Facebook Twitter



Articles by Category for ‘Issues We Address’

UNFPA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Boost Family Planning in Developing Countries

Monday, April 21st, 2014
UNFPA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Boost Family Planning in Developing Countries
UNITED NATIONS, New York, 17 April 2014-UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to help increase access to family planning information, contraceptives and services in developing countries, particularly for young people.

The agreement will draw on both organizations’ strengths and expertise in support of the global goal of expanding access to high-quality, voluntary family planning supplies and services for an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s 69 poorest countries by 2020. The Gates Foundation brings a global network of partners and expertise in technology and innovation, while UNFPA contributes country-level reach, experience working with governments and expertise in family planning and reproductive health.

“UNFPA and the Gates Foundation are working together to advance the goals and principles of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning to enable women and adolescent girls to decide, freely and for themselves, whether and when to have children and how many they want to have,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, who participated in the signing ceremony in Seattle.

What does the IPCC report say about population dynamics and climate change?

Monday, April 21st, 2014
The latest IPCC report identifies changes in population as factors that exacerbate climate change vulnerability. Here we present the report’s key messages about different population dynamics and access to reproductive health etc.
These are the report’s key references to population, with direct quotes from the report:
Freshwater resources
  • Non-climatic drivers such as population increase, economic development, urbanisation, and land-use or natural geomorphic changes also challenge the sustainability of resources by decreasing water supply or increasing demand.
  • Over the next few decades and for increases in global mean temperature of less than around 2oC above pre-industrial, changes in population will generally have a greater effect on changes in resource availability than will climate change. Climate change would, however, regionally exacerbate or offset the effects of population pressures.
Coastal systems and low-lying areas
  • The population and assets projected to be exposed to coastal risks as well as human pressures on coastal ecosystems will increase significantly in the coming decades due to population growth, economic development, and urbanisation.

See: http://www.populationandsustainability.org/2853/news/what-does-the-ipcc-report-say-about-population-dynamics-and-climate-change.html

Re-Examining the Global Barriers to Reproductive Freedom

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Re-Examining the Global Barriers to Reproductive Freedom
See: http://blog.populationinstitute.org/2014/04/17/re-examining-the-global-barriers-to-reproductive-freedom/

Every woman in the world should be able to space or limit her births. At a minimum, that means every woman should have access to the contraceptive method of her choice, whether it’s a female condom, birth control pills, an IUD, sterilization or a long-acting injectable. But physical access to contraception does not guarantee reproductive freedom. For many women in the developing world the real barrier to the exercise of reproductive choice is male opposition, religious teachings, social norms, or misinformation about contraceptive options.

There has always been some truth to the idea that supply creates its own demand: make modern contraceptives more available and more women will want to use them. But in male-dominated societies where religious teachings or social norms promote large families, there are practical limits to how far supply will drive demand. And that’s particularly true in areas where child marriage is still prevalent. When a girl is married at an early age, and her husband demands a large family, the mere availability of contraceptives does not guarantee that she can exercise reproductive choice. In societies where violence against women is widespread the exercise of reproductive freedom can even result in physical violence or even death.

The problem is, and it’s a significant one, is that countries with the highest fertility rates and the lowest rates of contraceptive use tend to be male-dominated societies where gender inequality prevails and religious teachings or social norms dictate larger families. Add to that ignorance or misinformation about contraceptive options, and women, in practice, may have little or no reproductive choice… even if modern methods of contraception are available. Girl brides, in particular, seldom exercise any real degree of reproductive freedom; any decision about childbearing is effectively out of their control.

Continue Reading »

The Incredible Shrinking Country

Monday, April 21st, 2014
The Incredible Shrinking Country
A QUIET but constant ticking can be heard from the demographic time bomb that sits beneath the world’s third-largest economy. This week it made a louder tick than usual: official statistics show that the population declined last year by a record 244,000 people-roughly the population of the London borough of Hackney.

Japan’s population began falling in 2004 and is now ageing faster than any other on the planet. More than 22% of Japanese are already 65 or older. A report compiled with the government’s co-operation two years ago warned that by 2060 the number of Japanese will have fallen from 127m to about 87m, of whom almost 40% will be 65 or older.

The government is pointedly not denying newspaper reports that ran earlier this month, claiming that it is considering a solution it has so far shunned: mass immigration. The reports say the figure being mooted is 200,000 foreigners a year. An advisory body to Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, said opening the immigration drawbridge to that number would help stabilise Japan’s population-at around 100m (from its current 126.7m).

The American Dream turns into a Global Nightmare

Monday, April 21st, 2014
The American Dream turns into a Global Nightmare

Commentary: 3 delusions that will backfire on us, self-destruct civilization
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) – The American Dream? Now a Global Nightmare? A ticking time bomb, a lethal virus spreading worldwide, could destroy the entire world, backfire, take down America and capitalism? Yes.

But, first, a little history: Five years ago Bill Gates and his Billionaires Club asked that question. But gave up. Here’s why.

Gates’ billionaires essentially asked: What do you think is the single, biggest ticking time bomb that will eventually take down global economies? The absolutely biggest one with a trigger mechanism that can ignite, set off a nuclear chain reaction that will throw a permanent wrench in global economic growth, ending capitalism, potentially destroying modern civilization as we know it.

Iran considers ban on vasectomies in drive to boost birthrate

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Iran considers ban on vasectomies in drive to boost birthrate
Supreme leader sees family planning policy as an imitation of western lifestyle and aims to double Iran’s population

See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/15/iran-ban-vasectomies-birthrate

Iran’s parliament is seeking a ban on vasectomies and a tightening of abortion rules as the country moves away from its progressive laws on family planning in an attempt to increase the birthrate.

Two decades after Iran initiated an effective birth control programme, including subsidised male sterilisation surgeries and free condom distribution, the country is to make a U-turn.

Last year the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised existing policy on contraception, describing it as an imitation of western lifestyle.

The 74-year-old has urged the government to tackle what he believes to be an ageing population and to double the number of people in Iran from 77 million to at least 150 million.

This week Tehran’s conservative-dominated parliament, the Majlis, voted to discuss banning vasectomies and introducing punishments for those involved in encouraging contraceptive services and abortions, local agencies reported.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/15/iran-ban-vasectomies-birthrate

The animated maps that reveal in 60 seconds how cities have exploded in size over the last 130 years

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The animated maps that reveal in 60 seconds how cities have exploded in size over the last 130 years
See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2599301/Cities-60-seconds-Animated-maps-reveal-cities-expanded-just-130-years.html

They are an incredible reminder of just how quickly the world’s major cities are expanding.

These new animations show Paris, Los Angeles, São Paulo and Chicago expanding over 130 years – all condensed into a 60 second animation.

Researchers behind the project hope that making the expansion so visible they will force city planners to look ahead more.

The animations were created by the NYU Stern Urbanization Project.

The animations, created using information from The Atlas of Urban Expansion, clearly show the extremely rapid expansion in global cities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

‘Particularly striking is the growth in the latter half of the 20th century, in which many cities increased their built-up area by more than 10 times,’ said Patrick Lamson-Hall of the project.

See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2599301/Cities-60-seconds-Animated-maps-reveal-cities-expanded-just-130-years.html

Namibian rural women negotiate for safer sex and family planning

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Namibian rural women negotiate for safer sex and family planning
See: http://www.coastweek.com/3715-culture-10.htm

By Ndalimpinga Iita WINDHOEK (Xinhua) — On a Sunday afternoon, in a far flung village in northern Namibia’s Omusati Region, Hileni Kampangu sees off her two children to Sunday school. There and then, she multi-tasks between breast-feeding a small baby and tinkling a three-year-old girl.

“They are a handful. Being a young mother of four is no child’s play,” Kampungu said as she juggles between giving attention to the children.

Kampungu’s greatest wish is not to have any more children. But this might just be a wish, as exclusion from negotiating safer sex and discussing family planning with her partner may shatter that, she said.

“This is my fourth child, and by the look of things, it will not be the last,” she told Xinhua on Sunday afternoon.

See: http://www.coastweek.com/3715-culture-10.htm

Drive to end child marriage stalls, but fightback begins

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Drive to end child marriage stalls, but fightback begins
See: http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/10/drive-to-end-child-marriage-stalls-but-fight-back-begins/?hpt=hp_t5

It is a descent into barbarism. This month’s plan by Iraqi parliamentarians to legalize girl marriage at nine follows the Pakistan Islamic Council’s demand last month that Pakistan abolish all legal restrictions on child marriage, the revelation that Syrian refugee girls are being sold into marriage against their will and the increased pressure in many African countries to ease the restrictions on selling child brides.

As one who has believed that worldwide disgust at child marriage would end it within our generation, I now find that progress has stalled. In the last few months Mauritania, at the center of allegations of girls’ genital mutilation to make possible the early marriage of eight and nine year olds, has resisted pressure to enforce a legal minimum age for marriage. Attempts in Yemen to do so have also failed. Even Nigeria has been considering reducing the age of marriage.

In India, the rape of girls has brought millions on to the streets in protest and it has now been exposed as the country with 40% of the world’s child brides.

The U.N. says one in nine girls is a bride by the age of 15 and that by 2020 142 million – or one in three girls in developing countries – will be married before they are 18. For example, in Afghanistan 60% are married before they turn 16 and in Niger 74% of girls are married by the age of 18.

See: http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/10/drive-to-end-child-marriage-stalls-but-fight-back-begins/?hpt=hp_t5

Will Increased Food Production Devour Tropical Forest Lands?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Will Increased Food Production Devour Tropical Forest Lands?
See: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/will_increased_food_production_devour_tropical_forest_lands/2755/

As global population soars, efforts to boost food production will inevitably be focused on the world’s tropical regions. Can this agricultural transformation be achieved without destroying the remaining tropical forests of Africa, South America, and Asia?

I once stumbled out of a jungle in the Congo Basin and startled two Bantu farmers – both women – tending a small field. I spoke no Bantu and they no French, and so we just stared at each other, a little warily, until one of their toddlers wailed and we all shared a laugh.

For the Bantu, farming has changed little in 3,000 years. The women still work small farming plots made by slashing and burning the rainforest.

They plant crops like yams and bananas, while their men hunt or talk village politics. It’s a precarious existence, but the slash-and-burn farmers can eke out a living if their numbers are low enough and game abounds in the nearby forest.

Increasingly, though, this picture is changing. The Bantu are multiplying quickly, as are many other peoples across Africa. The United Nations’ mid-range population projections for the continent are staggering, with the number of Africans expected to nearly quadruple from 1.1 billion today to 4.2 billion in 2100. Feeding that populace will be an enormous challenge, requiring, among other things, a gigantic boom in agriculture.

See: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/will_increased_food_production_devour_tropical_forest_lands/2755/