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Blewett launches Population Pack



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NISTER FOR TRADE AND OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

No. M T32 0 a te :

EMBARGOED UNTIL 10 am MONDAY MAY 2 0 1 9 9 1

B l e w e t t l a u n c h e s P o p u l a t i o n P a c k

T h e M i n i s t e r f o r T r a d e a n d O v e r s e a s D e v e lo p m e n t, N e a l B l e w e t t ,

t o d a y l a u n c h e d a P o p u l a t i o n a n d D e v e lo p m e n t P a c k f o r

P a r l i a m e n t a r i a n s .

H e s a i d t h a t t h e r e w e r e fe w i s s u e s m o re i m p o r t a n t t o t h e w o r l d

c o m m u n ity t o d a y t h a n t h e s o c i a l a n d e c o n o m ic im p a c t o f

p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h .

T h e P o p u l a t i o n P a c k h i g h l i g h t s t h e l i n k s b e tw e e n g l o b a l

p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h a n d e c o n o m i c a n d s o c i a l d e v e l o p m e n t .

" U n l e s s w e c a n s lo w a n d e v e n t u a l l y s t a b i l i s e p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h ,

we w i l l e n d u p l i k e t h e R ed Q u e e n i n ' A l i c e T h r o u g h t h e L o o k in g

G l a s s ' - c o n d e m n e d t o k e e p r u n n i n g a s f a s t a s we c a n j u s t t o

s t a y i n o n e p l a c e .

" T h e f a c t t h a t o v e r 90 p e r c e n t o f t h e w o r l d ' s p o p u l a t i o n g r o w th

i s o c c u r r i n g i n d e v e l o p i n g c o u n t r i e s i s a m a j o r c o n c e r n b e c a u s e

t h e y a r e l e a s t e q u i p p e d t o m e e t t h e n e e d s o f t h e i r p e o p l e a s

w e l l a s i n v e s t i n t h e i r f u t u r e , " h e s a i d .

D r B l e w e t t s a i d t h a t o n e i s s u e d i s c u s s e d i n t h e P a c k w a s t h e

u n m e t n e e d f o r f a m i l y p l a n n i n g s e r v i c e s i n t h e d e v e l o p i n g w o r l d

w h e r e a s m an y a s 80 p e r c e n t o f m a r r i e d women w a n te d t o l i m i t o r

s p a c e f u t u r e b i r t h s , b u t i n m o s t c a s e s d i d n o t h a v e a c c e s s t o

t h e m e a n s t o a c h i e v e i t .

" T h e l i n k b e t w e e n p o p u l a t i o n a n d e n v i r o n m e n t a l d e g r a d a t i o n i s

a n o t h e r k e y i s s u e d i s c u s s e d i n t h e P a c k , " h e s a i d .

D r B l e w e t t s a i d t h a t A u s t r a l i a ' s a i d p r o g r a m w a s h e l p i n g t h e

i n t e r n a t i o n a l e f f o r t t o s l o w p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h , w i t h f u n d i n g

f o r t h i s s e c t o r b e i n g i n c r e a s e d b y o v e r 50 p e r c e n t t h i s y e a r t o

a p p r o x i m a t e l y $7 m i l l i o n .

" T h e P o p u l a t i o n P a c k w a s p r e p a r e d b y t h e F a m i l y P l a n n i n g

F e d e r a t i o n o f A u s t r a l i a a n d f u n d e d b y t h e F a m i l y P l a n n i n g

F e d e r a t i o n o f A u s t r a l i a a n d t h e A u s t r a l i a n I n t e r n a t i o n a l

D e v e lo p m e n t A s s i s t a n c e B u r e a u (A ID A B ).

C a n b e r r a : M ay 20 1 9 9 1

F u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n a n d c o p i e s o f t h e k i t c a n b e o b t a i n e d f r o m

t h e F a m i l y P l a n n i n g F e d e r a t i o n o f A u s t r a l i a (0 6 2 8 5 1 2 4 4 ) o r

AIDAB ( 0 6 2 7 6 4 9 6 0 ) .

.......COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY L IB R A R Y MiCAH

ADDRESS BY

THE HONORABLE NEAL BLEWETT MINISTER FOR TRADE AND OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT PACK

FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS

CANBERRA Monday 20 May 1991

THERE CAN BE FEW ISSU E S AS IMPORTANT TO THE WORLD COMMUNITY TODAY

AS THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACT OF POPULATION GROWTH.

THEREFORE, I AM PLEA SED TO BE ABLE TO J O I N DR S A I AND DIANNE

PROCTOR, OF THE FAM ILY PLANNING FEDERATION OF A U ST R A L IA , AT

TODAY'S LAUNCH OF THE BRIEFING K IT ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT

FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS.

I COMMEND THE F E D E R A T IO N 'S B R IE F IN G K IT TO YOU AS A SALUTARY

REMINDER OF THE IM P L IC A T IO N S OF POPULATION GROWTH FOR HUMAN

WELFARE AND FOR OUR GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT.

OVER 90 PER CENT OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION GROWTH I S OCCURRING IN

DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, WHICH ARE LEAST EQUIPPED TO MEET THE NEEDS

OF T H E IR PEOPLE AS WELL AS IN V EST IN T H E IR FU TU R E. THESE

COUNTRIES ARE CAUGHT IN A VICIOUS CYCLE, WITH POPULATION GROWTH

ERODING THE GAINS IN LIV IN G STANDARDS BROUGHT ABOUT BY ECONOMIC

GROWTH.

IN TERMS OF GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT, UN LESS WE CAN SLOW AND

EVENTUALLY STA B ILISE POPULATION GROWTH, WE WILL END UP LIK E THE

RED QUEEN IN 'A L IC E THROUGH THE LOOKING G L A S S ': CONDEMNED TO KEEP

RUNNING AS FAST AS WE CAN JU ST TO STAY IN ONE PLACE.

1

THE FALL IN BIRTHRATES SLOWED IN THE LATE 1 9 8 0 s , AND T H IS YEAR'S

REPORT ON 'THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION' BY THE UNITED

NATIONS POPULATION FUND, HAS AGAIN R EV ISED WORLD POPULATION

GROWTH ESTIMATES UPWARDS. I T PROJECTS AN INCREASE OF 1 BILLION

PEOPLE - OR 50 TIMES THE CURRENT POPULATION OF AUSTRALIA - EVERY

10 YEARS, WITH WORLD POPULATION EVENTUALLY LEVELLING OFF AT ABOUT

1 1 . 6 B ILLIO N : ABOUT DOUBLE THE CURRENT TOTAL OF 5 . 4 B IL L IO N .

TO A PPRECIA TE WHAT THESE P R O JE C T IO N S MEAN IN TERMS OF HUMAN

WELFARE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SU STA IN A BILITY , I T IS USEFUL TO LOOK AT

SOME OF THE COSTS OF THE DOUBLING IN WORLD POPULATION THAT HAS

ALREADY OCCURRED SINCE THE 1 9 5 0 S , PARTICULARLY IN DEVELOPING

COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE BORNE THE BULK OF THAT INCREASE.

2

IN THE 1 9 9 0 s , THROUGHOUT THE THIRD WORLD, SUBSISTENCE FARMERS EKE

OUT A LIVING ON MARGINAL LAND WHICH I S DEPLETED OF NUTRIENTS,

STRIPPED OF TOPSOIL AND NO LONGER ABLE TO WITHSTAND DROUGHTS AND

HEAVY R A IN S. FULLY 35 PER CENT OF THE EARTH'S LAND SURFACE, IN

AREAS WHERE OVER 8 5 0 M ILLION PEOPLE L IV E , I S ESTIMATED TO BE IN

VARIOUS STAGES OF D ESERTIFICA TIO N .

'UNNATURAL D ISA ST E R S', WHERE HUMAN PRESSURES ON FORESTS, S O IL AND

LAND CAUSE ECOSYSTEMS TO COLLAPSE UNDER OTHERWISE NORMAL

STRESSES, ARE ON THE R IS E . AT THE SAME TIM E , COMPETITION FOR LAND

AND NATURAL RESOURCES I S CAUSING PEO PLE TO L IV E IN THESE

MARGINAL, DISASTER-PRONE AREAS, LEAVING THEM MORE VULNERABLE TO

NATURAL FORCES.

THE TRAGEDY OF THE DEATH AND S U F F E R IN G CAUSED BY THE RECENT

TYPHOON IN BANGLADESH I S A STARK EXAMPLE OF T H IS PA TTERN :

POPULATION PRESSURE AND LAND SCARCITY HAD FORCED MANY OF THOSE

WHO DIED IN THE TYPHOON TO LIV E ON 'C H A R S' - BARS OF S IL T AND

SAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BENGAL DELTA PRONE TO BEING WASHED AWAY

BY FLOODS. .

THERE ARE OTHER CAUSES FOR CONCERN. WATER SHORTAGES, ALREADY

SEVERE IN PARTS OF IN D IA , AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST, WILL BECOME

CRITICAL IN THE NEXT 5 0 YEARS. '

3

THERE I S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH SHELTER FOR EVERY 10 0 NEW

HOUSEHOLDS, ONLY 38 PERMANENT NEW DWELLINGS WERE BUILT EACH YEAR

IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS.

LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION ARE ALSO RESULTING IN

INCREASINGLY LARGE MASS MIGRATIONS BY D ISPL A C E D PERSO N S: THE

NUMBER OF ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES I S NOW ESTIMATED AT TEN MILLION

- RIVALLING THAT OF OFFICIALLY RECOGNISED REFUGEES AND GROWING

MUCH FASTER.

CLEARLY, POPULATION GROWTH I S NOT THE SOLE CAUSE OF SUCH

PROBLEMS, JUST AS CONTROLLING POPULATION GROWTH I S NOT A SOLUTION

IN IT S E L F .

WE ALL KNOW OF THE THREATS POSED TO THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT BY

AFFLUENT COUNTRIES LIKE AUSTRALIA: AT PRESENT THREE QUARTERS OF

THE WORLD'S RESOURCE CONSUMPTION, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AND

TOXIC WASTES ARE BY DEVELOPED COUNTRIES.

SIMILARLY, IT I S LACK OF INCOME SECURITY OR ADEQUATE HEALTH AND

EDUCATION STANDARDS, WHICH ENCOURAGES POOR PEOPLE TO HAVE LARGE

FAMILIES AS A FORM OF INSURANCE.

BUT WHILE OVERCONSUMPTION IN THE WEST AND THE INEQUITABLE

ISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH ARE REAL AND IMPORTANT IS S U E S , IT I S WRONG

TO USE THEM, AS SOME HAVE DONE, TO DODGE THE POPULATION IS SU E .

4

P O P U L A T IO N AND FA M ILY PL A N N IN G PROGRAMS ARE C R U C IA L TO

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. WITHOUT THEM THERE WOULD BE OVER 4 0 0

MILLION MORE PEOPLE IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD TODAY.

THANKS TO SUCH PROGRAMS, THE T Y P IC A L NUMBER OF CHILDREN EACH

FERTILE WOMAN WILL BEAR OVER HER LIFE T IM E HAS DROPPED WORLDWIDE

FROM ALMOST 5 IN 1 9 6 0 TO 3 . 4 TODAY. IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, THE

DROP HAS BEEN STEEPER, FROM S IX TO 3 . 9 . OVER HALF THE WORLD'S

COUPLES OF CHILD BEARING AGE NOW USE CONTRACEPTION. .

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE, HOWEVER, I S THE UNMET NEED

FOR SUCH PROGRAMS. THANKS IN PART TO THE EFFORTS MADE TO DATE,

COUPLES THE WORLD OVER ARE BECOMING AWARE OF THE ADVANTAGES OF

SMALLER, BETTER-SPACED FA M ILIES. .

SURVEYS HAVE SHOWN CONSISTENTLY THAT TODAY'S MOTHERS WANT FEWER

C H ILD R EN : WOMEN IN DEVELOPING CO U N TRIES WOULD HAVE 1 . 4 FEWER

CHILDREN ON AVERAGE I F THEY COULD CHOOSE. AS MANY AS 5 0 TO 8 0 PER

CENT OF MARRIED WOMEN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ALREADY WANT TO

L IM IT OR SPACE FUTURE BIR TH S.

AS THE BRIEFING K IT POINTS OUT, I F ALL THE WOMEN WHO SAY THEY

WANT TO L IM IT THE S I Z E OF T H E IR F A M IL IE S COULD DO S O , THE

POPULATION OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WOULD BE 1 . 3 BILLIO N FEWER IN

35 YEARS' TIME.

5

THE CHALLENGE, OF COURSE, I S HOW TO MAKE TH IS PO S SIB L E .

I T I S A CHALLENGE WHICH THE ORGANISATION HEADED BY DR S A I , THE

INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION ( I P P F ) AND OTHER

INTERNATIONAL POPULATION AND FAMILY PLANNING ORGANISATIONS, HAVE

BEEN ENGAGED IN MEETING FOR A CONSIDERABLE TIM E.

THE IP P F WAS IN FACT FOUNDED ON THE VERY PR IN C IPLE OF PE O P L E 'S

R IG H T TO FAMILY PLA NN IN G, A R IG H T F IR S T MADE E X P L IC IT IN AN

INTERNATIONAL FORUM IN 1 9 5 3 TO RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION OF THE

I P P F .

S IN C E THAT T IM E , THE I P P F HAS GROWN IN T O TH E LA R G E ST

INTERNATIONAL NON-GOVERNMENT AGENCY PROVIDING FAM ILY PLANNING

SERVICES AND SUPPORT PROGRAMS, WITH AN ANNUAL BUDGET OF ABOUT $US

50 M ILLION. THE STRENGTH OF THE IP P F HAS BEEN IT S RELIANCE ON

COMMUNITY COOPERATION AND THE VOLUNTARY WORK OF I T S MEMBER

ORGANISATIONS.

FOR IT S PART, THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT I S ALSO DOING WHAT IT

CAN TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE INTERNATIONAL EFFORT REQUIRED TO HALT

POPULATION GROWTH.

6

POPULATION PROGRAMS ARE RECEIVING SPECIA L PR IO R ITY AS PART OF THE

GOVERNMENT'S INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT IN IT IA T IV E S TH IS FINANCIAL

YEAR. FUNDING FOR THE POPULATION SECTOR HAS INCREASED BY OVER

50 PER CENT THIS YEAR, TO APPROXIMATELY $7 M ILL IO N .

FUNDING FOR THE IP P F INCREASED T H IS YEAR BY 9 0 PER CENT TO OVER

$ 0 .8 MILLION, AND AIDAB ALSO PROVIDED AN ADDITIONAL $ 1 0 0 ,0 0 0 FOR

A PROJECT BY THE FAM ILY PLANNING FED ERA TIO N OF AUSTRALIA TO

PRODUCE VIDEOTAPES ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH WHICH WILL BE USED AS

TRAINING AIDS BY IT S FAMILY PLANNING ASSOCIATION COUNTERPARTS IN

THE PA C IFIC REGION. THE F P F A 'S WORK IN AUSTRALIA I S ALSO ASSISTED

BY THE FUNDING THE ASSOCIATION RECEIVES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF

COMMUNITY SERVICES AND HEALTH.

AIDAB ALSO SUPPORTED THE PREPARATION OF THE BRIEFIN G K IT WE ARE

HERE TO LAUNCH TODAY, WITH A GRANT OF $ 1 7 , 0 0 0 LAST FINANCIAL

YEAR.

THE GOVERNMENT W IL L CONTINUE TO G IV E H IG H P R IO R IT Y TO A ID

A C T IV IT IE S IN THE POPULATION SECTOR. I T I S HOPED THAT INCREASED

FUNDING WILL BE AVAILABLE DEPENDING UPON BUDGETARY CIRCUMSTANCES.

IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A FRAMEWORK FOR THE INCREASED ATTENTION BEING

GIVEN TO THE POPULATION SECTOR IN THE AID PROGRAM, THE GOVERNMENT

HAS ALSO DEVELOPED A CLEARLY ARTICULATED POLICY ON SUPPORT TO

POPULATION A C T IV IT IE S .

7

IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF OUR POLICY STANCE ARE THE RECOGNITION OF THE

RIGHT OF ALL PEOPLE TO HAVE THE INFORMATION, EDUCATION AND MEANS

TO DECIDE THE NUMBER AND SPACING OF TH EIR CHILDREN, AND THE NEED

TO GIVE PRIORITY TO PROGRAMS DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE STATUS OF

WOMEN.

ANOTHER P R IN C IP L E WHICH I REGARD AS VERY IM PO RTA N T IN

IMPLEMENTING THESE PO L IC IE S I S P E O P L E 'S RIGHT TO HIGH QUALITY

FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS, WHICH INFORM AND EDUCATE THEM ABOUT

FAMILY PLANNING OPTIONS, AND ENABLE THEM TO MAKE A FREE CHOICE

ABOUT METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION.

I HAVE ASKED AIDAB TO ENSURE THAT THESE PR IN C IPL E S OF VOLUNTARISM

AND QUALITY OF CARE ARE, AS FAR AS P O S S IB L E , B U ILT IN TO ANY

IN IT IA T I V E S IN THE POPULATION F IE L D FUNDED THROUGH THE A ID

PROGRAM, IN PARTICULAR IN THE B ILA TER A L PROGRAM WHERE WE CAN

E X E R C ISE A GREATER DEGREE OF P R E S C R IP T IV E N E S S OVER PRO JECT

DESIGN.

A U S T R A L IA 'S STANCE ON THE D IF F IC U L T Q U ESTIO N OF COERCION IN

POPULATION PROGRAMS IS ALSO CLEARLY ARTICULATED IN THE POLICY

STATEMENT AND IN SUBSEQUENT STATEMENTS BY BOTH MYSELF AND MY

COLLEAGUE, THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE.

8

THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DOES NOT SUPPORT PROGRAMS WHICH

SANCTION THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS OR THE USE OF COERCION,

DEFINED BROADLY AS INCLUDING - AS WELL AS PHYSICAL COERCION - THE

USE OF ECONOMIC F IN E S SO LARGE THAT THEY RESULT IN GENUINE

HARDSHIP.

BUT I F COERCION IN FAMILY PLANNING I S ONE DANGER, DENIAL OF

FAMILY PLANNING I S ANOTHER DANGER. TO DENY PEOPLE ACCESS TO

EFFECTIVE FAMILY PLANNING INFORMATION AND SE R V IC E S, I S TO DENY

PEOPLE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES A BASIC RIG H T.

IN TH IS CONTEXT FAMILY PLANNING IS NOT ONLY A HUMAN RIGHT: IT IS

ONE OF THE MORE HUMANE RIGHTS OF C IV IL SO CIETY .

I COMMEND THE BRIEFING K IT TO MY COLLEAGUES AND TO THE AUSTRALIAN

COMMUNITY.

9