The world needs a 21st century population policy paradigm

Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
William Butz, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

The helplessness of conventional population policy paradigms to deal with 21st century demographic challenges was bluntly manifest at a recent 20-year review conference of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) for Europe and North America. All these countries are in the process of rapid population ageing, and except for those with significant migration gains many face the prospect of population shrinking. Meanwhile, governments of high fertility countries continue to struggle with the consequences of rapid population growth. The ICPD Programme of Action did away with “quantitative demographic targets” but did not set any new meaningful aggregate level objective. Based on an accumulating body of scientific evidence we suggest a priority focus on human capital development, beginning with and concentrating on education, to become a new global population and development policy paradigm, equally valid for all societies around the world.

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Presented in Session 36: Linking policy and demographic trends: European and international perspectives