The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994 and involving 179 nations established that increased women’s responsibility and education would assist in the reduction of fertility rates. The International Conference pointed out that there is an inextricable relationship between population and education, and that if women are empowered, and their need for education and health are met, there would be both personal progress and balanced advancement necessary for reducing fertility. Furthermore, by increasing women’s responsibility and education, there would be a considerable reduction in cases of violence against women, advancement in gender parity, and give women more authority over their own fertility. By gearing toward providing universal education to women, therefore, the International Conference hoped it would concurrently reduce infant, child, and maternal mortality by guaranteeing women’s access to procreative healthcare by the end of 2015.
While the main objectives of the International Conference centred on the provision of global education with the hope of ensuring a decline in the rates of infant, child, and maternal mortalities, the sub-issues dealt with the need to pay more attention to the rights and needs of individuals instead of just focussing all resources in the attainment of demographic objectives (Dris & Jain, 2004). Similarly, the other sub-issues related to the need to reduce or eliminate the gap between more advanced and less advanced nations about life expectancy, pointing out the necessity of increasing life expectancy to at least seventy-five years or more.
From a pro-growth viewpoint, a rapid growth of the world population is a desirable outcome as it has a positive bearing on the development of the economy by increasing demand for goods and services. Also, the occupation of different territories by an expanding population offers protection to those parts by discouraging occupation by external and neighbouring forces or nations. Lastly, supporters of pro-growth position indicate that population growth reinforces military and political authority.
On the other hand, those who support the use of birth control reiterate that the unmonitored growth of a population is solely responsible for increasing levels of abject poverty, diseases, environmental degradation, in addition to several other social challenges. They point to the necessity of using coercion to control undesirable population increases in light of the desperation of the situation. Also, they hold that the use of population programs, even though commendable, do not entirely address the emergency and lack the capability to deal urgently with the worsening situation.
The position of most Western countries is that even though there is great demand for fertility control in all nations, such a demand is yet to be met. Consequently, these countries are the biggest campaigners for the use of birth controls to regulate population growth, and they advocate for the unlimited provision of modern fertility control to willing communities. Being ardent supporters of birth control, they assert that population service programs fail to meet their objectives because of the inadequacy of birth control methods. Therefore, modern technologies need to catch up with current trends (Dris & Jain, 2004). On the other hand, non-western and developing nations’ viewpoints are quite similar as they view the use of birth controls a taboo and instead, view having more children a blessing.
Rates of fertility in the world are calculated by taking measurements in several countries throughout the world and finding their average, which is consistent with the characteristics of statistics. Nevertheless, for fertility rates to have a significant impact on the population of the world, the word fertility rates have to take into consideration the rates of breeding of fertile women within a population. A side-by-side model would allow for the comparison of world fertility rates, current rates of fertility and the rate of population growth.
The difficulty in applying carrying capacity to human populations is informed by the fact that unlike other organisms, whose movement are constrained by their food resources, human beings can change their environment. Because humans can use fertilizers to increase food harvests, they can move from one country to another (United Nations, 2000). For organisms, especially those living in the wild, they experience a slight drop back and increased occasions of disease transmission if they reach their carrying capacity, which is not the case with human beings. Similarly, the possibilities of contracting infectious diseases are limited by the availability of health care.
Contrary to the misconception that the production of food has to increase in accordance with population growth, statistics show that the availability of food determines the growth rate of human population. Therefore, an increase in human population is always prompted by increased food production. Consequently, addressing the universal problem of rapid population growth requires an understanding of the nexus between increased food production and increases in population sizes.
By 2025, it is expected that the word population will increase from the current 7.2 billion to about 8.1 billion. In 2050 and 2100, it is expected to have reached 9.6 billion and 10.9 billion, respectively, mainly due to the reduced fertility in nations with large families and increased fertility in many nations with an average of two children (Stein, 2015). Least developed countries are characterized by large young cohorts with children below the fifteen years representing twenty-seven percent of the population and youths between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four making up another seventeen percent. The large and escalating numbers of kids and youths, currently at a combined 2.8 billion, poses serious educational, medical, and economic challenges for LDCs. There is a lot of persistency in the circumstances in the LDCs as twenty percent of the entire population is made up of people between the age of fifteen and forty. Compared to developed nations, children and youths make up sixteen and twelve percent of the population, respectively.
One similarity between developed and least developed nations, however, is that they are both characterized by a high concentration of people in the employment age of between twenty-five and fifty-nine years. The figures, respectively, are 608 million and 2.6 billion. Nevertheless, while the number peaked in more advanced nations in 2013 and are currently on a decline, in LDCs those numbers are always burgeoning (Stein, 2015). Consequently, the number of people in the working bracket is expected to increase by more than four hundred million over the consequent ten years.
The increasing population growth implies critical resources such as land and water will be greatly limited, thereby reducing access to resources required to meet the primary needs of a population. In the future attempts to increase food production will be hindered by the massive relocation of persons from rural to urban regions and unequal distribution of land, which, ultimately will deepen levels of poverty and accelerate land degradation (Stein, 2015). Considering that world population is increasing at the rate of nearly two hundred and fifty thousand people a day, there is the need to urgently meet food requirements. While currently, about four hundred people are chronically malnourished, this number is expected to increase to affect the more than eleven million children below the age of five dying annually from famine. Therefore, the rapid population growth, if not controlled, will cause land fragmentation and subsequently negatively affect the production of food.