Population growth puts sustainability goals out of reach.

7 September 2019

Media Releases 2019

Continuing rapid population growth in poorer countries is putting achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) out of reach, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) brought into effect the 17 SDGs in January 2016 and they will continue until 2030. The SDGs include the goals of ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives, achieving gender equality and empowerment of women, delivering clean water and sanitation for all, action on climate change, and protecting life below water as well as terrestrial ecosystems.

SPA national president, Ms Sandra Kanck, says the UN’s Commission on Population and Development (UNCPD) admitted back in April that progress towards achieving the goals had been woefully slow.

“The UNCPD said many areas were actually worsening instead of improving, largely because development efforts were not keeping pace with rapid population growth,” says Ms Kanck.

The recently released UN report World Population Prospects 2019, said that continued “rapid population growth presents challenges for sustainable development. The 47 least developed countries are among the world’s fastest growing – many are projected to double in population between 2019 and 2050 – putting pressure on already strained resources.”

Ms Kanck says that half of the projected population increase will be in nine countries, eight of them poor including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania.

“Unfortunately, ‘stabilise population’ is not one of the SDGs, though one of the targets under SDG5 (Gender Equality) is to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” says Ms Kanck.

“This universal access to family planning was a key goal of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action arising from the 1995 Fourth International Conference of Women, which 30,000 people attended.

“Progress on this essential goal has been criminally slow with over 200 million women in the developing world still unable to access modern contraception. Unfortunately, in some places like Nigeria and Niger, cultural norms are also a barrier to the uptake of contraception with large families being the choice, particularly of men,” says Ms Kanck.

As part of World Population Day, SPA will be hosting a free public event in Melbourne: “Is Bigger Always Better? Can We Curb Our Growth Obsession?”  The event will include a variety of speakers with different perspectives on the issue of population followed by a Q&A. Former federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson will be MC.  More details on the SPA website.  “


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