UN agency urges Group of Eight nations to address population issues

2 July 2008 – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today called on the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to prioritize population issues in its discussions of climate change and food security.

“Preventing unwanted pregnancies through voluntary family planning and guaranteeing people’s right to reproductive health can help slow population growth and moderate its environmental impact,” Safiye Çagar, UNFPA Director for Information and External Relations, told the some 70 legislators and representatives of international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the G8 International Parliamentarians’ Conference on Population and Sustainable Development in Tokyo.

Surveys show that over 200 million poor women in developing countries hope to have smaller families but do not have access to the necessary services or information, UNFPA said.

Funding for family planning is on the decline and is at $551 million annually, while the need for contraceptives is expected to surge by 40 per cent over the next 15 years, it added.

“Voluntary family planning programmes have a record of success in slowing population growth and saving women from dying in childbirth,” Ms. Çagar said.

She appealed to governments, civil society, the media, leaders of G8 countries and others to address family planning needs, bolster health systems and factor population concerns into strategies to combat climate change.

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