Population Matters for Sustainable Development

No. of pages: 32

Publication Date: 2012

Author: UNFPA Technical Division

Publisher: UNFPA

This report provides key messages on the relationship between population dynamics and sustainable development. It was prepared in the lead-up to Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, following extensive consultations and collaborations with thirteen sister agencies, civil society organizations, academics and the private sector. It served as the basis for over a dozen briefings and consultations prior to Rio +20. In addition to informing the conference, the report includes important lessons for discussions of international development goals post-2015.

It argues that:

  • Population dynamics have a significant influence on sustainable development.
  • Efforts to promote sustainable development that do not address population dynamics will continue to fail.
  • Population dynamics are not destiny. Change is possible through a set of policies which respect human rights and freedoms and contribute to a reduction in fertility, notably access to sexual and reproductive health care, education beyond the primary level, and the empowerment of women.

Annexes include:

A: The Laxenburg Declaration: Demographic Challenges for Sustainable Development. This statement from a global interdisciplinary panel of experts convened by UNFPA and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis articulates the linkages between population and sustainable development.

B: The Missing Link in Sustainable Development: A Call to Integrate Population in the Water–Food–Energy Nexus. This statement, developed by the 2012 World Economic Forum's Network of Global Agenda Councils and UNFPA, represents views from the private sector, international organizations, civil society and academia.

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