UNFPA and Rio+20

Population Matters

Twenty years after the groundbreaking ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio de Janeiro, Rio + 20 aims to renew commitment for sustainable development at the highest levels. The conference will assess progress on past global commitments and address daunting new  challenges – from climate change to urbanization.

Rio+20  will focus on the green economy and establishing a framework to follow up on the agreed-upon outcomes for sustainable development. UNFPA is working hard to ensure that population dynamics and related human rights-based policies are part of the discussion and outcome. 

Sustainable development is about people

Seven billion people are now counting on a sustainable world -- one which works for both present and future generations.

World population passed the 7 billion mark in 2011 and will continue to grow rapidly. Population dynamics -- which include not only changes in population size and age structures, but also trends in migration and urbanization -- cannot be ignored in any realistic plans to address the well-being of current and future generations. This was already agreed upon in the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action.

Policies matter

Demographic trends are a powerful force. But population dynamics are not written in stone: The policies we pursue today will determine whether we live in a world of 8 or 9 or 10 billion by 2050. Population dynamics can be addressed through effective  human rights-based policies that ensure:

  • Universal access to reproductive health, including family planning
  • Empowerment of women an young people
  • Investments in education, especially for adolescent girls
  • Development strategies are informed by population data and projections.

For a more detailed look at the issues, read our Key Messages and the UNFPA/DESA input to the Rio+20 outcome document.