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Third Asian and Pacific Conference perspectives on family planning, population, and development.

Abstract

PIP:

Differences between the Report of the UN World Population Conference and the Report of the Third Asian and Pacific Population Conference were discussed in reference to 1) the relative importance placed on family planning and development in lowering fertility levels, 2) the degree to which family planning and development programs should be integrated, and 3) setting family planning targets. The UN conference was held in Bucharest, Hungary, in 1974 and the Asian and Pacific Conference was held in Colomb, Sri Lanka in 1982. The relative importance of family planning and development on fertility was a major issue at the Bucharest conference. The World Population Plan for Action (WPPA) formulated at the Bucharest conference did not recommend family planning as a strategy for reducing fertility; instead, the WPPA recommended that countries interested in reducing fertility should give priority to development programs and urged developed countries to promote international equity in the use of world resources. In contrast, the Asia-Pacific Call for Action on Population and Development as formulated at the Colomb conference, strongly recommended both development and family planning programs as a means to reduce fertility. It urged governments to adopt strong family planning policies, to make family planning services available on a regular basis, and to educate and motivate their populations toward family planning. In regard to integration strategies, the WPPA called for integrating family planning programs and development programs wherever possible, and particularly recommended integrated delivery of family planning and health services. The Asia-Pacific Call for Action supported an integrated approach, but only in those situations where it was proven to be a workable approach, i.e., where it improved the efficiency of family planning services. Combining family planning and maternal and child health programs is known to be an advantageous approach, but the consequences of integrating family planning with other health programs and with development programs needs further study. The WPPA recommended that governments set targets for life expectancy and infant mortality, but it did not mention setting fertility targets or establishing an ideal family size. It did urge governments to create the type of socioeconomic conditions which would permit couples to have the number of children they desired and to space them in the manner they wished. The WPPA noted that substantial national effort would be required to reduce the birthrate to the UN projected rate of 30/1000 population in developing regions by 1985. The Asia-Pacific Call for Action urged countries to set specific targets which would make it possible for them to attain replacement level fertility in the year 2000. It will be interesting to observe the degree to which the Asian and Pacific countries will be able to influence the participants at the upcoming International Conference on Population to their way of thinking on these critical issues. A copy of the Asia-Pacific Call for Action on Population and Development is included in an annex to the article.

PMID:
12313216
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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