UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

Recommendations for implementation of World Pop. Plan of Action

The electronic version of this document is being made available by

the United Nations Population Information Network (POPIN) Gopher of

the Population Division, Department for Economic and Social

Information and Policy Analysis.






  I. PREAMBLE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     1 - 11

 II. PEACE, SECURITY AND POPULATION . . . . . . . . . .        12

III. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION    . . . . . . . . . .    13 - 35


     A. Socio-economic development, the environment 

        and population   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         14

     B. The role and the status of women   . . . . . .    15 - 17

     C. Development of population policies . . . . . .         18

     D. Population goals and policies  . . . . . . . .    19 - 32

        1. Population growth . . . . . . . . . . . . .    19 - 20

        2. Morbidity and mortality. . . . .  . . . . .    21 - 23

     (a) Goals and general guidance for health policies        21

     (b) Infant, child and maternal morbidity and mortality    22

     (c) Adult morbidity and mortality . . . . . . . . .       23

        3. Reproduction and the family  . . . . . . . . . 24 - 26

        4. Population distribution and internal migration      27

        5. International migration  . . . . . . . . . . . 28 - 31

     (a) General guidelines for formulating international

         migration policies  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       28

     (b) Documented migrant workers . . . . . . . . . . . .      29

     (c) Undocumented migrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       30

     (d) Refugees     . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       31

        6. Population structure  . . . . . . . . . . . . .       32

     E. Promotion of knowledge and policy  . . . . . . . .  33 - 35

        1. Data collection and analysis  . . . . . . . . .       33

        2. Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      34

        3. Management, training, information, education and

           communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      35


        A. Role of national Governments  . . . . .  . . . .      36

        B. Role of international co-operation  . . . . . . .     37

        C. Monitoring, review and appraisal  . . . . . . . .     -

           I. PREAMBLE

      1. During the years since the United Nations World Population

Conference in 1974, the World Conference Plan of Action a/ has

served as a guide to action in the field of population for

Governments, for international organizations and for

non-governmental organizations. The consensus of Bucharest has

facilitated international co-operation and helped to bring

population issues to the forefront. The principles and objectives

of the Plan have shown themselves to remain valid and are


      2. However, the demographic, social, economic and political

conditions of the world have changed considerably. In many

developing countries the demographic situation has improved since

1974; fertility has declined, morbidity has diminished, infant

mortality has declined and life expectancy has increased. There

have also been improvements in the social sphere. In many

developing countries school enrolment and literacy rates have

increased, and access to health services has improved. For the

developing countries as a whole, there has been an increase in per

capita calorie supply, though in some regions, such as Africa, per

capita calorie supply has not improved. Economic trends have,

however, been less encouraging. Although per capita income did not

grow as rapidly since 1974 as in the previous 10 years, it is none

the less true that per capita income did grow moderately in a

number of developing countries during that period.  During the

latter part of the decade, however, many developing countries

experienced little or no growth in per capita income, and many

experienced actual declines in per capita income, with the result

that the gap between the per capita incomes of many developed and

most developing countries widened during the period. Moreover,

while progress has been made in achieving some goals of the World

Population Plan of Action, other goals have not been met. Some

important gaps in knowledge have been filled and new issues have

emerged to challenge the international community. Therefore, as

foreseen at Bucharest, some of the goals and recommendations of the

Plan now call for complementing and further refinement. Though the

community of nations has made considerable progress in the pursuit

of the goals of the World Population Plan of Action, there is still

a great need for continuation and acceleration in these efforts to

realize those goals, as they have been refined at Mexico City in

August 1984.

      3. With respect to some major issues raised in the Plan, the

following facts and trends deserve special mention:

      (a) Though the global rate of population growth has declined

slightly since 1974, the world population has increased by 770

million during the decade, and 90 per cent of that increase has

occurred in the developing countries. Furthermore, the annual

additions to the world's population are increasing in size.

Moreover, in many countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia

growth rates have increased owing to mortality declines not

accompanied by equivalent declines in fertility;

       (b) At the global level, and in virtually all countries, the

level of mortality has fallen. However, the targets set by the

World Population Plan of Action have not been met. At the same

time, new approaches in the form of primary health care have been

widely adopted;

      (c) At the global level, fertility declined substantially

but, as with population growth, the changes in some regions were

far greater than in others. For national and sub-national groups in

populations and sub-populations representing about one fourth of

the world's population, no decline of fertility was observed. The

fertility changes were associated with progress in socio-economic

development, with continued changes in the status of women, with

changes in family structure in some regions, and with the increased

availability of family planning services;

      (d) Improvements in the status of women have been promoted by

the World Population Plan of Action and the plans and programmes

generated under the aegis of the United Nations Decade for Women.

However, persisting inequalities between women and men are evident

in the higher incidence of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy

among women, the limited range of employment categories and the

uneven share of home and family responsibilities borne by women. At

the same time, it is increasingly recognized that socio-economic

development is curtailed without the active participation of women

in all fields of activity;

      (e) Access to and knowledge of family planning have come to

be much more widely permitted and supported by Governments as a

contribution to maternal and child health, to the human rights of

individuals and couples, and as a demographic measure.

Nevertheless, data from the World Fertility Survey for developing

countries indicate that, of women who wanted no more children and

were exposed to the risk of pregnancy, on average over half were

not using contraception;

      (f) As a result of demographic trends, population structures

have changed. In particular, the aging of populations and changes

in household and family structure and composition have continued;

      (g) In most regions of the world, urban populations continued

to increase far more rapidly than total populations. In some

developed countries, however, there was a trend towards

deconcentration. Rapid urban population growth has become a matte~

of growing policy concern to most Governments, particularly in the

developing regions in which the urban unemployment level remains

extremely high. In some regions, the continued high levels of rural

population growth renders rural development difficult;

      (h) Persistent disparities among countries, particularly in

population and economic development as also the felt needs of some

host countries, have increased the potential of further

international migration. These migrant workers do contribute to the

economic development of receiving countries. However, the

direction, magnitude and the type of international migration flows

is a matter of concern to some countries;

      (i) The flows of refugees are increasing in different regions

of the world and are also a matter of increasing concern;

      (j) Problems relating to involuntary migration have also


      (k) The overall social and economic development of the

developing countries and the implementation of effective measures

to deal with population trends in the period 1974-1984 have been

greatly hampered by the serious effects of the international

economic crisis on the economies of the developing countries. In

the majority of developing countries, increases in population and

its aspirations have contributed to increasing imports versus

exports - food in particular. Furthermore, existing population

programmes have been greatly affected by a shortage of adequate

resources from both national and international sources;

      (l) In many countries the population has continued to grow

rapidly, aggravating such environmental and natural resource

problems as soil erosion, desertification and deforestation, which

affect food and agricultural production. The mechanisms to deal

effectively with these problems are still in an incipient stage in

many countries. There is, however, increasing awareness of the need

to take into account natural resources and the quality of the

environment along with social and economic factors;

      (m) In the years since 1974 there have been a number of

hopeful developments. New agricultural technologies, including the

green revolution, have made it possible to better meet the needs of

growing populations. Progress in molecular biology has potential

for influencing both levels of fertility and mortality and the

development of communication satellites may greatly advance mass

education, including education directly related to population

issues. The economic and social consequences of these advances

raise serious ethical questions and may have a fundamental impact

on the future of society.

      4. The principles and objectives of the World Population Plan

of Action affirm that the principal aim of social, economic and

cultural development, of which population goals and policies are

integral parts, is to improve the standards of living and quality

of life of the people. Achieving this goal requires co-ordinated

action in population with all socio-economic fields; thus,

population trends must be co-ordinated with trends of economic and

social development. In helping to achieve this co-ordination, the

World Population Plan of Action should become an essential

component of the system of international strategies for the

promotion of economic development, the quality of life, human

rights and fundamental freedoms.

      5. The Plan affirms that the consideration of population

problems cannot be limited to the analysis of population trends,

since population variables influence development and are influenced

by them. The present population situation in developing countries

is related, inter alia, to unequal processes of socio-economic

development, which are intensified by inequities in international

relations, and by related disparities in standards of living.

      6. It remains true that the basis for an effective solution

of population problems is, above all, socio-economic transformation

and, therefore, population policies must always be considered as a

constituent element of socio-economic development policies and

never as substitutes for them. However, even if social and economic

development is slow or lacking, family planning programmes may have

an impact on the level of fertility.

      7. While the importance of integrating women into the

development of society has been recognized by many Governments,

much remains to be done to fulfil the recommendations adopted in

1974 by the World Population Conference as elaborated in 1975 by

the World Conference of the International Women's Year, and in 1980

by the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women. The

Plan, as well as other important international instruments,

stressed the urgency of achieving the full integration of women in

society on an equal basis with men and of abolishing any form of

discrimination against women. In order to provide women with the

freedom to participate fully in the life of society, it is equally

necessary for men to share fully with women responsibilities in the

areas of family planning, child-rearing and all other aspects of

family life. The achievement of these objectives is integral to

achieving development goals, including those related to population


      8. To achieve the goals of development, the formulation of

national population goals and policies must take into account the

need to contribute to an economic development which is

environmentally sustainable over the long run and which protects

the ecological balance.

      9. The interdependence among countries has become ever more

manifest and requires that national and international strategies

pursue an integrated and balanced approach to population,

resources, environment and development at national and

international levels, by ensuring that the developing countries

achieve significant improvement in their living standards and in

the quality of life through economic and social transformation.

      10. As the world enters a second decade after the World

Population Conference of 1974, major challenges and problems in the

area of population that are of primary concern to the international

community and that are particularly relevant to the economic and

social progress of the developing countries are:

      (a) The task of reducing poverty, expanding employment and

assuring the right to work by encouraging economic growth, which

includes measures for the just distribution of wealth; 

      (b) The continued need to further promote the status of women

and the expansion and advancement of their roles; 

      (c) The annual increments in population, which are projected

to grow larger throughout the decade;

      (d) The rate of population growth, which remains high in

developing countries and which, for many countries, may even rise

in the coming years;

      (e) Changes in population structures, particularly the aging

of populations, changes in household and family structure and

composition, and the growth of the working-age populations in

developing countries where economies are not growing adequately;

      (f) High levels of infant and maternal mortality, and the

important mortality differentials between regions, countries,

social groups and sexes; 

      (g) The persistence of fertility rates substantially higher

or lower than those desired by Governments and peoples in some


      (h) The unmet needs for family planning in many countries,

which unless they are addressed will grow even greater as the

number of couples of reproductive age increases substantially

during the coming decade;

      (i) The disequilibrium between rates of change in population

and changes in resources, environment and development;        

      (j) The persistence of high rates of internal migration, new

forms of mobility, high rates of urbanization, and the

concentration of population in large cities in developing countries

where these phenomena have negative consequences for development;

      (k) The importance and diversity of international migration

and its consequences for countries of origin and destination and

the necessity for co-operation between these countries in this


      (l) The need to find solutions to all problems related to

refugees, whose numbers are increasing; 


      (m) The increasing number of persons who lack sufficient

food, pure water, shelter, health care, education and the other

facilities required to achieve full human potential;

      (n) The consequences of progress in agricultural technology

and in genetic engineering, which may lead to essential changes in

the character of societies;

      (o) The relatively high proportion of young people in the

populations of the developing countries and the problems and

consequences attendant to this which, unless addressed, will assure

that populations will continued to grow for many decades to come;

      (p) The need to strengthen the capacities of developing

countries in data collection, analysis and utilization and to

develop appropriately trained personnel in the population area;

      (q) The need for increased national and international support

to implement the Plan, in particular, adequate multilateral

resources to support the efforts of developing countries.

      11.  The Plan and the following recommendations for its

further implementation should be considered within the framework of

other intergovernmental strategies and plans. In this respect, they

reaffirm the principles and objectives of the Charter of the United

Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General

Assembly resolution 217 A (III)), the International Covenants on

Human Rights (General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex), the

Declaration on Social Progress and Development (General Assembly

resolution 2542 (XXIV)), the Declaration and the Programme of

Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order

(General Assembly resolutions 3201 (S-VI) and 3202 (S-VI)), the

Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (General Assembly

resolution 3281 (XXIX)) and the International Development Strategy

for the Third United Nations Development Decade (General Assembly

resolution 35/56, annex) and General Assembly resolutions 34/75 and

35/46 on the declaration of the 1980s as the Second Disarmament

Decade. In addition, the following declarations, plans of action

and other relevant texts that have emanated from intergovernmental

meetings must be stressed because of their relevance to the

objectives of the World Population Plan of Action:

      (a) United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child

(1959); b/

      (b) Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human

Environment and the Action Plan for the Human Environment

(Stockholm, 1972) c/ and resolution 1 adopted by the Governing

Council of the United Nations Environment Programme at its session

of a special character (Nairobi, 1982); d/

      (c) Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and

Malnutrition (Rome, 1974); e/

      (d) World Plan of Action for the Implementation of the

Objectives of the International Women's Year (Mexico City, 1975) f/

and Programme of Action for the Second Half of the United Nations

Decade for Women (Copenhagen, 1980); g/

      (e) Lima Declaration and Plan of Action on Industrial

Development and Co-operation (Lima, 1975); h/

      (f) Declaration of Principles and Programme of Action adopted

by the Tripartite World Conference on Employment, Income

Distribution and Social Progress and the International Division of

Labour (Geneva, 1976); i/

      (g) Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976; j/

      (h) Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (Nairobi, 1977);


      (i) Mar del Plata Action Plan adopted by the United Nations

Water Conference (Mar del Plata, 1977); l/

      (j) Declaration of Alma-Ata adopted by the International

Conference on Primary Health Care (Alma-Ata, 1978); m/

      (k) Programme of Action to Combat Racism and Racial

Discrimination (Geneva, 1978), n/ programme of activities to be

undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to

Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination o/ and Declaration and

Programme of Action adopted by the Second World Conference to

Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (Geneva, 1983); p/

      (l) Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and

Implementing Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries

(Buenos Aires, 1978); q/

      (m) Declaration of Principles and Programme of Action of the

World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Rome,

1979); r/ 

      (n) Vienna Programme of Action on Science and Technology for

Development (Vienna, 1979); s/

      (o) Global Strategy for Health for All by the Year 2000, t/

adopted by the World Health Assembly in its resolution WHA 34.36 of

22 May 1981 and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution

36/43 of 19 November 1981;

      (p) Nairobi Programme of Action for the Development and

Utilization of New and Renewable Sources of Energy (Nairobi, 1981);


      (q) Substantial New Programme of Action for the 1980s for the

Least Developed Countries (Paris, 1981); v/

      (r) International Plan of Action on Aging (Vienna, 1982). w/ 


      12. Being aware of the existing close links between peace and

development, it is of great importance for the world community to

work ceaselessly to promote, among nations, peace, security,

disarmament and co-operation, which are indispensable for the

achievement of the goals of humane population policies and for

economic and social development. Creating the conditions for real

peace and security would permit an allocation of resources to

social and economic rather than to military programmes, which would

greatly help to attain the goals and objectives of the World

Population Plan of Action.


      13. Many of the following recommendations are addressed to

Governments. This is not meant to preclude the efforts or

initiative of international organizations, non-governmental

organizations, private institutions or organizations, or families

and individuals where their efforts can make an effective

contribution to overall population or development goals on the

basis of strict respect for sovereignty and national legislation in



      14. The World Population Plan of Action recognizes explicitly

the importance of the interrelationships between population and

socio- economic development and affirms, inter alia, that "the

basis for an effective solution of population problems is, above

all, socio-economic transformation" (paragraph 1) and that

"population policies are constituent elements of socio-economic

development policies, never substitutes for them" (paragraph 14

(d)). Consequently, the Plan of Action includes a number of

recommendations dealing with socio-economic policies, the contents

of which fully deserve reaffirmation and further development. The

following recommendations reflect the view that if national and

international policies are not adopted and implemented to increase

the overall resources and the share of the world's resources going

to the very poor, it will be extremely difficult for many countries

to achieve the levels of fertility and mortality that they desire.

The recommendations reflect the importance to be attached to an

integrated approach towards population and development, both in

national policies and at the international level. The

recommendations also reflect the view that, although the actions of

the developing countries are of primary importance, the attainment

of the goals and objectives stipulated in the International

Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development

Decade will require appropriate policies by the developed countries

and by the international community which support the efforts of the

developing countries to achieve those objectives.

Recommendation 1

      Considering that social and economic development is a central

factor in the solution of population and interrelated problems and

that population factors are very important in development plans and

strategies and have a major impact on the attainment of development

objectives, national development policies, plans and programmes, as

well as international development strategies, should be formulated

on the basis of an integrated approach that takes into account the

interrelationships between population, resources, environment and

development. In this context, national and international efforts

should give priority to action programmes integrating population

and development.

Recommendation 2

      National and international efforts should give high priority

to the following development goals included in the International

Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development

Decade: the eradication of mass hunger and the achievement of

adequate health and nutrition levels, the eradication of mass

illiteracy, the improvement of the status of women, the elimination

of mass unemployment and underemployment and the elimination of

inequality in international economic relations.  To achieve these

goals, it is further recommended that Governments should take

population trends fully into account when formulating their

development plans and programmes.

Recommendation 3

      In order to promote the broadly based socio-economic

development that is essential to achieving an adequate quality of

life as well as national population objectives and to respond

effectively to the requirements posed by demographic trends, all

countries are urged to co-operate in efforts to achieve the above

objectives and to accelerate development, particularly in

developing countries, inter alia, through policies to lower

barriers to trade, to increase multilateral and bilateral

development assistance, to improve the quality and effectiveness of

this assistance, to increase real income earnings from the export

of commodities, to solve the problems arising from the debt burden

in a significant number of developing countries, to increase the

volume and improve the terms of international lending, and to

encourage various sources of investment and, wherever appropriate,

entrepreneurial initiatives. To respond to the needs of populations

for employment, food self-sufficiency, and improvements in the

quality of life and to increase self-reliance, productive

investment should be increased, appropriate industries should be

encouraged and substantial investments should be fostered in rural

and agricultural development. 

Recommendation 4

      In countries in which there are imbalances between trends in

population growth and resources and environmental requirements,

Governments are urged, in the context of overall development

policies, to adopt and implement specific policies, including

population policies, that will contribute to redressing such

imbalances and promote improved methods of identifying, extracting,

renewing, utilizing and conserving natural resources. Efforts

should be made to accelerate the transition from traditional to new

and renewable sources of energy while at the same time maintaining

the integrity of the environment. Governments should also implement

appropriate policy measures to avoid the further destruction of the

ecological equilibria and take measures to restore them.


15. The World Population Plan of Action (paragraphs 15 (e), 32 (b),

42 and 43) as well as other important international instruments -

in particular the 1975 Mexico City Plan of Action, the 1980

Copenhagen Programme of Action for the United Nations Decade for

Women and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of

Discrimination against Women (General Assembly resolution 34/180,

annex) - stress the urgency of achieving the full integration of

women in society on an equal basis with men and of abolishing any

form of discrimination against women. Comprehensive strategies to

address these concerns will be formulated at the 1985 Nairobi

Conference which is being convened to review and appraise the

achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women.

      16. In view of the slow progress made since 1974 in the

achievement of equality for women, the broadening of the role and

the improvement of the status of women remain important goals that

should be pursued as ends in themselves. The achievement of genuine

equality with respect to opportunities, responsibilities and rights

would guarantee that women could participate fully with men in all

aspects of decision-making regarding population and development

issues that affect their families, communities and countries.

      17. The ability of women to control their own fertility forms

an important basis for the enjoyment of other rights; likewise, the

assurance of socio-economic opportunities on an equal basis with

men and the provision of the necessary services and facilities

enable women to take greater responsibility for their reproductive

lives. The following recommendations take into account the need for

actions to ensure that women can effectively exercise rights equal

to those of men in all spheres of economic, social, cultural and

political life, and in particular those rights which pertain most

directly to population concerns.

Recommendation 5

      Governments are strongly urged to integrate women fully into

all phases of the development process, including planning, policy

and decision-making. Governments should pursue more aggressively

action programmes aimed at improving and protecting the legal

rights and status of women through efforts to identify and to

remove institutional and cultural barriers to women's education,

training, employment and access to health care. In addition,

Governments should provide remedial measures, including mass

education programmes, to assist women in attaining equality with

men in the social, political and economic life of their countries.

The promotion of community support and the collaboration, at the

request of Governments, of non-governmental organizations,

particularly women's organizations, in expediting these efforts

should be given paramount importance.

Recommendation 6

      Governments should ensure that women are free to participate

in the labour force and are neither restricted from, nor forced to

participate in, the labour force for reasons of demographic policy

or cultural tradition. Further, the biological role of women in the

reproductive process should in no way be used as a reason for

limiting women's right to work. Governments should take the

initiative in removing any existing barriers to the realization of

that right and should create opportunities and conditions such that

activities outside the home can be combined with child-rearing and

household activities.

Recommendation 7

      Governments should provide women, through education, training

and employment, with opportunities for personal fulfillment in

familial and non-familial roles, as well as for full participation

in economic, social and cultural life, while continuing to give due

support to their important social role as mothers. To this end, in

those countries where child-bearing occurs when the mother is too

young, Government policies should encourage delay in the

commencement of child-bearing.

Recommendation 8

      Governments concerned should make efforts to raise the age of

entry into marriage in countries in which this age at marriage is

still quite low.  

Recommendation 9

      Governments should promote and encourage, through

information, education and communication, as well as through

employment legislation and institutional support, where

appropriate, the active involvement of men in all areas of family

responsibility, including family planning, child-rearing and

housework so that family responsibilities can be fully shared by

both partners.

Recommendation 10

      All Governments which have not already done so are strongly

urged to sign and ratify or accede to the Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.


      18. The World Population Plan of Action urges that population

policies should not be considered substitutes for socio-economic

development policies but rather should be integral components of

those policies (paragraph 2). In formulating population policies,

Governments may aim to affect one or more of the following

population trends and characteristics, among others, population

growth, morbidity and mortality, reproduction, population

distribution, internal and international migration and population

structure. The Plan also recognizes the sovereignty of nations in

the formulation, adoption and implementation of their population

policies (paragraph 14), consistent with basic human rights and

responsibilities of individuals, couples and families (paragraph


Recommendation 11

      Governments are urged to adopt population policies and social

and economic development policies that are mutually reinforcing.

Such policies should be formulated with particular attention to the

individual, the family and community levels, as well as to other

factors at the micro-level and macro-level. Special emphasis needs

to be given to linkages between population trends, labour supply

and demand, the problems of unemployment and the creation of

productive employment. Governments are urged to share their

experience in integrating population policies into other social and

economic development policies.

Recommendation 12

      Governments are encouraged to provide adequate resources and,

where appropriate, to adopt innovative measures for the

implementation of population policy. To be effective and

successful, population programmes and development activities should

be responsive to local values and needs, and those directly

affected should be involved in the decision-making process at all

levels. Moreover, in these activities, the full participation of

the community and concerned non-governmental organizations, in

particular women's organizations, should be encouraged.


                   1. Population growth

      19. United Nations population projections, as assessed in

1982, indicate that, between 1984 and the end of the present

century, the growth rate of the world population will decline more

slowly than during the past 10 years. This is partly due to the

fact that, as a consequence of high fertility levels in the past,

the number of women of child-bearing age (15-49) will continue to

grow rapidly. Although, according to the medium variant

projections, the total fertility rate during this period is

expected to decline from 3.6 to 3.0 children per woman, the annual

rate of growth is projected to reach only 1.5 per cent. For the

world as a whole, the present annual increment of 78 million is

projected to increase to 89 million by 1995-2000. Thus, in the 16

years from 1984 to 2000, the world population is expected to

increase by 1.3 billion, from 4.8 billion in 1984 to 6.1 billion in


      20. These global perspectives conceal significant demographic

differences existing at the regional as well as the country levels.

According to the United Nations estimates, the current total

fertility rates range from 6.4 children per woman for Africa, 4.7

for South Asia, 4.1 for Latin America, 2.3 for East Asia, to 1.9

for Europe and North America. During the remainder of the present

century these differences are not expected to narrow significantly.

Moreover, these projections assume a continuation of present

efforts and policies without which uninterrupted declines in both

fertility and population growth cannot be achieved. The World

Population Plan of Action invites countries to consider adopting

population policies, within the framework of socio-economic

development, which are consistent with basic human rights and

national goals and values (paragraph 17). It is in the light of

that provision and the above-mentioned trends that the following

recommendation is made.

Recommendation 13

      Countries which consider that their population growth rates

hinder the attainment of national goals are invited to consider

pursuing relevant demographic policies, within the framework of

socio-economic development. Such policies should respect human

rights, the religious beliefs, philosophical convictions, cultural

values and fundamental rights of each individual and couple, to

determine the size of its own family.

           2. Morbidity and mortality

      (a) Goals and general guidance for health policies

      21.   The World Population Plan of Action set targets for

those countries with the highest mortality levels for 1985 and

noted the progress necessary for each region to attain an average

life expectancy of 62 years by 1985 and 74 years by 2000

(paragraphs 22 and 23). Recommendation 14 below updates the targets

for countries with higher mortality levels and challenges countries

with intermediate or lower mortality levels to continue and

strengthen their efforts for the improvement of health and the

reduction of mortality in the context of overall population and

development planning. The targets are feasible, provided a

commitment is made and resources are well allocated. Their

achievement requires that communities become increasingly involved

in efforts to promote their health and welfare, that all agencies

and institutions of government be involved in this endeavour, and

that each programme be evaluated. The achievement of these targets

will also require that countries will not be subject to aggression

(paragraph 24 (f)). The attainment of reduced levels of morbidity

and mortality is in accordance with the Declaration of Alma Ata,

endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/58 of 29

November 1979.  

Recommendation 14 

      All Governments, regardless of the mortality levels of their

population, are strongly urged to strive to reduce morbidity and

mortality levels and socio-economic and geographical differentials

in their countries and to improve health among all population

groups, especially among those groups where the morbidity and

mortality levels are the highest. Countries with higher mortality

levels should aim for a life expectancy at birth of at least 60

years and an infant mortality rate of less than 50 per 1,000 live

births by the year 2000. Countries with intermediate mortality

levels should aim to achieve a life expectancy at birth of at least

70 years and an infant mortality rate of less than 35 per 1,000

live births by the year 2000. The countries with lower mortality

should continue their efforts to improve the health of all

population groups and to reduce mortality even further, in keeping

with their social and economic capacities. Levels, trends and

differentials in mortality should be monitored in order to evaluate

the success of programmes in achieving these goals. 

Recommendation 15

       Governmental, intergovernmental, parliamentary and

non-governmental organizations should involve the community in all

possible ways in the planning, implementation and evaluation of

health improvement programmes.  

Recommendation 16 

      The promotion and preservation of health should be the

explicit concern of all levels and branches of government. It is

strongly urged, therefore, that governmental action in the area of

mortality and health should go beyond the health sector and involve

all relevant sectors of national and community development. All

development programmes should be monitored and analysed by the

Government concerned in order to assess and to improve their impact

on health. 

      (b) Infant, child and maternal morbidity and mortality

      22. The World Population Plan of Action (paragraphs 24 and 32

(a)) gives special attention to measures aimed at reducing foetal,

infant and early childhood mortality, and related maternal

morbidity and mortality. The following recommendations give more

precise guidelines for the implementation of the Plan, in

accordance with the objective of the Global Strategy for Health for

All by the Year 2000, which was adopted by the World Health

Assembly and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution

36/43 of 19 November 1981.

Recommendation 17

      Governments are urged to take immediate steps to identify the

underlying causes of morbidity and mortality among infants and

young children and develop special programmes to attack these

conditions. Strategies to be considered include emphasis on mother

and child health services within primary health care, the

introduction and support of a package of specific intervention

measures, and massive community-wide education and mobilization to

support them. Special efforts should be made to reach under-served

and deprived populations in rural areas and urban slums. The

international community should take concerted action to support

national efforts to this end.

Recommendation 18

      All efforts should be made to reduce maternal morbidity and

mortality. Governments are urged:

      (a) To reduce maternal mortality by at least 50 per cent by

the year 2000, where such mortality is very high (higher than 100

maternal deaths per 100,000 births);

      (b) To provide prenuptial medical examinations;

      (c) To provide prenatal and perinatal care, with special

attention to high-risk pregnancies, and ensure safe delivery by

trained attendants, including traditional birth attendants, as

culturally acceptable; 

      (d) To give special emphasis in nutritional programmes to the

needs of pregnant women and nursing mothers;

      (e) To take appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion,

which in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning,

and whenever possible, provide for the humane treatment and

counselling of women who have had recourse to abortion;

      (f) To support family planning as a health measure in

maternal and child health programmes as a way of reducing births

that occur too early or too late in the mother's life, of

increasing the interval between births and of diminishing higher

birth orders, and by giving special consideration to the needs of

those in the post-partum and/or breast-feeding period;

      (g) To encourage community education to change prevailing

attitudes which countenance pregnancy and childbearing at young

ages, recognizing that pregnancy occurring in adolescent girls,

whether married or unmarried, has adverse effects on the morbidity

and mortality of both mother and child.

Recommendation 19

      Governments are urged, as a special measure, to take

immediate and effective action, within the context of primary

health care, to expand the use of techniques such as child growth

monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, immunization and appropriate

birth spacing, which have the potential to achieve a virtual

revolution in child survival. All available communication channels

should be used to promote these techniques. The important role of

the family, especially of mothers, in the area of primary health

care should be recognized.  

Recommendation 20

      Governments are urged to promote and support breast-feeding.

Information should be widely disseminated on the nutritional,

immunological and psychological benefits of breast-feeding, as well

as its influence on child spacing. Nursing mothers, especially

those in the labour force, should be provided with appropriate

maternal benefits, including day-care facilities, access to proper

food supplements for themselves, and complementary weaning and

foods for their infants, in order to ensure adequate nutrition

throughout infancy and early childhood. Governments which have

accepted it should be urged to take the necessary steps to

implement the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk

Substitutes, as adopted by the 34th World Health Assembly

(resolution WHA 34.22).

Recommendation 21

      Governments are strongly urged to take all necessary

measures, including, whenever they consider it useful, utilizing

the services of non-governmental organizations, to raise the level

of education attained by women as an end in itself and because of

its close link to child survival and spacing. In countries where

there are still many illiterate women, a supplementary effort

should be made to extend mass education programmes.

       (c) Adult morbidity and mortality

      23. The levels of adult morbidity and mortality and their

major causes are still of concern for many Governments in both

developing and developed countries. The World Population Plan of

Action recognizes the importance of improving health conditions for

the working-age population and stresses the need for the

eradication of infectious and parasitic diseases (paragraphs 24 (d)

and (e)). In countries where infectious and parasitic diseases have

reached low levels of incidence, chronic and non-infectious

conditions still require urgent attention. As personal health

practices and behaviour affect health, dissemination of the

relevant information is important so that people can act on the

basis of full information

Recommendation 22

      Governments of countries where mortality is still high are

urged, with adequate international support, to implement intensive

programmes to control infectious and parasitic diseases, provide as

far as possible sufficient potable water and adequate sanitation

facilities, and implement other elements of primary health care for

both adults and children.

Recommendation 23

      Governments, assisted by intergovernmental and

non-governmental organizations, are urged to provide individuals

and families with all relevant information on the ways in which

personal behaviour or practices affect health, and to ensure that

the necessary resources are available for them to act on the basis

of this information. In this context, Governments are urged to

initiate or strengthen preventive action programmes to reduce the

consumption of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other products

potentially dangerous to health.

Recommendation 24

      Governments are urged to take necessary preventive or

corrective measures to eliminate the negative consequences for

health that characterize many occupations. 

               3. Reproduction and the family

      24. The World Population Plan of Action recognizes the

family, in its many forms, as the basic unit of society and

recommends that it should be given legal protection and that

measures should be taken to protect both the rights of spouses and

the rights of children in the case of the termination or

dissolution of marriage and the right of individuals to enter

marriage only with their free and full consent (paragraph 39). It

also recommends that all children, regardless of the circumstances

of their parentage, should enjoy equal legal and social status and

the full support of both parents (paragraph 40). The family is the

main institution through which social, economic and cultural change

affects fertility. While the family has undergone and continues to

undergo fundamental changes in its structure and function, the

family continues to be recognized as the proper setting for mutual

love, support and companionship of spouses, as the primary

determinant of the survival of children born into it, as the first

agent of the socialization of future generations, and in many

societies as the only supporting institution for the aged. The

family is also an important agent of social, political and cultural

change. Therefore, in the design and implementation of fertility

policies, Governments must respect individual rights while at the

same time giving full recognition to the important role of the


      25. The World Population Plan of Action recognizes, as one of

its principles, the basic human right of all couples and

individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing

of their children (paragraph 14 (f)). For this right to be

realized, couples and individuals must have access to the necessary

education, information and means to regulate their fertility,

regardless of the overall demographic goals of the Government

(paragraphs 28 and 29 (a)). While this right is widely accepted,

many couples and individuals are unable to exercise it effectively,

either because they lack access to information, education and/or

services or because, although some services are available, yet an

appropriate range of methods and follow-up services are not.

Indeed, data from the World Fertility Survey for developing

countries indicate that, on average, over one fourth of births in

the year prior to the Survey had not been desired. In addition, the

decline in the prevalence of certain traditional practices, such as

prolonged breast-feeding and post-partum abstinence, has increased

the relative importance of non-traditional family planning as a

tool for the proper spacing of births.

      26. While the Plan also stresses the responsibility of

individuals and couples in exercising their right to choose, the

experience of the past 10 years suggests that Governments can do

more to assist people in making their reproductive decisions in a

responsible way (paragraph 14 (f)). Any recognition of rights also

implies responsibilities; in this case, it implies that couples and

individuals should exercise this right, taking into consideration

their own situation, as well as the implications of their decisions

for the balanced development of their children and of the community

and society in which they live. The following recommendations

reaffirm the provisions of the World Population Plan of Action and

suggest specific measures for the attainment of the objectives of

the Plan in these areas.

Recommendation 25

      Governments should, as a matter of urgency, make universally

available information, education and the means to assist couples

and individuals to achieve their desired number of children. Family

planning information, education and means should include all

medically approved and appropriate methods of family planning,

including natural family planning, to ensure a voluntary and free

choice in accordance with changing individual and cultural values.

Particular attention should be given to those segments of the

population which are most vulnerable and difficult to reach.

Recommendation 26

      Governments are urged to promote the best conditions for

family formation and family life, ensuring, inter alia, that

children enjoy the most favourable environment for their physical,

psychological and social development. 

Recommendation 27

      Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental

organizations are urged to allocate, in accordance with national

policies and priorities, the necessary resources to family planning

services, where these services are inadequate and are not meeting

the needs of a rapidly growing population of reproductive age.

Recommendation 28

      Governments are urged to improve the quality and enhance the

effectiveness of family planning services and of the monitoring of

those services, including appropriate follow-up. Coverage should be

extended as rapidly as possible to all couples and individuals of

both sexes, particularly in rural areas. Family planning services

should be made available through appropriate and practicable

channels, including integrated health-care programmes (especially

maternal and child health and primary health care), community-based

distribution, subsidized commercial retail sales, and, in

particular, local distribution through retail outlets where health

infrastructure and health referral services exist. Also,

Governments should bear in mind the innovative role which

non-governmental organizations, in particular women's

organizations, can play in improving the availability and

effectiveness of family planning services. All countries should

ensure that fertility control methods conform to adequate standards

of quality, efficacy and safety.

Recommendation 29

      Governments are urged to ensure that adolescents, both boys

and girls, receive adequate education, including family-life and

sex education, with due consideration given to the role, rights and

obligations of parents and changing individual and cultural values.

Suitable family planning information and services should be made

available to adolescents within the changing socio-cultural

framework of each country. 

Recommendation 30

       Governments are urged to ensure that all couples and

individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly

the number and spacing of their children and to have the

information, education and means to do so; couples and individuals

in the exercise of this right should take into account the needs of

their living and future children and their responsibilities towards

the community. 

Recommendation 31

      Legislation and policies concerning the family and programmes

of incentives and disincentives should be neither coercive nor

discriminatory and should be consistent with internationally

recognized human rights as well as with changing individual and

cultural values.

Recommendation 32

      Governments which have adopted or intend to adopt national

fertility goals should translate these goals into specific policies

and operational steps that are clearly understood by the citizens. 

Recommendation 33

      Governments that have adopted or intend to adopt fertility

policies are urged to set their own quantitative targets in this

area. Countries implementing family planning programmes should

establish programme targets at the operational level, respecting

the basic right of couples and individuals to decide freely and

responsibly the number and spacing of their children, taking into

account the needs of their living and future children and their

responsibilities, assumed freely and without coercion, towards the


Recommendation 34

      Family policies adopted or encouraged by Government should be

sensitive to the need for: 

      (a) Financial and/or other support to parents, including

single parents, in the period preceding or following the birth of

a child, as well as the period during which parents assume the

major responsibility for the care and education of children;

      (b) A strengthening of child welfare services and child-care


      (c) Maternity and paternity leave for a sufficient length of

time to enable either parent to care for the child, with adequate

remunerative compensation and without detriment to subsequent

career prospects and basic communal facilities that will enable

working parents to provide care for children and aged members of

their families; and

      (d) Assistance to young couples and parents, including single

parents, in acquiring suitable housing. 

Recommendation 35

      Governments wishing to decrease fertility levels should adopt

development policies that are known to reduce the level of

fertility, such as improved health, education, integration of women

and social equity. Governments that view the level of fertility in

their countries as too low may consider financial and other support

to families to assist them with their parental responsibilities and

to facilitate their access to the necessary services. Such policies

should not restrict access to education, information and services

for family planning.  

             4. Population distribution and internal migration

      27. The World Population Plan of Action makes a number of

recommendations in regard to population distribution and internal

migration that are of continuing relevance (paragraphs 44-50). The

Plan recommends that population distribution policies should be

integrated with economic and social policies. In formulating and

implementing migration policies, Governments are urged to avoid

infringing the right of freedom of movement and residence within

States, to promote more equitable regional development, to locate

services and industry so as to promote interpersonal equity as well

as efficiency, to promote networks of small and medium-sized

cities, and to improve economic and social conditions in rural

areas through balanced agricultural development. In addition, the

Plan recommends that migrants should be provided with information

on economic and social conditions in urban areas, that employment

creation, systems of land tenure and the provision of basic

services should be improved in rural areas and that Governments

should share experiences relevant to their policies. The area of

population distribution and internal migration is still one of

great concern to many Governments. The following recommendations

indicate the means for the further implementation of the Plan of


Recommendation 36

      Population distribution policies must be consistent with such

international instruments as the Geneva Convention relative to the

Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949), wherein

article 49 prohibits individual or mass forcible transfers from an

occupied territory and forbids the occupier from transferring parts

of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Furthermore, the establishment of settlements in territories

occupied by force is illegal and condemned by the international


Recommendation 37

      Governments are urged to base policies aimed at influencing

population distribution on a comprehensive evaluation of costs and

benefits to individuals, families, different socio-economic groups,

communities, regions and the country as a whole. Population

distribution goals (e.g., target growth rates for primate cities or

rural population retention goals) should be pursued to the extent

that they help to achieve broader societal goals, such as raising

per capita incomes, increasing efficiency, making the distribution

of income more equitable, protecting the environment and improving

the quality of life. In so doing, Governments should ensure

that the rights of indigenous and other groups are recognized.

Recommendation 38

      Governments are urged, in formulating population distribution

policies, to take into account the policy implications of various

forms of population mobility (e.g., circular, seasonal,

rural-rural, and urban-urban, as well as rural-urban), to consider

the direction, duration and characteristics of these movements and

the interrelationships between territorial mobility and levels and

characteristics of fertility and mortality.

Recommendation 39

      Governments are urged to review their socio-economic policies

in order to minimize any adverse spatial consequences, as well as

to improve the integration of population factors in territorial and

sectoral planning, particularly in the sectors concerned with human


Recommendation 40

      Governments wishing to minimize undesired migration should

implement population distribution policies through incentives,

rather than migration controls, which are difficult to enforce and

may infringe human rights. 

Recommendation 41

      Governments which have adopted, or intend to adopt, a

comprehensive urbanization policy, should seek to integrate such

policies into the overall development planning process, with the

aim of achieving, inter alia, a reduction in current high migration

to capital cities and other large urban centres, the development of

medium-sized towns and a reduction of rural-urban and regional

inequalities. Developed countries and the international community

should extend the necessary assistance to the efforts of developing

countries in this direction.

Recommendation 42

      Governments should support programmes of assistance,

information and community action in support of internal migrants

and should consider establishing networks of labour exchanges that

could allow potential migrants to have adequate information about

social conditions and about the availability of employment in

receiving areas.

Recommendation 43

      Rural development programmes should be primarily directed

towards increasing rural production and efficiency, raising rural

incomes and improving social conditions and rural welfare,

particularly for small peasant producers and rural women.

Governments should therefore improve the accessibility of basic

social services and amenities to scattered populations, regularize

land ownership, facilitate access to credit, new technology and

other needed inputs, and adopt pricing policies geared to the needs

of smallholders. Appropriate measures must be taken to carry out

agrarian reform as one of the important factors which increase

agricultural production and promote the development of rural areas.

Recommendation 44

      Governments should adopt effective policies to assist women

migrants, especially those who are agricultural workers, as well as

women, children and the elderly left behind unsupported in rural

areas. Governments are also urged to pay special attention to the

difficulties of adaptation encountered in urban areas by migrant

women of rural origin and to take appropriate measures to overcome

these difficulties.

           5. International migration

(a) General guidelines for formulating international migration


        28. The general validity of the recommendations

made in the World Population Plan of Action with respect to

international movements is reaffirmed (paragraphs 51-62). However,

recent developments regarding the trends of international migration

flows demand greater attention from the international community,

especially with regard to certain types of migrants, such as

documented migrant workers, undocumented migrant workers and

refugees. The guidelines set out below give due consideration to

the basic fact that international migration is of concern to both

the receiving countries and the countries of origin, particularly

when the migration of skilled persons is involved. They reflect the

bearing that international migration may have on the process of

establishing a New International Economic Order and recognize that

the effective safeguarding of the basic human rights and

fundamental freedoms of all migrants, without discrimination on the

basis of race, culture, religion or sex, is an essential

prerequisite for the realization of their positive contributions to

the host society.  

Recommendation 45

      International migration policies should respect the basic

human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals as set out in

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, x/ the International

Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights y/ and other pertinent

international instruments. In keeping with these documents,

receiving countries should adopt measures to safeguard the basic

human rights of all migrants in their territory and to ensure the

respect of their cultural identity. Measures should also be taken

to promote the mutual adaptation of both immigrant groups and the

population of the receiving country.

Recommendation 46

      In formulating policies on international migration,

Governments of receiving countries should take into account not

only their own country's economic and social needs but also the

well-being of the migrants concerned and their families and the

demographic implications of migration. Governments of countries of

origin concerned with the continuing outflow of skilled workers and

professionals should seek to retain those workers as well as

encourage their return through, inter alia, the promotion of an

economic environment favourable to the expansion of employment

opportunities. To redress the existing imbalance of skills,

Governments should try to identify alternative skill resources.

Governments should formulate national and international measures to

avoid the brain-drain from developing countries and to obviate its

adverse effects. While pursuing these purposes in a manner

consistent with respect for human rights, Governments are invited

to conduct, inter alia, consultations or negotiations, on either a

bilateral or a multilateral basis, with the support, upon request,

of competent international organizations.

Recommendation 47

      High priority should be placed on the rehabilitation of

expelled and homeless people who have been displaced by natural and

man-made catastrophes. In all cases, Governments are urged to

co-operate fully in order to guarantee that the parties involved

allow the return of displaced persons to their homes and ensure

their right to possess and enjoy their properties and belongings

without interference. 

(b) Documented migrant workers

      29. The World Population Plan of Action calls for the proper

treatment of migrant workers and their families (paragraphs 55 and

56) whose migration has been promoted by countries facing labour

shortages and who are referred to hereafter as "documented migrant

workers". The Plan also addresses the concerns of countries of

origin (paragraph 54) and suggests concerted action at the

bilateral and multilateral levels (paragraphs 54 and 62). In 1979,

recognizing that, despite the efforts made by the States involved,

documented migrant workers were still not able to exercise their

rights as defined by the relevant international instruments, the

General Assembly called for the elaboration of an international

convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers

and their families (resolution 34/172 of 17 December 1979). Many of

the following recommendations reflect the contents of the draft of

this convention. z/ It is hoped that upon adoption of the

convention, it may serve as a guideline for the treatment of

migrant workers and their families.

Recommendation 48

      Governments of receiving countries should work towards

extending to documented migrant workers and accompanying members of

their families whose situation as regards stay and employment in

the receiving country is regular, treatment equal to that accorded

their own nationals with regard to the enjoyment of basic rights,

including the equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of

working conditions, social security, participation in trade unions

and access to health, education and other social services. In

achieving this aim, Governments are invited to use as guidelines

all relevant international instruments, in particular, the ILO

Convention concerning Migration for Employment (Revised) 1949 (No.

97) and the ILO Convention concerning Migrations in Abusive

Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and

Treatment of Migrant Workers, 1975 (No. 143), part II. aa/

Recommendation 49

      Governments of receiving countries that have not already done

so are urged to consider adopting appropriate measures to promote

the normalization of the family life of documented migrant workers

in the receiving country concerned through family reunion.

Demographic and other considerations should not prevent Governments

from taking such measures.

Recommendation 50

      Countries of origin and receiving countries should undertake

information and education activities to increase the awareness of

migrants regarding their legal position and rights and to provide

realistic assessments of the situation of migrants, including the

availability of job opportunities. Receiving countries should

recognise the right of migrants to form associations so that they

may participate more effectively in the receiving society while

maintaining their cultural identity.

Recommendation 51

      Governments of countries of origin and of receiving countries

should encourage and promote the widest dissemination, inter alia,

through the mass media, of information aimed at promoting public

understanding of and preventing any activity prejudicial to the

contribution of documented migrant workers to economic development

and cultural interchange.

(c) Undocumented migrants

      30. The World Population Plan of Action recommends that

Governments bear in mind humanitarian considerations in the

treatment of undocumented migrants (paragraph 56). Owing to the

irregularity of their situation, undocumented migrants are

particularly vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. It is

therefore urgent that their basic human rights and fundamental

freedoms be universally recognized and that they enjoy

international protection as well as the protection of receiving

countries within the framework of bilateral conventions. The widest

recognition of the rights of all migrant workers and the effective

safeguarding of these rights will tend to discourage exploitation

of undocumented migrants, particularly exploitation in the sphere

of employment, by employers who wish to reap the benefits of unfair

competition. bb/

Recommendation 52

      All measures adopted or implemented by countries of departure

and of arrival to reduce the illegal entry, stay or employment of

undocumented migrants (including amnesties, other regularization

schemes, border controls and deportations) should respect their

basic human rights.

Recommendation 53

      In formulating laws and regulations to limit undocumented

migration, Governments of receiving countries are invited to

consider the guidelines set forth in the ILO Convention concerning

Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of

Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers, 1975 (No. 143), part

I. cc/ To be effective, such laws and regulations should address

the treatment not only of the undocumented migrants themselves but

also of those persons inducing or facilitating undocumented


(d) Refugees

      31. The World Population Plan of Action addresses the

problems of refugees (paragraph 53). Since its adoption in 1974,

refugees have been a source of growing concern to the international

community because of their increasing numbers,  the  fact that a

large proportion of them are from the vulnerable groups - women,

children and the aged - and particularly because most refugees

originate and relocate in developing countries, which have had to

cope with the added economic and social burdens imposed on them.

This concern has resulted in programmes by developing countries, as

well as by third countries of resettlement, generally developed

countries, to alleviate the dislocations associated with the influx

of refugees. There seems to be broad agreement that through

international co-operation within the framework of the United

Nations an attempt should be made to remove the causes of new flows

of refugees, having due regard to the principle of non-intervention

in the internal affairs of sovereign States. In view of the

existing situation, the recommendations set out below emphasize the

need for continued international co-operation in finding durable

solutions to the problem of refugees and for the provision of

support and assistance to countries of first asylum.

Recommendation 54

      States that have not already done so are invited to consider

acceding to the international instruments concerning refugees, in

particular to the 1951 Convention dd/ and the 1967 Protocol ee/

relating to the Status of Refugees. 

Recommendation 55

      Governments and international agencies are urged to find

durable solutions to problems related to refugees and refugee

movements and to work towards the elimination of the causes of

these problems. Governments, international organizations and

non-governmental organizations are urged to continue to promote the

protection of refugees and to provide support and assistance to

first asylum countries in satisfying the basic needs of refugees.

Efforts towards the creation of conditions in which voluntary

repatriation may take place should be pursued and assistance should

be provided in rehabilitating returnees. The basic freedoms and

human rights of returnees and their families should be guaranteed

and assistance should be provided in developing opportunities for

a return to a normal and productive way of living. In situations

where neither voluntary repatriation nor resettlement in third

countries appears to be feasible, Governments, international

organizations and non-governmental organizations are urged to

provide support and assistance to the countries of first asylum in

developing the capacity of the national economic and social

infrastructure to sustain and, subject to the full approval of the

host countries, to integrate refugees.

           6. Population structure

      32. The World Population Plan of Action (paragraphs 63-67)

takes particular note of changing population age structures

resulting from sustained demographic change, and of the effect of

such changes on socio-economic development and on family and

household structures. Closely linked issues such as employment for

rapidly expanding working age groups, shifts from agricultural to

non-agricultural occupations and health needs of particular age and

sex groups are dealt with elsewhere in these recommendations. In

countries where fertility levels are high, the large absolute and

relative number of children and youth is a continuing burden for

social and economic development, including educational development.

On the other hand, the aging of the population has become an

important issue in developed countries, and an emerging one in

those developing countries which experienced declines in fertility

in the recent past. The rising proportion of the aged in these

populations is imposing an economic burden with respect to national

expenditures for social security and social services. It is noted,

however, that the aged can make significant contributions to

society. The following recommendations note the above and contain

proposals to foster the growth and value of all age and sex groups

in the community.

Recommendation 56

      Governments and the international community should continue

to bear in mind the considerations that led to the designation of

the International Year of the Child, as well as the recommendations

of the World Population Plan of Action with respect to age

distribution, giving due attention to the full range of the needs

of children.

Recommendation 57

      Governments, specialized agencies of the United Nations

system and other concerned intergovernmental and non-governmental

organizations are invited to intensify their efforts in the

execution of specific programmes related to youth, duly taking into

account the situation, the needs, the specific aspirations of youth

and the Specific Programme of Measures and Activities to be

undertaken before and during the International Youth Year endorsed

by the General Assembly. ff/

Recommendation 58

      Governments are urged to reaffirm their commitment to the

implementation of the International Plan of Action on Aging. w/ In

this context, further efforts should be made to analyse the issue

of aging, particularly its implications for overall development,

social services, medical care and other related fields, and on the

basis of such data Governments are urged to take appropriate

measures to secure the welfare and safety of older people, paying

particular attention to the situation and the needs of older women.

Governments and international agencies should increase their

efforts and activities with a view to improving care for the aged

within the family unit. Moreover, Governments should view the aging

sector of the population not merely as a dependent group, but in

terms of the active contribution that older persons have already

made and can still make to the economic, social and cultural life

of their families and community.

Recommendation 59

      In planning for economic and social development, Governments

should give appropriate consideration to shifts in family and

household structures and their implications for requirements in

different policy fields. 


           1. Data collection and analysis

      33. The recommendations of the World Population Plan of

Action regarding data collection and analysis (paragraphs 72-77)

continue to be both valid and urgent and thus every effort should

be made for their full implementation. The collection and analysis

of population and related statistics is an indispensable basis for

a full  and accurate understanding of population trends and

prospects for formulating population and development plans and

programmes and for monitoring effectively the implementation of

these plans and programmes. During the past decade considerable

progress has been achieved in the field of data collection and

analysis. For example, nearly all countries have carried out a

population census; well-designed fertility and other surveys were

carried out in many developed and developing countries; efforts

aimed at improving continuing national survey-taking capabilities

were initiated in a number of developing countries; and major

advances were made in the development of methods for use in the

analysis of incomplete data. However, a number of critical gaps in

official statistics remain, including those related to the

classification of data for urban agglomerations. In view of these

developments and future requirements, priority attention should be

given to the following recommendations.

Recommendation 60

      Governments are urged to develop durable capabilities for

data collection, processing and analysis, including needed computer

facilities, to provide reliable and timely information in support

of population and other development programmes. They are also urged

to accord priority to the development of national and regional

population information systems. Required assistance should be

provided to developing countries by the international community to

develop these activities.

Recommendation 61

      Governments are urged to monitor population trends and to

assess future demographic prospects and their implications on a

regular basis. Inasmuch as population projections provide basic

tools for economic and social development planning, efforts should

be made to prepare statistics relevant for this purpose.

Co-ordination and co-operation in this work within and between

countries should be promoted.

Recommendation 62

      Governments are urged to ensure that population and related

data are tabulated and published separately by sex, as well as data

concerning other demographic, social and economic variables, so

that the situation of women is rendered clearly and in order to

measure the impact on women of changes that will ensue from the

implementation of the World Population Plan of Action. 

Recommendation 63 

      Governments are encouraged to tabulate and publish data about

minority groups to assist in assessing the impact of the World

Population Plan of Action on such groups.  Recommendation 64      

 Because migration is the least developed area of current

demographic statistics, Governments may consider undertaking a

comprehensive programme of migration statistics, in line with

national priorities, focusing on such areas of concern as (1)

internal migration, (2) urbanization and (3) international

migration. It is also recommended that migration should be studied

in the context of the family. To this end, Governments should

consider ways of strengthening their national population censuses,

sample surveys or administrative record systems in order to obtain

needed migration data and estimates. Countries of origin and of

destination are urged to exchange such pertinent statistical data,

through the relevant United Nations authorities and other competent

international organizations, where appropriate.

Recommendation 65

      All countries are requested to participate in the 1990 World

Population and Housing Census Programme and endeavour to improve

further their censuses, giving particular attention to the timely

publication of census results in order to assist, inter alia, in

the evaluation of population and development trends at all levels.

Required assistance in support of these activities should be

provided to developing countries by the international community.

Recommendation 66

      Governments, in collaboration with appropriate international

organizations, are urged to establish or strengthen national sample

survey programmes that can provide, in conjunction with data from

other sources, a continuous flow of integrated statistics in

support of population and other development programmes, and to

build enduring capabilities for conducting surveys. It is

recommended, in particular, that surveys should be carried out

periodically on fertility, family planning health of mothers and

children, mortality and migration and that technical assistance for

this purpose should be made available from international sources.

Recommendation 67

      Governments are urged, in the collection, analysis and

dissemination of statistical data, and in the context of national

laws and practices, to ensure that confidentiality and the privacy

of the individual are safeguarded.

Recommendation 68

      Governments are urged to collect, compile and publish on a

timely basis the full range of vital statistics, as well as other

demographic and related social and economic statistics needed to

plan and evaluate population and health programmes, including

family planning programmes. To this end, Governments should

establish or strengthen civil registration systems and make use of

well-designed sample surveys, special studies and available

administrative reporting systems, such as population registers.

           2. Research

      34. The World Population Plan of Action (paragraphs 78-80)

gives great emphasis to research activities relating to population

and identifies a list of research priorities related to the

theoretical, operational and policy-oriented aspects of population

analyses. Throughout the course of the review and appraisal of the

World Population Plan of Action, in each of the expert group

meetings convened as part of the preparations for the International

Conference on Population, 1984, as well as in all other review

activities, the continuing need for research both to fill gaps in

knowledge and to support programmatic activity was made evident.

Increased research efforts together with the necessary

institutional and financial support are made necessary by changes

in the social and economic contexts within which population

policies are formulated and implemented. Similarly, changes in

population policies and in demographic conditions themselves and

new research findings, including those concerning contraceptive

technology, call for an expansion of research activities.

Recommendation 69

      Governments and funding agencies are urged to allocate

increased resources for research in human reproduction and

fertility regulation, including biomedical research, in order to

improve the safety and efficacy of existing family planning

methods, to develop new methods (including those for males), to

develop better methods of recognizing the female fertile period and

to address problems of infertility and subfecundity, including

those caused by environmental pollution. Such research should be

sensitive to the varying acceptability of specific methods in

different cultures. Other important aspects requiring increased

research efforts and support include epidemiological research on

the short- and long-term adverse and beneficial medical effects of

fertility-regulating agents. Modernization and updating of the

official requirements for the preclinical and clinical assessment

of new fertility regulating agents and a strengthening of the

research capabilities of developing countries in these areas are

also urgently needed.

Recommendation 70

      Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental

organizations should give priority to service and operational

research, including (a) acceptability of programmes and methods;

(b) programme design and implementation; (c) management of

programmes, including training of personnel, monitoring, logistics

and impact evaluation; and (d) effectiveness of programmes,

including information on planning the number of children. To

increase the acceptance and to improve the design of family

planning service programmes, priority should be given to social

research into the determinants and consequences of fertility.

However, substantive priorities should continue to reflect the

needs of countries. The allocation of research tasks should be

pragmatically divided among institutions that operate at the

national, regional or global levels, in order to make the best

possible use of available resources.

Recommendation 71

      Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental

organizations should provide required assistance for the

development and continued effectiveness of research capabilities,

especially at the country level, as well as at the regional and

global levels. Arrangements to facilitate the exchange of research

findings within and between regions should also be further

strengthened. Results of such research should be used in the

implementation of action programmes, which in turn should have

adequate built-in evaluation procedures. 

Recommendation 72

      In setting population research goals, Governments and

intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations should

endeavour to make them relevant to policies and programmes, with

the objective of making innovations in policy formulation,

implementation and evaluation. Special emphasis should be given to

research on the integration of population processes with

socio-economic development, considering not only applied but also

theoretical and methodological topics. 

        3. Management, training, information, education and       


      35. The World Population Plan of Action contains a series of

recommendations on management, training, information, education and

communication in the field of population (paragraphs 81-93). Since

its adoption, the need for the further development of management in

all fields related to population has been acknowledged, both

nationally and regionally, in order to enhance the effectiveness of

population programmes. In view of the importance of considering the

changing demographic situations as well as the interrelationships

between population and development in the formulation of population

policies and measures, training programmes in population and

population-related studies need to be further strengthened. There

is also a growing awareness of the supportive roles in population

policies and programmes of dissemination of population information

and of population education at national, regional and global

levels. The following recommendations relate to these


Recommendation 73

      Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental

organizations should increase their support to the management of

population programmes. They should also expand training programmes

in population fields, particularly in the areas of demography,

population studies, survey research, management, family life, sex

education, maternal and child health, family planning and

reproductive physiology. Such efforts should focus on

action-oriented training, reflecting the milieu of the area,

country or region concerned. Local-level training should be

supplemented by programmes of technical co-operation among the

developing countries and between the developed and the developing

countries, so that they can learn from each other's experience.

Development and expansion of national and regional population

training institutes and facilities should be encouraged and

strengthened. Special attention should also be given to the need to

train those who will be involved in training activities. In order

to ensure increased participation of women in the design,

management, implementation and evaluation of population programmes,

special attention should be given to the need to include women in

all training activities.

Recommendation 74

      Governments, with the assistance, as appropriate, of

intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, should

continue to explore innovative methods for spreading awareness of

demographic factors and for fostering the active involvement and

participation of the public in population policies and programmes

and to intensify training of national personnel who are engaged in

information, education and communication activities (including the

management and planning of those activities), in developing

integrated communication activities and education strategies,

utilizing mass media and community-level and interpersonal

communication techniques.

Recommendation 75

      Governments are invited to develop an adequate corps of

trained persons for the effective formulation and implementation of

integrated population and development policies, plans and

programmes at all levels. In this regard, increased efforts should

be made by Governments and training institutions, both at national

and international levels, to further facilitate the integration of

population studies into training curricula for policy-makers and

executives who plan and implement development programmes. 

Recommendation 76

      Governments and intergovernmental organizations are urged to

make more effective use of available population data and, for this

purpose, to promote forums for assessing the priorities in the

population fields, based on the results of population data and

studies, and for considering their reorientation, as necessary;

moreover, national and international support should be increased

with a view to improving the dissemination and exchange of

information at the national levels.


A. Role of national Governments

      36. The World Population Plan of Action underscores the

primary role of national Governments in the formulation,

implementation and achievement of the principles and objectives of

the Plan (paragraphs 96-99). The experience of the last decade has

demonstrated the variety of policy approaches that can be effective

when designed and implemented by Governments with due regard for

the particular political, social, cultural, religious and economic

conditions of their countries. However, many factors, including the

lack of definite commitment, inadequate resources, ineffective

co-ordination and implementation and insufficient data, have

limited the effectiveness of Governments in the implementation of

their national population policies. The following recommendations

emphasize specific means whereby Governments can enhance the

effectiveness of population policies within the context of the

guidelines articulated in the Plan of Action.

Recommendation 77

      Governments are urged to attach high priority to the

attainment of self-reliance in the management of their population

programmes. To this end, Government

are invited:        

      (a) To establish monitoring and evaluation systems and

procedures as an important managerial tool for policy-making and


      (b) To strengthen the administrative and managerial

capability needed for the effective implementation of population


      (c) To ensure that international assistance is provided under

arrangements and on conditions that are adapted to the

administrative resources of the recipient country, and that such

assistance is co-ordinated at the national level in a manner

that will facilitate effective and efficient programmes;

      (d) To involve communities more actively in the planning and

implementation of population programmes.

Recommendation 78

      Governments are encouraged to continue to utilize technical

co-operation among developing countries; subregional, regional and

interregional co-operation should be encouraged.

           B. Role of international co-operation

      37. The World Population Plan of Action outlines the

supportive role of the international community in providing

technical and financial assistance to achieve the goals of the Plan

(paragraphs 100-106). Since the Bucharest Conference, international

co-operation activities of multilateral and bilateral agencies and

intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations have achieved

a number of notable successes in attaining these goals. Technical

assistance among developing countries has also become increasingly

effective. As noted in the Review and Appraisal of the World

Population Plan of Action (E/CONF.76/4) the needs of developing

countries for assistance in population have increased dramatically.

Although the resources available have more than doubled in nomina

terms, this increase has not been sufficient either to keep pace

with the demand or to compensate for erosion due to inflation. The

developing countries themselves are allocating increasing shares of

development expenditure for population programmes. The need for

assistance for population programmes as for all development

programmes continues to grow. The recommendations in this section

encourage further assistance for development and population, both

to enlarge programmes where effective use of resources has been

demonstrated and to initiate new activities. 

Recommendation 79

      The international community should play an important role in

the further implementation of the World Population Plan of Action.

For this purpose, among other things, adequate and substantial

international measures of support and assistance should be provided

by developed countries, other donor countries and intergovernmental

and non-governmental organizations.

Recommendation 80

      Organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system

and donor countries which play an important role in supporting

population programmes, as well as other international, regional and

subregional organizations, are urged to assist Governments at their

request in implementating these recommendations. Of no less

importance will be the review of existing criteria for setting

co-operation priorities, bearing in mind considerations of regional

equity and the proper balance between the various phenomena in the

field of international co-operation.

Recommendation 81

      The international community should give particular emphasis


      (a) Initiation and expansion of research and action


      (b) Institutionalization of the integration of population

planning in the

development process;

      (c) Improving the status and strengthening the role of women

and providing appropriate financial and technical support for this

purpose in population programmes; 

      (d) Biomedical and social science research;

      (e) Collection and analysis of needed data;

      (f) Identification of successful programmes, ascertaining

those factors accounting for their success and disseminating such

information to those developing countries which initiate


      (g) Implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems in

order to ascertain the effectiveness and impact of programmes and

their continued responsiveness to community needs;

      (h) Promotion of exchanges between countries with common


      (i) Education and training in population matters.

Recommendation 82

      Governments are urged to increase the level of their

assistance for population activities in the light of continuing

needs in the field and the increasing commitment of developing

countries, with a view to reaching the goals set for this purpose

in the International Development Strategy for the Third United

Nations Development Decade. In this context Governments of

developed countries and other donor countries are urged to allocate

increased contributions for population and population-related

programmes in accordance with national goals and priorities of

recipient countries. This increase should not be detrimental to the

levels of economic development assistance in other areas.

Recommendation 83

      In view of the leading role of the United Nations Fund for

Population Activities in population matters, the Conference urges

that the Fund should be strengthened further, so as to ensure the

more effective delivery of population assistance, taking into

account the growing needs in this field. The Secretary-General of

the United Nations is invited to examine this recommendation, and

submit a report to the General Assembly on its implementation as

soon as possible but not later than 1986.

Recommendation 84

      National non-governmental organizations are invited to

continue, in accordance with national policies and laws, their

pioneering work in opening up new paths and to respond quickly and

flexibly to requests from Governments, intergovernmental and

international non-governmental organizations, as appropriate, for

the further implementation of the World Population Plan of Action.

Governments are urged, as appropriate, within the framework of

national objectives, to encourage the innovative activities of

non-governmental organizations and to draw upon their expertise,

experience and resources in implementing national programmes.

Donors are invited to increase their financial support to

non-governmental organizations.

Recommendation 85

      Members of parliament, the scientific community, the mass

media, and others in influential positions are invited, in their

respective areas of competence, to create an awareness of

population and development issues and to support appropriate ways

of dealing with these issues. 

Recommendation 86

      Policy makers, parliamentarians, and other persons in public

life are encouraged to continue to promote and support actions to

achieve an effective and integrated approach to the solution of

population and development problems by arousing public awareness

and working towards the implementation of national population

policies and programmes. The United Nations Fund for Population

Activities and the other international organizations concerned are

invited to continue providing support for such actions.

Recommendation 87

      The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the

Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme and

legislative and policy-making bodies of the specialized agencies

and other intergovernmental organizations are urged to examine and

support the recommendations for the further implementation of the

World Population Plan of Action and to include population questions

among their major priorities.

           C. Monitoring, review and appraisal

Recommendation 88

      The monitoring of population trends and policies and review

and appraisal of the World Population Plan of Action should

continue to be undertaken by the Secretary-General of the United

Nations, as specified in the Plan. The monitoring of multilateral

population programmes of the United Nations system aimed at the

further implementation of the World Population Plan of Action

should be undertaken by the Secretary-General of the United

Nations, through appropriate arrangements. The next comprehensive

and thorough review and appraisal of progress made towards

achieving the goals and recommendations of the World Population

Plan of Action will be undertaken in 1989.


      a/ See Report of the United Nations World Population

Conference, 1974, Bucharest, 19-30 August 1974 (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.75.XIII.3), chap. 1) 

      b/ General Assembly resolution 1386 (XIV).

      c/ Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human

Environment, Stockholm, 5-16 June 1972, (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.73.II.A.14 and corrigendum), chaps. I and


      d/ See Official Records of the General Assembly,

Thirty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 25 (A/37/25), part one,

annex 1. 

      e/   Report of the World Food Conference, Rome, 5-16 November

1974 (United

Nations publication, Sales No. E.75.II.A.3), chap. I.

      f/ Report of the World Conference of the International

Women's Year, Mexico City, 19 June-2 July 1975 (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.76.IV.l), chap. II, sect. A.

      g/ Report of the World Conference of the United Nations

Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Copenhagen,

14-30 July 1980 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.80.IV.3

and corrigendum), chap. I, sect.


      h/ See A/10112, chap. IV.

      i/ See Meeting Basic Needs: Strategies for Eradicating Mass

Poverty and Unemployment (Geneva, International Labour Office,


      j/ Report of Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human

Settlements, Vancouver, 31 May-11 June 1976 (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.76.IV.7 and corrigendum), chap. I.

      k/ Report of the United Nations Conference on

Desertification, Nairobi, 29 August-9 September 1977

(A/CONF.74/36), chap. I.

      l/ Report of the United Nations Water Conference, Mar del

Plata, 14-25 March 1977 (United Nations publication, Sales No.

E.77.II.A.12), chap. I.

      m/ See Primary Health Care: Report of the International

Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September

1978 (Geneva, World Health Organization, 1978).

      n/ Report of the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial

Discrimination, Geneva, 14-25 August 1978 (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.79.XIV.2), chap.


      o/ General Assembly resolution 34/24, annex.

      p/ Report of the Second World Conference to Combat Racism and

Racial Discrimination, Geneva, 1-12 August 1983 (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.83.XIV.4 and corrigendum), chap. II.

      q/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Technical

Co-operation among Developing Countries, Buenos Aires, 30 August-12

September 1978 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.78.II.A.11

and corrigendum), chap. I.

      r/ Report of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and

Rural Development, Rome, 12-20 July 1979 (WCARRD/REP) (Rome, Food

and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1979), part


      s/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Science and

Technology for Development, Vienna, 20-31 August 1979 (United

Nations publication, Sales No. E.79.I.21 and corrigenda), chap.


      t/ Global Strategy for Health for All by the Year 2000,

"Health for All" Series, No. 3 and corrigenda (Geneva, World Health

Organization, 1981).

      u/ Report of the United Nations Conference on New and

Renewable Sources of Energy, Nairobi, 10-21 August 1981 (United

Nations publication, Sales No. E.81.I.24), chap. I, sect. A.

      v/ Report of the United Nations Conference on the Least

Developed Countries, Paris, 1-14 September 1981 (United Nations

publication, Sales No. E.82.I.8), part one, sect. A.

      w/ Report of the World Assembly on Aging, Vienna, 26 July-6

August 1982 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.82.I.16),

chap. VI, sect. A. 

      x/ General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).

      y/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

      z/ See A/C.3/38/WG.l/CRP.2/Rev.l; for the deliberations of

the Working Group on the drafting of an international Convention on

the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their

Families, see A/C.3/35/13, A/36/378, A/36/383, A/C.3/36/10,

A/C.3/37/1, A/C.3/37/7 and Corr.l and 2, A/C.3/38/1 and A/C.3/38/5.

      aa/  See International Labour Conventions and

Recommendations, 1919-1981 (Geneva, International Labour Office.


      bb/  See, in this connection, the draft Convention on the

Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families

(A/C.3/38/WG.l/CRP.2/Rev.l), preambular paragraph 18 and proposed

preambular paragraph 19, and the report of the Working Group on its

meetings during the thirty-sixth session of the General Assembly

(A/C.3/36/10), para. 25.

      cc/  See International Labour Conventions and

Recommendations, 1919-1981 (Geneva, International Labour Office,


      dd/  United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p.


      ee/  Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791, p. 267.

      ff/ General Assembly resolution 36/28.

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