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 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 06/99: World population  
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World population Tuesday, 29 June, 1999, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
West accused of 'woeful' family planning effort
Nafis Sadik
Dr Nafis Sadik wants more support from Western countries
World Population
The West has been criticised for providing a 'woeful' shortage of international funds to stem population growth.

Dr Nafis Sadik, the director of the United Nations Population Fund, told readers and listeners of BBC Talking Point On Air that the West was falling far short of the support it promised.

"The lack of international resources is critical," she said.

She called for the international community to donate funds to the International Conference on Population and Development in New York this week.


Click here to read and listen to highlights from BBC Talking Point's global phone-in programme on world population.
Developing countries had tried to implement the plan to stabilise population growth as recommended at the last population conference in Cairo in 1994, said Dr Sadik.

But the target spend of $17bn on family planning by the year 2000 was nowhere near reality.

"We are woefully short of that," she said.

While developing countries have contributed $6.5bn out of a target of $11.3bn, developed nations stumped up only $2bn out of $5.7bn.

Geri Halliwell
UN Goodwill Ambassador for the UNPFA, Geri Halliwell, has tried to make the campaign high-profile in the West
The main battle in population control was the cultural and social environment that prevented women from making decisions about their own lives, and having access to contraception, she said.

"To ensure their access, programmes have to be directed at men and leaders, who are mostly men," she said.

"They have to change their attitudes and allow women to have more control over decisions."

Listeners' concern

Many of those who contacted Talking Point were concerned about rapid population growth.

women in Pakistan
Women are not allowed to make decisions about their own lives, said Nafis Sadik
"We in Pakistan are facing disastrous problems," said Hamad Ali Mansoor. "The government is spending less on essential resources such as water than it should be due to the growing population. Even the upper classes are suffering."

Mark Williams in Hong Kong said: "Living out here you tend to see the poverty and environmental destruction that is being caused by the rapid rate of population growth in East and South-east Asia."

But others criticised what they saw as a narrow outlook.

"What threatens world stability is not overpopulation but unequal distribution of resources," said Safari M Sanka, of Tanzania but living in The Netherlands.

"There is not a world population problem, there is a world greed problem," said Mark, from England.

"When you consider that between them the UK and the USA consume more food then the entire 'third world' put together, it's easy to see what the problem is," he said.

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