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7 billion people are not the issue - human development is what counts
Date:10/27/2011

As the global media speculate on the number of people likely to inhabit the planet on Oct. 31 an international team of population and development experts argue that it is not simply the number of people that matters but more so their distribution by age, education, health status and location that is most relevant to local and global sustainability.

Any realistic attempt to achieve sustainable development must focus primarily on the human wellbeing and be founded on an understanding of the inherent differences in people in terms of their differential impact on the environment and their vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are often closely associated with age, gender, lack of education, and poverty.

These are some of the messages formulated by twenty of the world's leading experts in population, development and environment who met at IIASA in Austria in September 2011, with the objective of defining the critical elements of the interactions between the human population and sustainable development. The Laxenburg Declaration on Population and Development, as prepared by the Expert Panel, describes the following five actions as necessary to address sustainable development, achieve a 'green economy' and adapt to environmental change:

  • Recognize that the numbers, characteristics, and behaviors of people are at the heart of sustainable development challenges and of their solutions.
  • Identify subpopulations that contribute most to environmental degradation and those that are most vulnerable to its consequences. In poor countries especially, these subpopulations are readily identifiable according to age, gender, level of education, place of residence, and standard of living.
  • Devise sustainable development policies to treat these subpopulations differently and appropriately, according to their demographic and behavioral characteristics.
  • Facilitate the inevitable trend of increasing urbanization in ways that ensure tha
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Contact: Leane Regan
regan@iiasa.ac.at
43-664-443-0368
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Source:Eurekalert

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