State of World Population 2009

Facing a Changing World - Women, Population and Climate

image of State of World Population 2009

The whole world has been talking about carbon credits, carbon trading and emissions targets. But not enough has been said about the people whose activities contribute to those emissions or about those who will be most affected by climate change, especially women. How do population dynamics affect greenhouse gases and climate change? Will urbanization and an ageing population help or hinder efforts to adapt to a warming world? And could better reproductive health care and improved relations between women and men make a difference in the fight against climate change? The linkages between population and climate change are in most cases complex and indirect. But the nature of these linkages is becoming clear enough to arrive at the key recommendations of this report for mitigating climate change and aiding adaptation to it: elicit a new level of engagement by Governments in the areas of population and development, provide access to reproductive health and actively support gender equality.

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On the move

The environment has always shaped the movement of people and the distribution of the human population across the planet. Throughout history, people have left places with harsh or deteriorating conditions, and nomadic peoples have traditionally opted for seasonal migration to maintain their livelihoods in sensitive ecosystems. The droughts between 1930 and 1936 in the American “Dust Bowl” displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and the droughts that struck Africa’s Sahelian region in the 1970s forced millions of farmers and nomads towards cities.

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