Vol 17, No 4, December 2002
Article Abstracts (pdf format 16 KB)
- Population and Poverty: Challenges for Asia and the Pacific (pdf format 24 KB)
By Thoraya A.Obaid
Reducing poverty, HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality and ensuring environmental sustainability are key millennium development goals. However, these goals will not be achieved by 2015 unless the highest priority is given to implementing the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the key actions agreed at its five-year review.
The first paper of this special issue of the Asia-Pacific Population Journal reflects the United Nations Population Fund's unequalled commitment to the field of population in the Asian and Pacific region. It gives a clear picture of possible future trends and of the needs derived from ongoing changes in population issues, especially as they relate to poverty and the millennium development goals.
- Half a Century of Unparalleled Demographic Change: the Asia-Pacific Experience (pdf format 71 KB)
By K.S. Seetharam
The past 50 years have witnessed unparalleled demographic changes occurring in the Asian and Pacific region. The paper highlights these crucial changes and discusses their underlying determinants.
It looks at the future prospects and underscores some of the challenges that lie ahead. The paper concludes that the next 50 years will witness significant shifts in population age structure and increased migration. It also suggests that these changes will have an impact on development and on the well-being of the people, and hence need to be considered as an integral part of policy and planning.
The paper draws upon the work carried out by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the articles published in its Asia-Pacific Population Journal, in particular the December 1999 issue.
- Population and Poverty: Some Perspectives on Asia and the Pacific (pdf format 89 KB)
By Stan Bernstein
The international community has committed itself to an ambitious programme of social development for the opening decades of the twenty-first century. Attacking poverty directly as a matter of human rights, to accelerate development and to reduce inequality within and among countries has become an urgent global priority. This article gives a review of the diverse population trends in the region and examines the various linkages between population and poverty.
The paper also looks into the emerging population trends and their implications for poverty, such as population ageing and the HIV/AlDS epidemic, and underscores some persisting disparities in areas such as infant mortality, reproductive health, fertility and wealth. The paper concludes by presenting a chart outlining some important priorities for population and reproductive health interventions with general applicability to all anti-poverty interventions.
- Poverty and Mortality in the Context of Economic Growth and Urbanization (pdf format 56 KB)
By John C. Caldwell and Bruce K. Caldwell
Asia has, over the course of several decades, experienced massive economic growth, and accompanying rapid urbanization. The economic growth has made possible a mortality revolution. The very poorest countries are not able to afford minimally protective curative health services across the entire population. Only the very richest countries have the resources to achieve very long life expectancy close to or beyond 80 years. But between these extremes, life expectancy can be raised to at least 70 years by comprehensive educational, public health and curative systems accessible even to the poor.
One part of the population that has been neglected is the urban poor, an increasingly serious omission because soon most of the region's population will be urban. The market-based health services of the cities do not cater for the needs of the very poor. The situation is especially difficult for the very poorest, the rural-urban migrants living in ''squatter'' areas, who are discriminated against by being denied basic urban services.
Dhaka provides a good example of all these problems, being a huge and rapidly growing metropolis in Asia's most health-challenged region.
The way to the future is in the long-term economic growth. In the medium term, it is to move towards education for all with nearly all children progressing into secondary education. But it is the short term that should immediately concern us, with the strongest focus being on the poorest of the poor.
The complex and ambivalent relationships between migration and poverty are outlined. Although, generally, there has been a reduction in poverty and an increase m migration in many parts of the Asian region, it would be unwise to draw any simple conclusion that migration leads to poverty reduction. Cases of migration leading to an increase in poverty, as well as poverty leading to migration, are described. Nevertheless, the powerful role that migration, both internal and international, can play in the alleviation of poverty remains largely unappreciated. Migration allows people to widen their access to resources. Brain gains, as well as brain drains, need to be considered. The role of remittances is examined, as well as the part that migration may play in increasing inequalities. The poorest often do not move. Migration is a critical dimension of development and policy makers need to incorporate the mobility of populations m programmes of poverty eradication. Attempts to restrict migration are likely to be counterproductive and will exacerbate rather than reduce poverty.
In the last three decades, almost all countries in the ESCAP region have made noteworthy progress in improving women's overall status, and particularly their health and education indicators. This paper outlines the achievements or improvements made in access to basic health and education status of women m four countries of the Indian subcontinent: Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
The factors that constrain progress m achieving the goals set by major conferences such as the International Conference on Population and Development, held m Cairo in 1994, as well as by the countries themselves, are also discussed. The measures needed to reach the goals to improve the health and education status of women in these countries are outlined in a subsequent section. Unequal access to development associated with poverty is a cross-cutting theme throughout the paper.
The reproductive health of adolescent is of growing concern today. The Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, placed great emphasis on the problems and needs of adolescents. However, until recently, the reproductive health needs of adolescents as a group were largely ignored by the existing reproductive health services.
Of the world's 6.1 billion people in 2000, over I billion people (19.1 per cent) belonged to the age group 10-19. The global population in the age group 15-19, referred to in the paper as adolescents, comprises 554 million, of whom 48.5 per cent are females. Over three fifths of these adolescents live in the Asian region.
This paper presents the demographic dimensions of the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in Asia. Two distinct demographic trends coexist in the region, both of which have important implications for the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents: firstly, the widening gap between sexual maturity and age at marriage and secondly, the continuing prevalence of adolescent marriage and the low use of contraceptives during adolescence.
The paper then discusses adolescent sexual behaviour in Asia, including factors that heighten risk, such as inadequate access to sufficient and correct information, inadequate access to youth-friendly health services, peer pressure and the erosion of the role of the family and economic constraints. The paper highlights the prevalence of adolescent childbearing in the region and its consequences for the health of mothers and children, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.