WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, World Population Day 2019, the Washington, DC-based international non-profit Population Institute joins leading environmental and reproductive health organizations around the world in supporting the launch of a first-of-its-kind global campaign: Thriving Together. It highlights the emergence of a new, widespread consensus that removal of barriers to family planning is critically important not only for women and girls, but also for environmental conservation and biodiversity, and seeks global policy changes recognizing this. Organized by the UK's Margaret Pyke Trust, the UN-backed campaign has more than 150 participating groups worldwide.
"The existence of barriers to family planning is the most important ignored environmental challenge of our day. This changes now," said David Johnson, Chief Executive at the Margaret Pyke Trust. "The Thriving Together campaign encourages cross-sectoral support between health and environmental conservation organizations, showcasing that when people can choose freely whether and when to have children it is for the benefit of both people and planet. Barriers to family planning are not only relevant to those who are passionate about improving health, gender equality, empowerment and economic development, but also to those who are passionate about the conservation of biodiversity, the environment and sustainability."
"Gender inequality is a major contributor to high fertility rates in many parts of the world today," said Robert Engelman, a Senior Fellow at the Population Institute. "In addition to improving access and removing barriers to family planning services and information, we urgently need to boost the education of girls, eliminate child marriage, and empower women. If we can make progress on those fronts, while also taking action on climate change and boosting support for conservation programs, there's reason to hope we can create healthier families and a healthier planet."
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) recently issued a landmark report warning that human pressures are fast degrading nature. "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever," said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. "We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide."
But according to the Population Institute, in environmentally sensitive areas, particularly those threatened by resource depletion, holistic approaches such as Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) projects can improve access to health and family planning services, while also taking steps to restore the environment and protect critical bio-habitats. This can make communities healthier, more sustainable and, in the long run, more prosperous.
The UN's latest population projections indicate that global population will likely rise from 7.7 billion today to 9.7 billion by 2050. However, future population growth is highly sensitive to small changes in fertility. If the physical, financial, educational, social and religious barriers to people using family planning services were removed, fertility rates would fall faster than currently projected.
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SOURCE Population Institute