Thursday, 30 July 2009

A liberal response to the global population crisis

To remind you, dear reader, of some excellent policy adopted recently I am posting the following text which was passed unanimously by the Liberal International Congress in May 2008.
"The 55th Liberal International Congress,
Noting that
(1) The human population of the world, currently about 6.7 billion, is more than double what it was in 1960, and is continuing to increase at a rate of an extra 1.5 million people per week;
(2) This rate of increase threatens the sustainability of the world’s resources;
(3) Population increases can enslave people in poverty;
(4) Reproductive health conditions are the leading cause of death and illness in women of childbearing age worldwide; and at least 200 million women want to plan their families or space their children, but lack access to safe and effective contraception;
Recalling that the 54th Liberal International Congress in Marrakech, 2006:
(A) Reaffirmed the absolute imperative at the beginning of the 21st century to raise the living standards of the extreme poor, in particular that half of the global population which struggles to survive on less than $2 per day,
(B) Reaffirmed its commitment to the eight Millennium Development Goals that were adopted by 189 nations during the Millennium Development Summit in 2000, which include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the education and empowerment of girls and women, the improvement of maternal and child health and ensuring environmental sustainability;
(C) Recognised that some cultural or religious practices in society hinder the contribution of women;
(D) Recognised that excessive population growth places enormous strains on agricultural land and available nutritional and environmental resources;
(E) Commended both freedom of choice for individuals and equal treatment of all citizens and residents, and non-discrimination;
Believing that:
(a) In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, population growth and sexual and reproductive health and rights also need to be addressed;
(b) In particular, the present rate of consumption of the world’s resources is at odds with the Seventh Millennium Development Goal, namely environmental sustainability;
(c) It is vital to reverse the trend towards a burgeoning human population of the planet if real progress is to be made on the Millennium Development Goals, a better quality of life is to be shared by all, and the threats of worsening violence, epidemics and starvation are to be lessened;
(d) Parents have the human right and the freedom to choose to plan their families and thereby improve their health and quality of life, but there is an unmet need for education, family planning and reproductive health services;
(e) Where such unmet need exists, unwanted pregnancies can be obstacles to gender equality and subsequent social justice, economic growth and environmental sustainability;
Calls upon Liberal International's member parties to urge their governments:
(1) To especially promote the education of girls and women;
(2) To provide full access to comprehensive family planning and sexual and reproductive health services to all those who wish to access these services;
(3) To defend and advance gender equality and to eliminate all forms of discrimination, coercion and violence against women."

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