August 27, 1984 | Backgrounder on International Organizations
(Archived document, may contain errors)
376 August 27, 1984 THE UNITED NATIONS FLAWED POPULATION POLICY INTRODUCTION I The United Nations I second World Population Conference met I for more than a week earlier this month in Mexico City. Predict ably, it called for greatly expanded funding for family planning assistance worldwide. Activities (UNFPA the conferencels chief sponsor, will no doubt receive the largest portion of any assistance increase. those Americans concerned with the rate and size of world wide I population.growth, the conference results probably appear reassur- ing. is being done to contain the dimensions of the population explo- sion. I The United Nations Fund for Population For I The assumption seems widespread that at least ltsomethingll In the past two years, in fact, Congress has already increased significantly the family planning account in the Foreign Assistance Act. Under the Reagan Administration, spending has risen from slightly more than 200 million to about $250 million, with the House of Representatives having authorized more than $300 million for FY 19
85. It would appear that Congress has anticipated the U.N. Population Conference request for expanded government support for family planning.
For those who believe that the population explosion is among the most troublesome crises facing mankind, however, the results of the Mexican conference and the congressional action should not be reassuring. Quite the contrary. The Conference results revealed a lack of intellectual honesty by the participants particularly the family planning boosters. It is not that family planning programs per se are not worthy of support. But the suggestion that their expansion will bring the rate of population growth downward is without foundation I About $50 million of this would go to UNFPA 2 The U.N. Fund for Population Activities plays a critical role in population-related programs worldwide officially takes a neutral stance toward the population policies adopted by its member governments, it is widely assumed by members of Congress and the American taxpayers that the UNFPA was not created to increase the world's population growth but to contain it. Indeed, when members of Congress vote year after year to support these programs they almost certainly do so convinced that the UNFPA, and organizations such as the U.S. Agency for Inter- national Development and the World Bank are doing something about the problem In fact, what UNFPA does is not very effec tive While the UNFPA This is clear from the proceedings in Mexico City. It should be obvious that economic growth and enhanced economic opportunity, given sufficient natural resources and spurred by free economies, can provide sufficient improvements in per capita living standards so that family size preference drops, in some cases drops rapidly. It should also be obvious that people in the developing world want large numbers of children, usually four to six per couple. Drowning them in contraceptives, therefore will not suddenly change decades of cultural tradition but will only waste money. As such, the central debate on population policy should be over the extent and adequacy of the natural resources base and how countries can, humanely and voluntarily change family size preferences. Ignored by the Mexico City Conference was the success of Singapore and South Korea, and to a more limited degree, Sri Lanka and Thailand, in linking social and economic incentives and disincentives to the adoption of the small family norm. In Singapore and South Korea, birth rates that were moving slightly upward were reversed and dropped sharply within five to seven years to where the two-child family is within reach It is true that many couples in the developing world want contraceptive service programs, but it is also true that these same couples want families of four to six children. Congress appears to ignore this. This is what makes family planning policy seem so paradoxical. On the one hand, support for family planning rests on the correct assumption that many couples want to use contraceptive services. On the pther hand, until there is a major change in family size preferences, population growth rates will not significantly fall, even with massive increases in program funding.
While it may be true, as recent surveys and studies in some developing countries reveal, that many couples desire contraceptive services, they want these services to allow them to space or plan large families and to prevent childbearing after four to six children have been born. The reports of large percentages of women desiring to cease or better plan childbearing, but not now using contraceptive services, are widely interpreted to mean that a large number of "unwanted1' children are being born. But this is not necessarily so. The fact that women may want fewer children 3 does not mean that these sentiments. are not necessarily shared by their husbands, who, for reasons of tradition and culture, often make the decisions about childbearing.
The evidence is overwhelming that couples in the developing world prefer families of four to six children; they desire such numbers of surviving children whether or not family planning services are available. The fact that many countries have adopted family planning programs is therefore largely immaterial. The programs will be effective only when people want smaller families.
This will happen only when they see the benefits of smaller families. And this requires improved living conditions and a vision of the future that is more hopeful and less fatalistic.
Whether or not the natural resources base is sufficient for development in the Third World to proceed at the same pace as in the industrialized world, and whether or not the population explosion is a key obstacle to a more secure and free world, the question for policy makers is whether dramatically increased expenditure for family planning is sound policy for the United States In fact, family planning programs in the developing world illustrated by the countries examined below, are characterized by ineffectiveness, waste, bureaucracy, and misdirection. The UNFPA's own studies acknowledge the failures of programs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and elsewhere. It is time for an account ing of what the UNFPA does and whether it has had an impact. The American taxpayer no longer should be asked to support population policies that fail.
OVERVIEW The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA was established following the 1965 World Population Conference in Belgrade. The United States has been the largest donor to the UNFPA, providing as much as 85 percent of its support during the 197Os.l Currently, the U.S. provides about one-quarter of the agency's $150 million budget. Funding is divided by functions such as data collection, research, educational programs, and the delivery of contraceptives (family planning.)2 West Germany and Japan, the next two largest donors, have increased their contributions by 65 percent over the 1979-1982 period, compared to a 14 percent increase during the same period for the U.S. The U.S however, has contributed over $1.3 billion 1 "1979-1983 Report," The United Nations Fund for Population Activities New York. Ibid. in cumulative overall population assistance since 1965, compared to $63 million for West Germany and $78.6 million for Japan.3 UNFPA has grown from a small trust fund of the U.N. Secretary General to an organization with a yearly program budget in excess of $150 million respond to virtually any request for population assistance.
Although ostensibly established to help less developed nations contain the explosive rate of population growth, the UNFPA does not attempt to influence any country to adopt any particular approach to population policy about only when couples make a conscious choice to have fewer children, the UNFPA operates under the framework of the World Population Plan of Action. This emphasizes the right of all couples to have the number of children they de~ire precisely the underlying cause of the population explosion the UNFPA maintains strict neutrality with respect to the particu lar population policy a nation might adopt combat infertility as well as programs, ostensibly, to combat high fertility. Its policies are little different than those traditionally pursued by both the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The goal of UNFPA programs is simply to allow people Itof assisted countries to] have freedom to control their reproduction as they desire,Il5 which by and large they do in any case, irrespective of the U.N. confirming this freedom in over 140 different nations.6 Agencies, most of which have limited expertise on population matters and no organizational commitment to population activities.
As a result, a wide number of 'activities are funded,that have little to do with an overall population strategy. In addition UNFPA loses ultimate responsibility for implementation of many of its own programs. This in turn leads to the virtual absence of evaluative material on the objectives, accomplishments, and results of UNFPA projects.
UNFPA's help to over 30 nongovernmental organizations, such as the Population Council, the Population Action Council, the Popula tion Crisis Committee, and International Planned Parenthood Federation. This further diffuses UNFPAIs authority and control over projects and activities From the outset it has been UNFPA policy to Although recognizing that a decline in fertility will come Furthermore, It funds programs to The UNFPA has provided assistance to and is currently active It operates through other U.N Complicating matters even more is Ibid., and "1980 Report," The United Nations Fund for Population Activi ties, New York.
See resolution passed by the United Nations Conference on Population Bucharest, Romania, 1974, upon adoption of the United Nations Resolution on Population and Development.
Justin Blackwelder, Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, U.S. House of Representatives, March 31, 1977, p. 398 1980 Report op. cit., pp. 108-149 and p. 19. 6 5 Table 1 UNFPA ASSISTANCE IN 1980, BY EXECUTING AGENCY Dol la rs United Nations Regional Economic Commissions IL FA0 UNESCO WHO UNIDO UNICEF UNFPA NGOs 31.1 6.8 6.0 3.9 6:6 23.8 0.1 10.2 42.2 19.8 Total $150.5 Percent 20.7 4.6 4.0 2.6 4.4 15.8 6.8 28.0 13.1 100 o UNFPA POLICY FRAMEWORK Although the UNFPA boasts that only about 8 percent of its budget is spent on administrative ~verhead the true price is the serious lack of managerial staff in countries in which UNFPA funds family planning and population activities. As a result there is little review of program expenditures. In some countries, for example, there may be but a single professional UNFPA staff member for all the programs. And because UNFPA funds just about any project, even remotely related to population, there is very little incentive to determine whether the program is meeting any objective UNFPA does not advocate a reduction in population growth within any single country.8 Indeed, UNFPA supports programs that ensure that all couples are able to achieve their desired number and spacing of ~hi1dren.I According to the most recent studies the world's inhabitants are now producing approximately the number of children they desire This will double the world's population every 35 years.1 This means that UNFPA is simply helping to ensure that the world's current 4.9 billion people reach 10 billion, and from there to 20 billion. UNFPA aids Bangladesh, for example, not to bring the nation's birth rate down, but because Bangladesh itself provides only limited support to its population programs and policies Ibid. 6 UNFPA PROGRAM ACTIVITIES From the time of its inception, UNFPA has secured over a billion dollars in contributions. It now has about 100 donors supporting its more than 500 projects.
UNFPA's specific population and family planning programs are divided into functional areas, including basic data collection 19 percent of its funds the study of population change (11 percent), formulation of population policies (5 percent) and their implementation (1 percent support for family planning maternal child health programs (42 percent and educational and communication programs (12 percent). The remaining 10 percent goes for miscellaneous projects and programs.12 The UNFPA has designated 40 countries to receive population assistance on a priority basis considered particularly acute received 42 percent of all assistance.13 their population problems are These countries generally have During 1980 to 1983, UNFPA spent nearly $30 million annually on basic data collection, including population censuses, vital statistics collection, and demographic and population-related studies.
Basic population research, policy formulation, and implemen tation form the link between the collection of population data and its subsequent analysis and utilization. Over $26 million was expended in these areas in 1980, dropping to $21 million in 1983 the economic and social variables associated with fertility mortality, and migration research and training facilities within the developing world to increase the knowledge of the causes, consequences and determinants of population growth. Coupled with such research activities is population policy formulation, which generally involves assistance to national governments in adopting the necessary laws and legal instruments to establish a national family planning and maternal and child health program. Two additional areas are of concern for the UNFPA 1) insuring that population policies are inte grated into overall development activities; and (2) taking into account population factors when formulating national development plans This included demographic training and research concerning The aim of this project is to establish Much has been made of UNFPA efforts in this area. Although impressive at first glance, such assistance has resulted in population and family planning activities being buried in various ministries of health or education, primarily focused on maternal l2 "1980 Report op. cit p. 18 l3 Ibid p. 19. 7 and child health programs, child spacing, and reducing the inci dence of abortion. As a result, efforts to reduce desired family size and birth rates are abandoned tion factors means mentioning the subject in lengthy Ifdevelopment plans" and acknowledging that, as the population grows, the number of classrooms and teachers, for example, also needs to be increased. The idea that none of this makes any difference never seems to occur to the UNFPA. Both Pakistan and Bangladesh, for example, have had innumerable changes in ministry names and functions and long ago acknowledged population growth as a key development factor. Nevertheless, the birth rates in both coun tries have remained stationary for the past twenty years, while the population growth rates have increased tage of UNFPA funds, with $63 million allocated for these purposes in 1980, and $54 million allocated in 19
83. Programs to deliver modern means of contraception are almost universally integrated or folded into existing national strategies for the Ilreduction of maternal and infant morbidity and mortalityi1 (which will cause I the population to grow more rapidly). Thus, family planning I services are seen as programs that people and government want need, or request. The aim of the program administrators is to I see that modern contraceptives are llaccepted, accessible, and safe and effective,I1l4 regardless of whether people have four five, or six children It is thus paradoxical that the desire for large numbers of children, precisely the central cause of the population explosion which UNFPA is ostensibly trying to slow, is a desire that UNFPA encourages Taking into accountll'popula Family planning assistance receives the overwhelming percen Through radio, television, booklets, films, exhibitions, and training materials, UNFPA stresses the importance of using contra ceptives or family planning-but not of achieving the small family size norm. Thus the fact that requests keep increasing for UNFPA activities does not necessarily mean that birth rate levels will drop if the requests are honored.
A major accomplishment of UNFPA during 1981, according to its senior officials, was not success in bringing'birth rates down, but the convocation of an international family planning conference. The conference decided to expand the availability accessibility, and acceptabilityll of Ilfamily planning services and to sustain and increase" the national and international financial commitment to family planning programs In short, more money was to be committed to UNFPA, irrespective of program success. This message was recycled at this month's Mexico City conference 14 Ibid pp. 24-26 8 UNFPA COUNTRY PROGMS UNFPA projects in some of illustrate how the U.N. agency the largest less developed nations spends its assistance funds.
Nigeria Although the government of Nigeria apparently does not see population growth as a detriment to economic development or living standards, the UNFPA is providing $2 million to Nigeria for the period 1980-1984 (in addition to $3.7 million provided between 1971 and 1980 In fact, the Nigerian national develop ment plan places primary emphasis upon the reduction of maternal and child mortality, not birth rates.
UNFPA support largely has been limited to computer management to assist the government in the collection of population statistics and to conduct a national fertility survey, which will reveal that the average number of children per Nigerian couple is extreme ly high--something that most observers already know.
Despite no change in the extremely high Nigerian birth rate however, UNFPA claims that the family planning programs "continued to perform After visiting Nigeria in 1980, a UNFPA needs assessment missionll concluded that additional support was warranted for further expansion of family planning and maternal and child health activities.17 in no change in the national birth rate, why would an expanded UNFPA program be warranted?
If past UNFPA efforts have resulted UNFPA has provided $20 million to the Egyptian population programs. Nearly $3 million was awarded in 1978 for a population development program.18 Its goals include: (1) improving the family planning services offered in the country program, (2) ex panding efforts in education, motivation, and communication, and 3) raising the standard of living at the community level in the hope that this will encourage a smaller family size norm 15 16 17 18 It should be noted that numbers used here refer to direct UNFPA expendi tures by country through 1983 and do not include (1) funds channeled through an intermediary organization, such as the 1PP.F (International Planned Parenthood Federation) or UNESCO, and (2) funds spent for what are known as inter-regional programs, that is funds spent by various research organizations such as the Population Council or Population Crisis Committee. The funds spent in these regional and interregional programs over the last two years (1982 and 1983) have totaled approxi mately $70 million 1980 Report op. cit p. 40 Ibid., p. 41 Inventory of Population Projects in Developing Countries Around the World Population Programs and Projects, United Nations Fund for Popula tion Activities, pp. 122-123. 9 Though its population problem is recognized by Egypt's leadership as particularly serious, the actual implementation of population policy has not received much attention directed for considerable periods of time by individuals and organizations hostile to the policies of family planning and the need for population stabilization policies.
Two years ago, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak war,ned that the present rate of population increase'obstructs economic development and shatters our hopes for securing a prosperous life for every Egyptian." He added that, with the current population of 44 million projected to rise to 70 million by the year 2000 efforts to provide sufficient food, shelter, employment, health and education for all Egyptians will be crippled unless the population problem is contr01led.l It has been I During early 1980, it appeared that senior Egyptian popula tion policy officials were considering a program that would have awarded economic assistance to those villages with significant declines in birth rates.20 This, however, does not appear to have been implemented.
Population assistance to Egypt was started by UNFPA in 1971.
An initial four-year, $5.8 million program consisted of supplies of contraceptives, establishing new and upgrading existing family planning units, and a number of research and management activities.
In 1975, a UNFPA evaluation team visited Egypt to review family planning activities. Despite an increasing birth rate, a new agreement was established with Egypt in 1977, calling for about 10 million in additional assistance,21 with little if any change in program activities.
Mexico UNFPA assistance to Mexico was initiated in 1972 with a $1.4 million program. It was expanded in 1975 to $8,855,0
00. It funded medical services for maternal and child health and family planning programs, involving about 1,500 health centers, with the aim of assisting in a glanned, gradual expansion of such services into the rural areas.2 planning program with $6.3 million committed for an additional In 1979, UNFPA extended its support for the Mexican family l9 "Development Rates Must Match Population Growth Address by President Hosni Mibarak of Egypt, as reported in The Egyptian Gazette, February 14 19
82. D. 1. 2o Repoit-by Ambassador Marshall Green, Egyptian and Pakistan Mission February 9, 1981, pp. 5-6 Inventory of Population Projects in Developing Countries Around the World op. cit p. 121 22 m p. 122. 10 3+year period.23 of services to marginal rural and urban areas, including informa- tion, communication, and educational activities. Within a year UNFPA approved an additional package of assistance in the amount of $10.56 million for the next five years The emphasis of this program is on the extension Brazil The Brazilian government wants to maintain the current rates of population growth as part of an effort to settle the country's north and west regions. UNFPA activity in Brazil therefore has been limited to a demonstration project in Rio de Janeiro, offer ing maternal and child health, as well as family planning services to some of the marginal areas of the approved by the UNFPA in June of 1979, and consisted of $1.1 million in project support over a two-year period, with the Brazilian government contributing $1.4 million. (Overall, the UNFPA has spent but $2.7 million in this country of 120 million The project was Bangladesh Bangladesh has received $28.2 million in UNFPA assistance since 19
74. The U.N. agency has supported over 40 population and family planning projects of one kind or another. Programs have been renewed regularly, despite the overwhelming evidence demon strating that there has been no decline in the national birth rate.
UNFPA programs have included maternal and child health and family planning services, sterilization services in hospitals and health centers, and mobile sterilization teams to serve rural and remote areas. One project initiated in 1980 called for an assess ment of the demographic impact of the family planning delivery system; this should have been relatively easy since the national birth rate has remained unchanged for the past 20 years.
India UNFPA assistance to India began in 1974 with a five-year $40 million grant. By the following year, six family planning projects had become operational; by the middle o.f the year, other projects had been launched planning services and information and education programs within the country's national health care system and within the organized labor sector. Additional activities focused on .the local produc tion of contraceptives and the delivery of equipment and supplies Objectives have been to establish family By far, the greatest UNFPA effort between 1976 and 1979 was the direct support of family planning activities, including the 23 Ibid p. 270. 24 Ibid p. 271. 11 construction of over 800 rural family welfare planning centers the training of 5,000 new auxiliary nurse midwives and 1,250 new Lady Health Visitors, and the training of medical officers supervisors and other workers at both the state and local level for the Primary Health Centers Over $47 million was spent solely in training traditional birth attendants in I'sound mid wifery A total of $77 million has been spent by UNFPA over the past decade.
Pakistan UNFPA so far has spent $20 million in population assistance to Pakistan. These outlays purchased transport (such as boats jeeps, scooters, bicycles, and spare parts contraceptives medicines, and medical equipment; consultants and advisers; fel lowships and study tours; training, research, and evaluation ac tivities; clinical and basic medical research; maternity-centered family planning services; salary supplements for family planning and health field workers and salaries for 5,000 new field workers called lady motivators and lady welfare visitors.
UNFPA PROGRAM COMMENTARY From 1971 to 1982, the UNFPA spent nearly $230 million in The recipients are an extremely diverse the ten largest less developed nations, some of which are nations cited in this report group ranging from Catholic to Muslim, dictatorial to quasi- democratic, capitalistic to socialistic, 50 million population to over 700 million, and a few years to nearly three decades of ex perience with population programs and efforts. Despite this variety, the UNFPA programs in these countries are strikingly similar.
Contraceptive services are made available through clinics teams of midwives, bureaucrats and motivators are hired to encour age people to use contraceptives, and depots and vehicles are provided to store contraceptives and disburse them through the community. These programs change very little from year to year despite the noticeable lack of progress in such countries as Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, and India.
In Brazil meanwhile, UNFPA ignores what has been happening as the national birth rate has been dropping from 40 to 32 per thousand without government supported family planning (services were available largely through commercial outlets the U.S. AID programs of the past 20 years. From 1965 to 1977 for example, AID was dominated by the It contraceptive inundationt1 theory of population limitation. Family planning enthusiasts chagrined at the noticeable lack of progress in reducing birth rates, decided on a novel approach. Their most noted advocate R.T. Rayenholt, the former director of AID'S Population Office, argued that inundating the developing world with condoms, pills and IUDs would result in everyone using the devices The pattern of UNFPA programs is not surprising; they mirror 12 AID launched such a program in Pakistan in 19
76. Condoms were produced in red, white, and blue in celebration of the U.S bicentennial Try a new experience1' was emblazoned on them.
AID supplies of contraceptives sent to developing countries were often doubled, even if existing supplies were not being utilized.
This was described as Ilprogramming for success It UNFPA policies are simply the legacy of this inundation philosophy.
Despite the failure of UNFPA programs to significantly affect birth rates in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, India Egypt, and Mexico, UNFPA continues to support programs that differ little from the failed policies of the early 1970s. Even after detailed assessments in the late 1970s of Bangladesh India, and the Philippines, UNFPA program support continued un changed despite evidence that project management, implementation and formulation were seriously deficient In addition, the June 1979 recommendation in the Indonesian program assessment that community incentive policies be adopted to spur fertility decline was not followed up by UNFPA. Similarly the Bangladesh assessment of September 1978 notes that community participation in incentive programs was critical for program suc cess. However, the UNFPA simply continued its previous contra ceptive distribution schemes without an assessment of whether sufficient demand existed for their utilization.
Although the impact of population growth on economic develop ment has been established for decades, additional millions have been spent on research on the l'interrelationships between develop ment and popu1ation.I' Despite the obvious connection between a rapidly increasing population and major increase in a nation's labor force, scarce resources are spent demonstrating this rela tionship over and over again of the National Family Planning Communication,I' begun in 1977 was to be Itstrengthenedit again, just two years after being estab lished. And communication programs, designed to complement and assist the family planning service aspects of population policy are being shifted to focus "real support to such programs, I' rais ing the question of what it was these communication programs were doing in the first place.25 One program entitled IIStrengthening UNFPA recommendations and policy objectives often appear to be couched in equivocations and meaningless generalities was a key recommendation following a 1979 assessment of the Indonesian population program 26 Complementary action should also be taken to train and direct the attention of anthropologists/rural sociolo gists in concerned institutions and the social science Typical 25 "Inventory of Population Projects in Developing Countries Around the World 1979-1980 op. cit pp. 340-343 26 m pp. 414-417 13 research training centers to the potential use of micro study data for communication planning and strategy development to the quantitative information needs of the population/family planning communication program and to the consequent new training and research direc tions to be developed by the institutions concerned.
Such assessments indicate that UNFPA program administrators are far removed from the serious population problems facing developing nations and generally oblivious to the new directions in which population policies should move. UNFPA staffers apparently believe that they have made an important decision regarding communication activities when they change projects using film to ones which use synchronized slide-sound systems or transparencies. Such policy and program recommendations are the rule rather than the exception CONCLUSION UNFPA Executive Director, Rafael Salas, concedes that family planning programs do not succeed tries in which birth rates declined modestly between 1960 and 1980 UNFPA acknowledges that the Itfamily planning programs have merely reinforced an already existing trend toward fertility decline."
Further, UNFPA questions why Ifcouples in developing countries are not taking full advantage of the [contraceptive] services offered" and provides the right answer prevailing are the legacy of a long cultural tradition which has encouraged large-sized families. However, we have tended to assume that couples who want large families are behaving in an irrational fashion, in fact, they merely do not share our values regarding family size.Il Even in those Third World cpun The high levels of fertility And in a remarkable display of candor, UNFPA declares, again correctly, that Ilpopulation policies are too often confused with family planning,Il explaining that "It is important that we not look at family planning programs as the panacea to the world's population problems. While family planning programs will help couples to have the number of children they wish, other economic and social factors lie behind their ideas of desired family size." In another statement, UNFPA concludes It has been clear for a long time that family planning campaigns are largely ineffectual in producing a lower rate of population growth been operating for more than a decade in most of the countries surveyed in this report programs do not control population growth, UNFPA appears unwilling UNFPA population and family planning service programs have Despite growing evidence that these 27 Ibid p 415. to change policy or to move in new directions the meager impact of UNFPA population programs:28 The data illustrate Country Bangladesh Brazil Egypt India Indonesia Mexico Nigeria Pakistan Philippines UNFPA Program Start 1974 1977 1971 1974 1972 1972 1975 1970 1972 Table 2 Year(s 1974 1980-1981 1977 1980-1981 197 1 1980-1981 1974 1980-1981 1972 1980-1981 1972 1980-1981 1975 1980-1981 1970 1980-1981 1972 1980-1981 Births per 1000 46 46 32 31 38 42-43 38 37-38 41-42 35-38 43 38-41 49 49 45 45 41 36 Growth Rate percent 2.6 2.8 2.4 2.3 2.3 3.0 1 2.2 2.3 2.1-2.3 2.3 I 3.6 3.5 2.7 3.2 2.7 I 2.9 2.7 2.7 c Growth rate figures used in this table refer to rates.of natural increase and exclude emigration figures. Birth rate figures refer to benchmark data or rates calculated from comparisons of rates of natural increase with estimated death rates As Table 2 illustrates, UNFPA family planning assistance programs appear to have had little impact on the. birth rate levels in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, Brazil, and Nigeria 28 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce World Population Reports in 1975"--1977--1979 and--1981; and "Demographic Estimates of Countries With a Population of 10 Million or More the Census, Department of Commerce. See also "Country Demographic Profiles Mexico, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and Bangladesh U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce 1981 U.S. Bureau of 15 As far. as Mexico, Indonesia, and the Philippines are concerned birth rates there appear to have declined during UNFPA program activities. However, birth rate declines prior to family planning program initiatives b UNFPA appear to have generally matched subsequent declines 2r Table 3 Country Mexico Indonesia Philippines UNFPA Program Date 1972 1972 1972 Birth Rate History 1972-1980 1964-1972 43-38 49-43 5 pt. drop 6 pt. drop 4011-3518 46-40/1 2-6 pt. drop 5-6 pt. drop 41-36 47-41 5 pt. drop 6 pt. drop In the case of Mexico, for example, a drop of 5 points in the national birth rate between 1972 and 1980 appears to have been matched by the drop in the national birth rate in the eight years prior to the initiation of UNFPA family planning programs. In Indonesia and the Philippines, the birth rate appears to have decreased prior to the initiation of UNFPA family planning programs at a rate equal to or greater than those rates of decline subse quent to program establishment (over the same period of time I 29 The Census Bureau, from which these data are taken, generally projects birth rate estimates on the assumption that trends generally are moving downward. This report prefers to rely upon benchmark data contained in the Census Bureau reports and publications, as they are usually based upon actual data rather than optimistic assessments of what might be hap pening. Where a range of estimates has been given by the U.S. Census Bureau, the midpoint has been used, e.g., in the case of Bangladesh, the birth rate estimates range from 44-48 per .1000 100 as the midpoint between these two estimates. Where birth rate esti mates were unavailable for a particular year, an estimate was used that was roughly midway between available estimates before and after a par ticular year The table uses 46 per Of particular importance are recent census results from such coun tries as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which have revealed popu lation totals significantly higher than-previous estimates had assumed would be the case. For example, the Indonesian 1980 Census revealed that the Indonesian population had grown by 28.2 million between 1971 (the year of the last census) and 1980, with a corresponding average growth rate of well in excess of 2 percent a year between 1975-1980, despite optimistic projections that showed a decline to below 2 percent 16 The desired family size in nine of the ten countries in Table 4 exceeds four children. As a result, should family plan ning programs be 100 percent successful, and eliminate all unwanted child bearing, the populations of each of these nations would double each generation. The story is similar for other nations.
Between 1970 and 1983, for example, according to AID testimony before House Appropriations Committee during the hearing on the l?Y 1984 Foreign Assistance Act, the birth rates of twelve African Asian, and Latin American countries increased even though the governments supported family programs. In an additional nine nations receiving U.S. family planning assistance, birth rates remained unchanged.
More important, however, the world's annual average rate of population growth between 1980 and 1983 was 1.8 percent annually up from 1.7 percent during the previous decade. world, excluding Mainland China, population growth rates remained at 2.4 percent annually between 1960 and 1977, during which time family planning programs greatly expanded. Since then, despite the increased expenditures for family planning, Third World population growth rates may have increased to the 2.5 to 2.6 percent level, the first such increase in nearly 25 years has remained unchanged in the great majority of Third World countries:30 In the developing Of great significance, however, is that desired family size Table 4 Desired Number of Children Per Couple 1960- 1965 1975- 1980 Indonesia Thai land Phi 1 ipp ine s India Pakistan Brazil Egypt Nigeria Mexico Bangladesh 4.3 3.7 5.0 4.1 4.0 4.0 (est 4.0 (est 4.5 (est 3.5 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.2 4.4 4.0 (est 6.0 4.5 (est 4.1 3.8 Population assistance programs in most areas of the develop ing world are limited in scope and effectiveness, for they are primarily family planning programs. Family planning programs can succeed if desired family size norms substantially and significant ly change from the
A more realistic assessment of family planning programs is provided by Paul Demeny, Vice President of the Population Council who notes that those family planning programs firmly established in such countries as Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia, for example are more Ita reflection of underlying fertility determinants" than an explanation of the fertility changes in these countries.31 Because of the widespread pervasiveness of this faith in family planning, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities is a prisoner of population policies that cannot work. The organization could be particularly effective if it would lead nations in the direction of encouraging the small family norm. Unfortunately, the process of moving toward population stabiliza tion is viewed by the UNFPA and its member governments as the inevitable result of the right amount of modern contraceptive delivery and family planning programs, without the necessity of conscious policy decisions toward establishment of the small family norm goal is to encourage those market economic policies that trigger One way of moving toward this norm, of course I growth and a rising standard of living. I I i To narrow substantially the economic gulf separating the rich from the poor nations, a Ildecisive decline1' in fertility over the next two decades is imperative.32 of new and creative population policies, the existing conditions of poverty, environmental deterioration, and resource scarcities will worsen, and with them, the lives of hundreds of millions of people. However, should incentives for small families be imple mented, if coupled with decisions to spur free and open economies mankind may be able to harness the intellectual genius of the Without the initiation I human mind-and insure progress for a more family rather than a menial existence for numbers.
Prepared Peter R moderately sized human infinitely expanding for The Heritage Foundation by Huessy 31 32 Paul Demeny, "On the End of the Population Explosion," The Center for Policy Studies, The Population Council, No. 39, March 1979, p. 32 Ibid., pp. 3-4, 12, 32, 33 Peter R. Huessy is President of PRHCO, a firm specializing in government relations, natural resource economics, and national security studies. He re cently concluded a four year population study, on which this study is based.