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Chapter III: Interrelationships between population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development - A. Integrating population and development strategies


Basis for action

3.1. The everyday activities of all human beings, communities and countries are interrelated with population change, patterns and levels of use of natural resources, the state of the environment,and the pace and quality of economic and social development. There is general agreement that persistent widespread poverty as well as serious social and gender inequities have significant influences on, and are in turn influenced by, demographic parameters such as population growth, structure and distribution. There is also general agreement that unsustainable consumption and production patterns are contributing to the unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental degradation as well as to there inforcement of social inequities and of poverty with the above-mentioned consequences for demographic parameters. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, adopted by the international community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, call for patterns of development that reflect the new understanding of these and other intersectoral linkages. Recognizing the longer term realities and implications of current actions, the development challenge is to meet the needs of present generations and improve their quality of life without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their ownneeds.

3.2. Despite recent declines in birth rates in many countries,further large increases in population size are inevitable. Owingto the youthful age structure, for numerous countries the coming decades will bring substantial population increases in absolute numbers. Population movements within and between countries,including the very rapid growth of cities and the unbalanced regional distribution of population, will continue and increase in the future.

3.3. Sustainable development implies, inter alia, long-term sustainability in production and consumption relating to all economic activities, including industry, energy, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, tourism and infrastructure, inorder to optimize ecologically sound resource use and minimize waste. Macroeconomic and sectoral policies have, however, rarely given due attention to population considerations. Explicitly integrating population into economic and development strategies will both speed up the pace of sustainable development and poverty alleviation and contribute to the achievement of population objectives and an improved quality of life of the population.

Objectives

3.4. The objectives are to fully integrate population concerns into:

  1. Development strategies, planning, decision-making and resource allocation at all levels and in all regions, with the goal of meeting the needs, and improving the quality of life, of presentand future generations;
  2. All aspects of development planning in order to promote social justice and to eradicate poverty through sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development.

Actions

3.5. At the international, regional, national and local levels,population issues should be integrated into the formulation,implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all policies and programmes relating to sustainable development. Development strategies must realistically reflect the short-, medium- andlong-term implications of, and consequences for, population dynamics as well as patterns of production and consumption.

3.6. Governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations and other concerned parties should undertake timely and periodic reviews of their development strategies, with the aim of assessing progress towards integrating population into development and environment programmes that take into account patterns of production and consumption and seek to bring about population trends consistent with the achievement of sustainable development and the improvement of the quality of life.

3.7. Governments should establish the requisite internal institutional mechanisms and enabling environment, at all levels ofsociety, to ensure that population factors are appropriately addressed within the decision-making and administrative processes of all relevant government agencies responsible for economic, environmental and social policies and programmes.

3.8. Political commitment to integrated population and developmentstrategies should be strengthened by public education and information programmes and by increased resource allocation through cooperation among Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and by improvement of the knowledge base through research and national and local capacity-building.

3.9. To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality oflife for all people, Governments should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies. Developed countries should take the lead in achieving sustainable consumption patterns and effective waste management.

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