Integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post-2015 development agenda

image of Integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post-2015 development agenda
In its decision 2013/101, the Commission on Population and Development decided that the special theme for its forty-eighth session would be “Realizing the future we want: integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post-2015 development agenda”. The present report is one of three reports that have been produced to guide the Commission’s deliberations. The central challenge in designing the post-2015 development agenda is to ensure that efforts to improve the quality of life of the present generation are far-reaching, broad and inclusive but do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Accomplishing this goal hinges on the ability of the international community to ensure access to resources for growing numbers of people, eradicate poverty, move away from unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and safeguard the environment. In designing and implementing the new development agenda it is important to understand and account for the demographic changes that are likely to unfold over the next 15 years. While much remains unknown about the rate of transformation of the global economy or the speed at which technological advancements will be needed to improve efficiency and reduce humanity’s environmental footprint, the speed and direction of population change, at least in the near future, is far more predictable. The report focuses on the demographic changes that are projected to occur over the next 15 years and discusses what they imply for efforts to achieve sustainable development.



Preparing for larger numbers of older persons

Patterns of declining mortality and fertility over the past two decades have led to significant shifts in the age structure of the world’s population, so that persons aged 60 or over are now the world’s fastest growing age group. While the population ageing process is most advanced in countries of Europe and North America, where 1 of every 5 people is aged 60 or over according to figures for 2015, a rapid growth in the number of older persons is expected over the next 15 years across all major income groups and areas of the world (see figure XI), raising questions about the well-being of older persons with regard to their economic security in old age, their health, their level of informal and formal support networks and the protection of their rights. No reference was made to the needs of older persons in the United Nations Millennium Declaration (General Assembly resolution 55/2), which was signed in 2000 when persons aged 60 or over comprised 10 per cent of the world’s population. However, concerns about population ageing can be expected to grow over the next 15 years, given that by 2030, 16 per cent of people worldwide will be aged 60 or older.


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