The United Nations Population Fund, (UNPF, also known as UNFPA) aims, amongst other things, to ensure that “every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect”. Their work involves the improvement of reproductive health and access to contraception. The organization also campaigns against obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation.
The UNPF supports programmes in more than 150 countries, territories and areas spread across four geographic regions: Arab States and Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. Around three quarters of the staff work in the field. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
Funding of UNPF is dependent on the contributions of member states, which can be unpredictable. In particular, the contribution by the USA depends on which party is in power. Republican administrations under President Reagan and George Bush Senior and Junior have applied the so called ‘Gag Rule’, which cut off US funding entirely. This was accompanied by an accusation that UNPF had funded or otherwise supported coercive practices in China, an accusation which UNPF has always strenuously denied. During George Bush Junior’s spell in office, the shortfall in funds was made up by the EU.
UNPF is the organisation which is responsible for most of the statistics which demographers use, and they also produce projections of possible population growth. The population projections are widely misunderstood: UNPF makes clear these are only the result of calculations based on an assumption (for the medium projection) that fertility of 2.1 will be achieved in the near future: high and low projections are also produced that assume a fertility of 2.6 (high) or 1.6 (low). There is an unfortunate tendency for the media to take the medium projection as certainty: thus, for a while we were assured by the media that the population in 2050 would be 9 billion, implying this was a certain fact that nothing could be done about. However, revisions of population projections are produced at intervals, and the latest medium projection has increased the estimated population for 2050 to 9.7 billion, and for 2100 to 11.2 billion. It is therefore quite likely that in the event 2050 population will exceed 10 billion.
The graph below illustrates the present position, the red line being the median projection, the dotted blue lines representing an average of half a child more or half a child less per average family
The Guttmacher Institute advances sexual and reproductive health and rights through an interrelated program of research, policy analysis and public education designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate and promote sound policy and program development. The Institute’s overarching goal is to ensure the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health for all people worldwide.
The Institute produces a wide range of resources on topics pertaining to sexual and reproductive health, publishes two peer-reviewed journals, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health and International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and the public policy journal Guttmacher Policy Review. In 2013, the Institute was awarded a prestigious Population Center grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in support of the Guttmacher Center for Population Research Innovation and Dissemination.
This organization, which is a registered charity, is the premier population organization in the UK. It has an extensive website which is on http://www.populationmatters.org .Its Chair, Roger Martin, addressed Friends at BYMG in Bath in 2014. Patrons include Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham, Jane Goodall, Jonathon Porritt and Susan Hampshire.
The following is extracted from PM’s website:-
On a finite planet, nothing physical can grow indefinitely. The more of us there are, the fewer resources there are for each of us — and for members of other species.
According to the World Wildlife Fund / Global Footprint NetworkLiving Planet Report, we currently are collectively consuming the renewable resources of approximately 1.5 Earths.
Increasing populations are causing more and more competition for resources, services, housing and employment throughout the world. This is resulting in conflict and forced migration. Environmental degradation on land, sea and air meanwhile is accelerating.
Our strategy has the broad goals of:
- increasing awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of a smaller population, more sustainable lifestyles and environmental conservation;
- increasing awareness of the personal benefits of small families;
- contributing to empowering people to be able to choose their family size;
- contributing to reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies; and
- resourcing and governing our activities effectively.
Population Media Center
This excellent organisation is the creation of Bill Ryerson, using techniques established many years ago and called the Sabido Method.
‘PMC changes behavior to improve the health and well-being of people around the world using entertainment-education. Soap operas, it turns out, can change the world. The serialized dramas, also called soap operas, on radio and television have characters evolving into role models for the audience for positive behavior change, and the impact of PMC’s dramas are dramatic. PMC is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world addressing a variety of issues. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience in behavior change communications with projects around the world.’
A good example of the things that can flow from PMC’s work is this article on ‘Mother with a Big Heart’
There is a video about the making of ‘East Los High’, which is addressed to Latinos in US: most of their productions are in other languages. This is on http://tinyurl.com/hsfj3a9 . Be warned, this is very raunchy!
Links: populationmedia.org for PMC
http://tinyurl.com/hsfj3a9 for making of East Los High
http://tinyurl.com/zuj57mz for ‘Mother with the Big Heart’
The Worldwatch Institute
The Institute works to accelerate to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs. Its objectives are universal access to renewal energy and nutritious food, expansion of environmentally sound jobs and development, transfomation of cultures from consumerism to sustainability, and an early end to population growth through health and intentional childbearing.
Lester R. Brown is the founder, president and a senior researcher at the Institute: he is also author of ‘Full Planet, Empty Plates’, among other books . He has been described as ‘one of the great pioneer environmentalists’.
Their staff include Robert Engelman, who is a Senior Fellow of the Institute. The latest of his books is ‘More: Population, Nature and What Women Want’ (see booklist), .
links: The Worldwatch Institute is on http://www.worldwatch.org/ Robert Engelman is on http://www.worldwatch.org/users/robert-engelman Lester R Brown is on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_R._Brown
Population Connection, formerly Zero Population Growth
An American body, founded in 1968, has much the same aims as others in the field, in that it ‘works to ensure that every woman around the world who wants to delay or end childbearing has access to the health services and contraceptive supplies she needs in order to do so’.
In particular, it has what appears to be an excellent policy on education: ‘ 4 out of 5 teachers rank Population Education workshops superior to other professional development they’ve attended with respect to content, usefulness, handouts and presentation quality’.
links: Home page, http://www.populationconnection.org/ Page on education, http://www.populationconnection.org/resources/poped/
MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International).
This organisation provides women around the world with a full range of quality sexual and reproductive health services, and provides them with access to safe abortion services (where legal), and post abortion care. Their slogan is ‘Our vision is a world in which every child is wanted, our mission children by choice, not chance’. They promote the right of women to decide whether and when to have children, and to give them the means and knowledge to achieve that.
There are 225 million women in the developing world who have no access to modern contraception. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the number one killer of 15-19 year old girls. Women with low incomes, often less than $1.25 daily are much less likely to be using family planning than those more affluent, due to low levels of knowledge about contraception, and problems of access and affordability
MSI attempts to reach these with considerable success. In 2012, for example, 13.8 million people were using contraception provided by MSI: their work prevented 5.3 million unplanned pregnancies and 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and 11,300 women’s lives were saved. In 2014, their work prevented 5.4 million unintentional pregnancies and 3.9 million unsafe abortions
links: Marie Stopes International, https://msichoices.org
Article by an African working for MSI: http://tinyurl.com/mortvrm
World Population Balance.
This organisation states that they are the only population organisation that candidly promotes the following message:
- The world is significantly overpopulated right now.
- Overpopulation is Solvable.
- Successfully solving overpopulation will be an uphill battle. Yet, it is vastly easier than coping with overpopulation’s devastating consequences. And we can do it!
- We must successfully inspire and encourage people to choose having fewer children – below a two child average. By voluntarily choosing two – or, preferably one or none – total population will decline to a level where everyone can be properly supported, sustainably.
On the list of staff you will see that it includes our Friend Richard Grossman, and Karen Shragg. Former board members include Norman Borlaug, who instigated the Green Revolution and received a Nobel Prize as a result: also Albert A. Bartlett, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Colorado
Al Bartlett’s talk is on tinyurl.com/y2a59aos