Monday, June 18, 2012

Time for a Rio Focus on Population

Amy Phillips Bursch, Media Relations Manager

Happy Rio week! Wednesday marks the start of the Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Our newest issue of The Reporter is focused on sustainable development, demographics, and how the two are linked. And boy, are they linked.

What exactly is sustainable development? Here’s one quick definition:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sounds good, right? It’s a laudable goal, and one we’ll be hard-pressed to achieve without a renewed focus on population stabilization.

Luckily, a lot of really smart people are pointing out the need for reproductive health care to have a prominent place in the Rio discussions.  One of them is Tewodros Melesse, director-general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. He’s got a great post in the BMJ blog that you should check out.

Here’s Melesse’s money quote:

Across the world more than two in five pregnancies are unplanned. Clearly this is a wasted opportunity to boost development and (stabilize) population growth—through something women want and need—the ability to decide when to become pregnant.

Amen to that.

So keep an eye on the news from Rio this week, and see if voluntary family planning gets the attention it needs and deserves. You can also follow the Rio conference on Facebook and Twitter. What do you want to see world leaders focus on in Rio?

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