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13 April 2018

High population growth rates in the pacific suggest need for family planning

High population growth rates in the pacific suggest need for family planning

A public seminar in Canberra tomorrow afternoon will address the stresses caused by high population growth rates in various Pacific island states.

Dr James Ward, national president of Sustainable Population Australia, which is organising the seminar, says population growth in many of Australia’s Pacific neighbours is outstripping the capacity of these nations to provide for the basic needs of their people, not least in education and health.

“Food security is a looming issue in many countries,” says Dr Ward. “High population growth rates combined with climate change is already impacting food production in some low-lying atolls.”

A number of countries, such as Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and Vanuatu have population growth rates around two percent, which means they double their population about every 35 years. Many are recipients of Australian aid.

“Sustainable Population Australia believes family planning must make up at least 4 per cent of Australia’s aid program, and that foreign aid be increased to the UN-recommended 0.7 per cent of GNI in line with its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Dr Ward.

“Unfortunately, Australian aid has been cut to its lowest levels and there are threats to cut it even further in this year’s May Budget,” he says.

“Clearly, there is a need for more voluntary family planning programs in the Pacific so governments can keep pace with the need for infrastructure and help preserve their unique environments. Australia must do its part in helping achieve this within its international development program.”

Further information:   James Ward 0408 819 175  and Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453

Seminar – Population pressures in the Pacific  – All welcome

When: 1.30 to 5pm Saturday 14 April

Where: Th Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton.


First Session

Dr Chris McMurray – Population Pressure in the Pacific: not just a matter of numbers

Since 1982 Chris McMurray has held various teaching and visiting appointments in ANU's School of Demography. From 1998 until 2002 she Headed the Demography Program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia, and since then has been a free-lance consultant working on Pacific population and socio-economic development.

Dr Bryant Allen – Population growth and sustainable food production in PNG

Bryant Allen is an Honorary Associate Professor in the department of Pacific Affairs, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Among his main research interests are food security and shifting cultivation systems in Papua New Guinea. He continues to visit Papua New Guinea and in 2016 spent five weeks in the East Sepik village he first lived in for 15 months in 1971 and 1972.

Ms Rarawa Amberoti – How climate change will affect Kiribati

Rarawa Amberoti is from Kiribati and studying for a Master of Climate Change at ANU.

Afternoon tea: 3 – 3.30pm

Second session

Senator Claire Moore – Population Pressures in the Pacific

Claire Moore is Labor Senator for Queensland. In July 2016, she was appointed Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific. She is active on a number of Parliamentary committees.

Dr Joanne Epp – Population, Family Planning and Potential

Joanne Epp is a senior health economist with extensive international experience in economics, research and policy analysis including work at the World Bank, UNFPA, NSW Treasury, KPMG, and the Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy.   She has been a Women's Plans Foundation Trustee and Board Member since 2013.

The day will close with a panel discussion

Organised by Sustainable Population Australia to mark its 30th birthday.

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