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

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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.

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Introduction

Significant progress has been made over the past 20 years in combating global poverty and addressing other internationally agreed development goals, such as improving gender equality, lowering child mortality, raising educational attainment and improving sanitation and access to clean drinking water. However, progress has been uneven within and across countries and regions and the benefits of social and economic progress have not been shared equally. At the same time, there is growing evidence that population growth, combined with economic development, rising standards of living and a higher level of consumption has resulted in changing patterns of land use, increased energy use and the depletion of natural resources, with signs of climate change and environmental degradation more visible than ever before.

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