C. Population and environment

Basis for action

3.23. At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the international community agreed on objectives and actions aimed at integrating environment and development which were included in Agenda 21, other Conference outcomes and other international environmental agreements. Agenda 21 has been conceived as a response to the major environment and development challenges, including the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, such as poverty, consumption, demographic dynamics, human health and human settlement, and to a broad range of environmental and natural resource concerns. Agenda 21 leaves to the International Conference on Population and Development further consideration of the interrelationships between population and the environment.

3.24. Meeting the basic human needs of growing populations is dependent on a healthy environment. These human dimensions need to be given attention in developing comprehensive policies for sustainable development in the context of population growth.

3.25. Demographic factors, combined with poverty and lack of access to resources in some areas, and excessive consumption and wasteful production patterns in others, cause or exacerbate problems of environmental degradation and resource depletion and thus inhibit sustainable development.

3.26. Pressure on the environment may result from rapid population growth, distribution and migration, especially in ecologically vulnerable ecosystems. Urbanization and policies that do not recognize the need for rural development also create environmental problems.

3.27. Implementation of effective population policies in the context of sustainable development, including reproductive health and family-planning programmes, require new forms of participation by various actors at all levels in the policy-making process.

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