News Selection – World Population
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on World Population.
How to grapple with soaring world population? An answer from Botswana
10/10/2018: Fifty years ago, Botswanan women would have seven children on average. Now they have fewer than three. It’s one of the fastest falling fertility rates anywhere in the world – a dramatic decline that merits scrutiny. Source: The Guardian
Tread Softly Comment: This Guardian feature pulls together the range of factors that have contributed to the widely recognised advance in sexual and reproductive health rights in Botswana. Any presumption that such success can be replicated throughout Africa should note the unsettling aspects lurking at the end of the article - problems in reaching the poorest areas of the country and the closure of family planning centres imposed by the "global gag" rule which has been revived by the Trump administration. Relevant Briefing: Population Policies
Preparing for Africa's population boom
26/9/2018: Africa's population is growing rapidly and is set to double by 2050. How are African countries changing attitudes towards birth control and preparing for the future? Source: DW
Tread Softly Comment: Conflict in DRC; unshakeable cultural attitudes in Nigeria, unhelpful presidential intervention in Tanzania, investment in reproductive health services in Rwanda and Ethiopia - this concise review of Africa's population growth serves a reminder that every country needs to be understood in its own context. Relevant Briefing: Population Policies
Tanzania suspends US-funded family planning ads on radio, television
20/9/2018: Tanzania has suspended broadcasting of family planning advertisements by a US-funded project. President John Magufuli said family planning was for those “too lazy to take care of their children”.
Source: The East African
China does away with family planning offices
11/9/2018: China's health commission is getting rid of three offices that were previously dedicated to family planning, the latest signal that Beijing may further reduce restrictions on childbirth to combat an ageing population. Source: Channel NewsAsia
President Trump’s Global Gag Rule endangers lives in Africa
15/8/2018: US President Donald Trump reintroduced and expanded the Global Gag Rule to curb access to abortion services. A decision taken in far-away Washington has dire implications for African women. Source: DW
Tread Softly Comment: Worrying early signs that the impact of the Trump administration's reintroduction of the Global Gag Rule could become devastating in Africa. Health clinics closing, unaffordable medical fees and rising numbers of unplanned pregnancies are all indicators that the greatly enlarged scope of the Rule may derail recent years of progress in reproductive health. Relevant Briefing: Opposition to Family Planning
Nigeria’s population as a blessing
25/4/2018: The British High Commissioner to Nigeria has argued that the country's rate of population growth may create a demographic disaster rather than dividend. A local editorial responds with a more positive view.
Cambodia requires funding for 2019 census
12/4/2018: Development partners covered most of the costs of Cambodia's 2008 population census. The 2018 census is already delayed by a year and there have been no donor commitments, presumably on account of the country's declining standards of governance.
Interview with Paul Ehrlich
22/3/2018: Fifty years after the publication of his controversial book, The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich warns overpopulation and overconsumption are driving us over the edge.
Population policies and fertility convergence
6/2/2018: The world's average total fertility rate declined from over five children per woman in 1960 to 2.5 in 2013. The transformation has not been limited to wealthy countries. Should family planning strategies or economic growth take the credit?
Trump policies undermine global targets for family planning
9/7/2017: As the London summit called to accelerate global family planning gets under way, latest figures show that plans to help more than 100 million women to access contraception are way off target.