- Lead-organizer: The Royal Society
- 13:30 - 15:00
- Date: 13 Jun 2012
- Room: T-4
People and the planet: population, consumption and the environment
Organizing partnersLead organisation: The Royal Society (the UK's national academy of science)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
IntroductionThe event will focus on the linkages between population, consumption and the environment. It will demonstrate the importance of considering both demographic variables and consumption patterns if sustainable development goals are to be achieved. Rapid and widespread changes in the world?s population, coupled with unprecedented levels of consumption present profound challenges to human health and wellbeing, and to the natural environment. The combination of these factors is likely to have long-lasting consequences for our finite planet. Presentations will focus on global and regional population dynamics, global and regional trends in the consumption of natural resources and how the combination of these two factors is bringing us closer to environmental limits. Ways forward for sustainable development will then be offered. Speakers will include Nobel Laureate Sir John Sulston FRS, Dr Eliya Zulu, African Institute for Development Policy, a representative from UNFPA and Professor Suzana Cavenaghi, Latin America Population Association.
Detailed programmeThe event will focus on how demographic change and increasing levels of material consumption have implications for sustainable development.
The 21st century is a critical period for people and the planet. The global population reached 7 billion some time during 2011 and the United Nations projections indicate that it will reach between 8 and 11 billion by 2050. Not only the global population size is changing, but there are also changes in age-structure, density (especially the increase in the number of people living in urban areas), and distribution as affected by migration. These changes are taking place at different rates in the different regions of the world, presenting both opportunities and challenges.
Human impact on the Earth raises serious concerns and in the richest parts of the world per capita material consumption is far above the level that can be sustained for everyone in a population of 7 billion or more, while 1.3 billion people are still living in extreme poverty.
Despite recognition of the linkages between population and consumption by the international community on several occasions, for example in Principle 8 of the Rio declaration in 1992, and in the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action in 1994, these links have been absent from recent discussions around sustainable development.
This event will include presentations from leading experts working in these areas, including Nobel Laureate Sir John Sulston FRS, Chair of the Royal Society?s ?People and the Planet? policy report, Dr Eliya Zulu, Executive Director, African Institute for Development Policy, Professor Suzana Cavenaghi, Council member and ex-President of the Latin America Population Association, Brazil, and a representative from UNFPA.
The event will provide an overview of global demographic diversity and unequal consumption. It will describe the linkages between population, consumption and the environment. It will offer potential ways forward for sustainable development, and feed in ideas for the post-MDG framework and proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
Speakers will cover a number of areas relevant to the Rio+20 conference agenda, including sustainable consumption, a green economy, natural capital accounting, comprehensive wealth measures, planetary boundaries, human wellbeing, the need for universal primary and secondary education and how science and technology can contribute to sustainable development.