For Immediate Release
Evidence Links Family Planning with Improved Environmental Outcomes
WASHINGTON - A collaborative international assessment of hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers published since 2005 finds significant, albeit indirect, evidence that access to voluntary family planning can contribute to an environmentally sustainable world (fpesa.net).
- Major reductions in unintended pregnancies---- now accounting for two out of five pregnancies worldwide---- would lower birth rates in high-consuming and low-consuming countries alike.
- Achieving a low trajectory of world population growth could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the first half of the 21stcentury to an extent comparable to eliminating all deforestation.
- Greater use of family planning would facilitate more participation by women in economic activity and in civil society, which could improve environmental outcomes locally and globally.
Through collaborative evaluation of 939 papers, identified through expert interviews and database searches, the FPESA project collectively ranked 112 papers as "certainly relevant" to the hypothesis that family planning benefits the environment, with another 302 ranked as "probably relevant." (Relevant papers might either support or undermine the hypothesis.) The bulk of the "certainly relevant" papers lend support to the hypothesis, with a few papers somewhat undermining it but none directly countering it. A conceptual framework guiding the evaluation included both slower population growth and the empowerment of women as pathways through which family planning might contribute positively to environmental sustainability.
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The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization recognized by opinion leaders around the world for its accessible, fact-based analysis of critical global issues. Its mission is to generate and promote insights and ideas that empower decision makers to build an ecologically sustainable society that meets human needs.