable Development Goals. We have issued a briefing on the goals.  We welcome their emphasis on gender equality and environmental conservation but are concerned by the absence of consideration of a sustainable population size.

Environmental degradation and gender inequality have undermined efforts to address extreme poverty

As the Sustainable Development Goals’ predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reach their target year of 2015, the final annual report reviews the progress that has been made toward achieving them. The MDGs are time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty. Despite overall gains, continued gender inequality and environmental degradation undermine these achievements.

The World Bank’s head of agriculture and food security has spoken of the need to focus on climate-smart agriculture. Food output needs to increase by half to feed the global population by 2050, but agriculture is both vulnerable to climate change and a primary driver of it.

Local government officials in London, UK, have promised to introduce electric buses to reduce the levels of damaging air pollution.

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Population Matters Update is edited by Georgia Stevenson, formatted by Amanda Katz and distributed by Julie Lewis.


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One of our patrons, Sir David Attenborough, met United States President Barack Obama last month to discuss the future of the planet. The full interview is available to view online.

We have relaunched our semiannual Journal, which provides insights on topics related to population sustainability. Anyone interested in submitting material for future issues should contact the editor, Cheryl Mills.

Michael Cook, who has been active in our West London local members’ group, has been approved as a Guarantor member.

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