Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

7 billion people are not the issue - human development is what counts

28.10.2011
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 that environmental hazards and vulnerabilities are under control.

Invest in human capital -- people's education and health, including reproductive health -- to slow population growth, accelerate the transition to green technologies, and improve people's adaptive capacity to environmental change.

According to the Panel, "Education increases people's life opportunities in general, greatly contributes to technological and social innovation, and creates the mental flexibility required for a rapid transition to a green economy. This applies to both low- and high-income countries. Hence, the enhancement of human capital from early childhood to old age through formal and informal education and life-long learning is now known to be a decisive policy priority."

Joint convener of the Expert Panel, Professor Wolfgang Lutz from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA, and the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, states that the Panel's findings reaffirm research from several key demographic research teams around the world. "Female education and reproductive health services are the two factors that will bring down unsustainable population growth. There is also increasing evidence that 'human capital', the education and health of people, is one of the most important factors in the capacity of people to contribute to sustainable development and economic growth, and adapt to environmental change. These issues are becoming ever more profound, as the population grows and we start to see the consequences of climate change."

Rather than seeing the increase in the number of people sharing the planet merely as a 'problem' Lutz and the other members of the global panel believe that with the right policies and targeted investments in people, particularly the most vulnerable sectors or subpopulations, people will be seen as a resource and not simply a 'problem'.

As stated in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, "Human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development." Therefore, consideration of the changing numbers, characteristics, and distributions of human beings on the planet must be at the core of any serious analysis of the challenges and opportunities for sustainable development.

About the Statement:

Convinced by the need to address sustainable development in a multi-dimensional manner, IIASA (with funding from the United Nations Population Fund) invited more than twenty leading international experts to discuss how population factors promote or impede sustainable development. The experts come from many relevant disciplines and from all parts of the world. They prepared a statement referred to as The Laxenburg Declaration on Population and Development with specific action points as input to Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in June 2012.

Read the full Statement on the IIASA website at:

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Admin/INF/PR/2011/2011-10-27.html

For more information or interviews contact:

Wolfgang Lutz IIASA: Phone 43-2236-807-294 lutz@iiasa.ac.at

William Butz IIASA: Phone: 43-6604-934-829 butz@iiasa.ac.at

Leane Regan IIASA: Phone 43-664-443-0368 regan@iiasa.ac.at

About IIASA:

IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world.

IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. http://www.iiasa.ac.at

About the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital: By pooling the scientific strengths of IIASA, the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the WU-Vienna the Wittgenstein Centre is a leading global research centre dealing with the interdependencies of demography and education and their consequences for society, economy and environment – a central challenge for the future of humankind.

Leane Regan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iiasa.ac.at

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular motors run in unison in a metal-organic framework

20.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Active substance from plant slows down aggressive eye cancer

20.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Novel sensor system improves reliability of high-temperature humidity measurements

20.03.2019 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>