Assessing links between demographic factors and sustainability
Studying interaction between demographic factors and sustainable development Assessing impact of demographic changes on sustainable development
Knowledge concerning the links between demographic trends and factors and sustainable development is developed and disseminated. In particular, the direct and induced effects of demographic changes in environment and development programmes are integrated as appropriate, and the impact on demographic features assessed.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Population trends will affect the possibility of accelerating growth in per capita income in the 1990s. There is not a direct relationship between slower growth of population and faster growth of average incomes, but on the whole as the rate of growth slows, the easier it is likely to be to increase the growth of income per head. Population growth rates began to decline around 1960, and the decline is expected to continue during the coming decade. Demographic expansion occurred at a rate of 2.1% a year for the world as a whole during 1960-1970; according to UN estimates, it should be only 1.7% a year during 1990-2000. This fall in population growth rates is expected to occur in all groups of countries, be they rich or poor, capitalist or socialist, but not in all regions. Thus, in the capitalist developing countries the population growth rate is expected to fall from 2.5% a year in 1960-1970 to 2.3% in 1990-2000, while in China and the other Asian planned economies the decline is expected to be from 2.4% in 1960-1970 to 1.3% in 1990-2000. Within the third world, population growth rates are expected to remain high (3.2% a year) in West Asia and to continue to accelerate (to 3.3% a year) in sub-Saharan Africa. Elsewhere they should fall, sometimes sharply. It is perhaps too early to claim that the population problem has been solved, but attention in future is likely to be focused less on the overall rate of increase and more on the rate of increase in urban areas, which continues to be high despite the diminished overall rate of population growth. In 1980-1985, for instance, the urban population grew 3.1% a year in the low-income economies and 3.7% a year in the middle-income economies, as compared to total population growth rates in the two groups of countries of 1.9 and 2.3%, respectively. Rapid demographic expansion is thus not likely, in general, to be as great an obstacle to accelerating economic growth in the 1990s as perhaps it was in earlier decades. The main international and domestic barriers are likely to lie elsewhere, and it is to those that we now turn.
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