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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.

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Preparing for growing numbers of urban residents

Cities are currently home to more than half of the world’s population, and all of the 1.1 billion increase in global population over the next 15 years is expected to occur in urban areas. All regions, with the exception of Europe, are projected to record increases in the sizes of their urban populations of at least 15 per cent. Africa and Asia are projected to have the largest increases in the sizes of their urban populations (see table 4). Further, the number and size of the world’s largest cities are unprecedented. At the beginning of the twentieth century, only 16 cities contained 1 million people or more. Today, there are over 500 such cities and many of the most rapidly growing cities are located in countries least able to keep up with the demand for housing and basic services. Megacities, defined as urban agglomerations of 10 million inhabitants or more, have also become both more numerous and considerably larger in size. In 2015, 6.4 per cent of the world’s population resides in megacities. By 2030 that proportion is expected to increase to 8.7 per cent.

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