The world’s population is continually growing. If it continues to grow, it may reach a point where there are not enough resources to provide for the survival of all people. The United Nations Population Fund is dedicated to the problems posed by expanding population, such as resource scarcity, and the impact that population control has on reproductive rights.
United Nations Population Fund
The United Nations has a Population Fund (known as UNPFA), which is the world’s largest international source of funds for population and reproductive health issues. UNPFA supports programs that assist people to plan their families, avoid unwanted pregnancies, and maintain reproductive health. UNPFA also tracks population data and assists countries with formulating population strategies.
Problem: Resource Scarcity
The more people that are on our planet, the more people who have to share the limited resources – food, water, land, and energy, for example. Food, particularly, has become in more limited supply in certain regions of the world. The international community is working to assist all countries with better management of the global food supply. One of the possibilities is targeting sustainable development.
Sustainable development is an international environmental law concept that is most often described as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Generally, the concept promotes the balance between improvement of quality of life for the current citizens of the world, while not using the Earth’s natural resources to the point where they can not be regenerated or preserved for future generations. Targeting sustainable development is particularly important in light of the world’s increasingly expanding population.
Some countries are attempting to control their populations through mandatory restrictions on reproduction. Reproductive rights, however, are recognized in the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW does not detail what exactly these rights are, but international organizations routinely champion a variety of asserted reproductive rights, including freedom to choose when to have children and how many, access to contraception, abortion laws, rights to health care during pregnancy, and maternity leave issues.
However, the right to unfettered reproduction conflicts to a certain extent with the need to conserve and control use of the world’s resources in order to save them for future generations. World agencies dealing with the issue of global population generally focus on voluntary family planning. By educating women and giving them the resources necessary to plan their families (such as contraception), UNPFA has tracked a decreased number of children per family as compared to several decades ago.
Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.