Result of Past Conferences
Purpose of Zurich Population Summit
To hold the Conference of Cooperation between Rotary International and the United Nations Population Fund regarding World Population Growth and Sustainable Development Concerns.
This conference is considered to have been a major success for Rotary International in this new area of humanitarian work. 726 participants from 126 Districts from 50 different countries participated in this historic conference
Speakers included Frank Devlyn, RI President, Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Direcor and Under-Secretary-General of UNFPA, William H. Huntley, Past President of RI, Dr. Mervat El-Tallawy, career diplomat and policy maker from Egypt, and Prof. Dr. Franz-Josef Radermacher, Scientific Advisory Council of EXPO 2000
Highlighting the conference was the Projects Fair in which more than 100 Matching Grants were offered from 17 developing countries seeking support for population based projects. Within a week, more than 20 of these projects found support from Rotary clubs offering to act as Sponsoring Clubs.
Message of Rotary International President, Frank Devlyn
Zurich, 28 July 2000
As President of Rotary International it gives me great pleasure to join such scholars as Werner Fornos and such world organizations as the United Nations to consider ways our organizationscan join together to better serve the women, children, the families of this world, to prevent hunger, to become a more literate society and to bring hope to everyone for a world of peace and opportunity.
We are grateful for scholars who bring us enlightenment, strong world government agencies that reach every national government on Earth and Rotary International whose 1.2 million members reach down into the smallest of communities in 161 nations in this world. Rotarians can reach the most ordinary of this world´s people while the United Nations reaches the most extra-ordinary of this world´s governments. Our work together is a quite natural partnership.
Rotarians feel the pain of the mothers when they fear they will not be able to feed their children, because they have too many to feed. They feel the frustrations of those mo-thers whose children are too weak and too diseased to walk, talk or care for themselves before nature expects them, as mothers, to bring still another child into this world. Each child receives a diminishing amount of care when the mother already has too little time in the day to feed, cloth or instruct or encourage her children to be literate. Rotarians know the upsetting feelings that go on in the hearts of wives and girl friends when they see their husbands and dear ones forced to leave their communities and homes because there is no economic hope for them in their own countries. So the men go, perhaps for years, in search for jobs that will pay a wage sufficient to send money home to their families so their children can have food, clothing and an education. Communities made up primarily of women are an unusual and a challenging way of life.
Rotarians personally know the fears and the frustrations of over population. I am certain that this is the reason that in 1998 Rotary representatives from around the world meeting at our Council on Legislation in New Delhi, India voted by greater than an 85% majority that the Rotary International Board of Directors should form a committee to investigate how to best implement a program dealing with the world population issue.
In August 1999 the Board of Directors of Rotary International took the decision in favor of a population program stating,"...Sustainable development, preservation of the environment and the quality of life for all people, especially the new generations, is impacted by population growth. Present world birth rates and longer life expectancy contribute to accelerated population growth, which puts an ever-increasing strain on the non-renewable resources necessary for sustainable development. Through projects such as Hunger, Concern for the Aging, AIDS, Literacy and Preserve Planet Earth, Rotary clubs have already begun to address the issue of population growth, both directly and indirectly," but there is so much more we can do.
Rotary International, working through its Rotary Foundation, can provide Grants
to Rotary Volunteers to bring expert help to the Rotarians already working
with the people within their communities to help the poor. Think how much more
valuable these Grants for Rotary Volunteers become when we use Rotaractors
between the ages of 18-30 in these international projects, so they can learn
first hand the challenges that must be overcome to change the thinking of centuries,
as we slowly guide people toward a new system of life expectancies. These young
Rotary leaders will become the leaders of the world governments like the United
Nations and the world foundations such as Packard, Ford, Rockefeller, Kellogg,
the Grameen Bank and Germany´s GTZ. These present day Rotaractors who
will serve as Rotary Volunteers will be better employees of the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and International Planned Parenthood and even Rotary International,
because they saw first, working as helping hands with Rotarians in many small
communities around the world, how to overcome the challenges of resistan-ce
to child spacing; of giving mothers the opportunity to control the size of
My friends, there is so much that we can do, working together; and this is exactly what this conference is for. We are here to learn how we can work with the United Nations and so many other groups represented here this week-end in Zurich. As we Create Awareness of each of our own capabilities, let us search, and plan for, that symbiotic relationship where we can join hands together with even greater strength, to Take Action to improve the lives of so many people around the world.
Statement by Stirling Scruggs
Representing the UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
July 28, 2000
- Five years ago, the International Conference on Population and Development
(ICPD) reached landmark agreements on population and development. Foremost
among them is that population programmes should be based on human rights,
focusing on meeting individual needs rather than on a top down approach to
reducing human numbers.
180 nations adopted five major goals:
- Universal access to reproductive health care, including family planning
and sexual health by 2015.
Universal access to primary education by 2015.
Reducing infant mortality to below 35 deaths per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to below 45 per 1,000 by 2015.
Reducing maternal mortality rates to half the 1990 levels by the year 2000, and by half again by 2015.
Increasing life expectancy at birth to 75 years or more by 2015.
2. What is UNFPA Helping to do to Implement the Cairo Programme of Action?
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the world's largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries and the UN's lead agency for implementing the Cairo Programme of Action. Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided more than $4.5 billion in assistance to virtually all developing countries.
One fourth of the world's population assistance from donor nations to developing countries is channeled through UNFPA. In addition, the Fund provides a mechanism through which donors, including donor countries, foundations and others, can direct assistance for specific population programmes or projects.
3. The Major Objectives of UNFPA is:
To assist developing countries in providing quality reproductive health and family planning services on the basis of individual choice, and in formulating population policies that support sustainable development.
4. UNFPA has three main programme areas:
Reproductive Health including Family Planning and Sexual Health --
UNFPA supports the provision of reproductive health care including wider choice
of family planning methods and information. Reproductive health care includes:
Family planning; safe motherhood; counseling and prevention of infertility;
preventing and treating reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted
diseases including HIV/AIDS; and dealing with the health consequences of unsafe
Population and Development Strategy --
UNFPA helps countries formulate, implement and evaluate comprehensive population
policies as a central part of sustainable development strategies. This includes
support for data collection and analysis, and research.
UNFPA is an advocate for ICPD and ICPD goals which include: reproductive health and rights; improvement of the status of women; longer life expectancy; lower infant and maternal mortality; closing the gender gap in education; strengthening national capacity to formulate and implement population and development strategies; and increasing awareness and resources for population and development.
5. UNFPA strongly supports gender equality and the full empowerment of women as both a moral necessity and a pragmatic approach to population stabilization. It is also essential for creating and evaluating commitment for social and economic development, and creating a situation where all people will be able to reach their full human potential, and have an opportunity as all of us to live a happy and productive life.
6. UNFPA is pleased and honored to be in partnership with Rotary International in this worthwhile human right-based effort.
Statement by Werner Fornos
Remarks by Werner Fornos
President, Population Institute
Rotary International/UN Population Fund Conference on Population and Development
Swissotel: Zurich, Switzerland, July 28, 2000
"Continuing to ignore global population growth may see us committing the ultimate blunder, one from which there is no recovery."
"It took all of history until 1830 to reach one billion. By 1930, the number was two billion, three in 1960, four in 1975, and five in 1987, and last October, the world surpassed six billion and it may double in the next50 years."
"The decrease in world fertility does not signal an end to the population explosion, but rather serves as a validation that family planning works."
"Anyone who would make the case that these problems are unrelated to rapid population growth has the world-view of an ostrich whose head is snugly submerged in the sand."
"World Population growth in recent years has been approximately 90 million. Last year however, this amount decreased by 12 million. The decline is a result of a surprisingly fast acceptance of family planning, delays in marriage and an increase in death rates. It should be noted, however, that 97% of the growth occurs in the poorest parts of the world where governments are struggling to accommodate their rapidly expanding populations."
"Fertility has successfully been reduced in countries where there is motivation for smaller family size, coupled with political commitment to population planning, universal access to the knowledge, and the affordable means to prevent unintended pregnancy. In Thailand, for example, there has been a 67% reduction in fertility since 1960. In developing countries overall, fertility rates have declined from six to three children per woman over the past 30 years."
"350 million women either prefer not to have more children, did not want their last child, or want to have control over child-spacing between pregnancies, but do not have access to family planning. This unmet need contributes to 600,000 women who die annually because of pregnancy complications, 800 million malnourished people, 1.3 billion who live in absolute poverty, and 1.5 billion people without access to safe drinking water.
Among the solutions are:
1: The eradication of female illiteracy. Empirical evidence shows us that when women and girls achieve an eighth grade education or higher they have half the number of pregnancies than their uneducated sisters.
2: Full employment opportunities for women, with pay. Their status in the family increases and they are treated more equally. Women today do 2/3 of the world's work, but earn only 1/10 of the income and own less than 1% of the property.
3: Reduction of infant mortality to its lowest level. When couples know the child they are bringing into this world will survive, they opt for fewer numbers of pregnancies, and
4: Universal access to the knowledge and affordable means by which they can prevent unintended pregnancy, either through natural family planning, for those for whom it works, or through modern medically approved methods - abortion is not a method of family planning.
Finally, all of us must help in mobilizing the resources to help achieve these goals whether it is through increased governmental commitment of resources or through voluntary contributions. Slowing down population growth and empowering couples with the choices they need to achieve their desired family size is a requirement we all must address because there are no acceptable humanitarian alternatives."
Statement by Bill Cadwallader
To: All Population and Development Task Force Members of President Frank Devlyn
From: PRID Bill Cadwallader, Chairman, Population and Development Task Force
Subject: Rotary International/ United Nations Population Fund
Conference on:| "World Population Growth and Sustainable Development" 27-30 July 2000
Dear Fellow Task Force Members:
On behalf of President Frank Devlyn and the Organizing Committee of the Zurich Population Conference the following is a brief summary of the extremely successful conference on population and development, which in so many ways relates to the things that all of us are doing with each of our individual Task Forces.
711 registrants attended from 126 Rotary Districts and from 50 countries from as far west as Brazil and Argentina and as far East as Samoa. 35 % of those in attendance were Rotaractors. 105 Rotarians and guests participated on the agenda and they represented 45 different countries.
The first day was dedicated to child spacing, adolescent pregnancies, the use of Rotary Volunteers and the ways in which Rotaractors can be a part of this topic that so many feel will need to be an important focus of Rotary for the 21st century.
The second day was dedicated to the proper use of micro-enterprise. Discussions covered nearly every aspect of this subject. By far the majority of questions from the audience on Sunday's Open Forum dealt with the use of Revolving Loan Funds for poor people, and mainly women. We were fortunate to have three outstanding experts answer so clearly the questions that were asked.
Outstanding speakers where RI President Frank Devlyn, Past RI President Bill Huntley, Past RI President Robert Barth, Dr. Nafis Sadik (UNFPA), Dr. John Van Look (WHO), Dr. Mervat El-Tellawy (General Secretary Egypt National Council of Women), and Professor Dr. Obiora Ike (Vicar General of the Catholic Church of Nigeria), Nancy Wimmer (Grameen Bank of Bangladesh) and Cole Wilbur (Past Chairman of the Packard Foundation), plus many more that cannot be placed in a short summary of the event.
110 projects were brought to the conference to be a part of the Projects Fair. 26 of these projects were selected by those in attendance to be adopted by their clubs. The rest of the "population based" projects will be distributed over the course of the coming months.
Three (3) Rotary Volunteer opportunities were consummated for Rotaractors while at the meeting. The leadership of UNFPA offered three (3) additional short term volunteer opportunities working on their projects on population plus one long term Rotary Volunteer project. All four of these UNFPA volunteer projects are for Rotaractors. 19 Rotaractors signed up for the chance to serve within 12 hours of the announcement. These arrangements will be defined within the coming months. This shows the tremendous pool of outstanding volunteers waiting to be tapped among our Rotaractors for service to Rotary Community Service Projects.
Examples of outstanding cooperation between other organizations in conjunction with Rotary were displayed such as with The Packard foundation, The Prince of Wales Trust, German Foundation for World Population and, most important of all, the United Nations.
The press conference at the Zurich meeting highlighted the announcement of the commitment of the Packard Foundation for an amount of 1.2 million US dollars to support the Child Spacing project of Northern Nigeria, started initially by support from the Rotary Foundation. This Nigerian Child Spacing project has been so successful that other agencies around the world now are assisting to see the pilot project expanded into a larger program for an even larger area in Nigeria.
Sunday morning nearly all attendees participated in a religious service at which readings from the holy books of Christians, Hindus, Moslems, Buddahs and Jews were provided. The homily was given by Professor Dr. Obiora Ike, Vicar General of Nigeria.
The conference was concluded by a "Memorandum of Understanding between Rotary International and the United Nations Population Fund" signed by President Frank Devlyn and Dr. Sadik, a Resolution by Conference Participants, a Resolution by the Rotarians and a Resolution by the Rotaractors. The Memorandum and Resolutions will be taken to the RI Board of Directors by President Frank Devlyn and those RI Directors present in Zurich for the Board's consideration and anticipated action.
The Population Conference in Zurich between RI and UNFPA was the first of three Population Conferences planned this year by President Frank Devlyn. The next meeting will be the "Population Summit" in New Delhi, India on 22-24 September 2000. The third "Population Conference" will be in Brasilia, Brazil 14-16 March 2001. The Brasilia meeting will deal with how Rotary can work with governments on this all important topic.
It is hoped that every Rotary task force member will be able to attend one of the population conferences during the course of the year.
For a complete report of the Findings of the Zurich Conference, resulting Resolutions to The RI Board of Directors, speeches of Devlyn, Barth and Huntley, plus extremely informative daily newspapers of the event, please go to www.worldpopulationgrowth.org from which you may download much information for updates to your clubs, districts and regional meetings.
William P. Cadwallader, Jr., PRID
Chairman, Population and Development Task Force
Rotary News Basket, Zurich, Switzerland, 28-30 July 2000
Rotary and UNFPA hold conference on population and development
RI President Frank J. Devlyn has emphasized the importance of creating awareness and taking action to promote sustainable development and population size at an international conference in Zurich, Switzerland, on July 28-30. The Conference on World Population Growth and Sustainable Development Concerns was sponsored by RI's Population and Development Task Force and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
"The core cause of overpopulation is lack of education," said President Devlyn in a key speech at the conference. "There are 900 million illiterate people on this earth, of which two-thirds are females." According to the RI president, illiterate teenage girls do not have the knowledge to avoid pregnancy. So they easily become child-mothers, trapped in a cycle of ignorance and poverty and more likely to produce children they cannot take care of.
UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Nafis Sadik and Immediate Past Rotary Foundation Trustee Chairman Bill Huntley were among key speakers at the conference, which was attended by more than 700 Rotarians, Rotaractors, and guests from across the world.
In speeches, panel presentations, and discussion groups, participants underscored the importance of educating and empowering women in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty, ignorance, and unsustainable population growth. They identified micro-credit programs as a great way to help women improve their conditions of living and to send their children to school.
A projects fair at the conference displayed 80 population and development projects from 30 countries. The Integrated Family Welfare Centers from India, a Kenyan project to train puppeteers to provide education about reproductive health through their stories, and a Brazilian effort that gives unwed mothers a chance to rebuild their lives were among the projects presented.
"I want Rotary to go beyond the sporadic, scattered, one-off projects that we are doing today," said Past District Governor Robert Zinser, chairman of the organizing committee of the Zurich conference. "We need to do this because uncontrolled population growth is the single most crucial issue that affects the world today."
Zinser (Germany) and PDG Emmanuel Adedolapo Lufadeju (Nigeria) explained to participants how the Rotary-sponsored Child-Spacing and Family Health project has improved the lives of 500,000 Nigerian women. Started in 1995, the project provides health care and trains young mothers to improve family incomes and space children in an area of northern Nigeria that has a 70 percent rate of illiteracy. With a population of 120 million and a growth rate of 3.3 percent per year, Nigeria is an example of countries that need to take action on sustainable development and population growth.
Other speakers at the conference included Past RI President Robert Barth, RI Population and Development Task Force Chairman William P. Cadwallader, Zurich Canton President Rita Fuhrer, UNFPA Director of Information and External Relations Stirling Scruggs, WHO Director of Reproductive Health and Research Dr. Paul van Look, International Planned Parenthood Federation Director General Ingar Bruggemann, and Egyptian National Council for Women General Secretary Dr. Merwat M. El Tallawy.
Population Summit Conference, New Delhi India, 22-24 September 2000
Frank Devlyn's Speech
When I was preparing to become President of Rotary International, I asked myself what was it that Rotary really needed to do in this new century. Population growth and development topped the list. I would like to read part of the statement of Rotary's official position to you...
Sustainable development, preservation of the environment and the quality of life for all people, especially the new generations, are all impacted by population growth... Rotary International encourages Rotary Clubs and Districts, working with government agencies, non-government organizations and local leadership to increase awareness and undertake even more projects that directly impact population growth and sustainable development. Projects would include those that promote education on the issue of population, access to family health care, adequate nutrition, and enable individuals to make responsible decisions on issues such as child spacing, in a way that is in keeping with their personal, cultural and religious considerations.
As R.I. President, I feel so strongly about this issue that I have created a special Task Force of Rotarians who are focusing on population and development in 2000-2001. The goal of the population and development task force is to create awareness of world population growth and sustainable development and take action to implement relevant projects.
There is so much we can do in Rotary when we share ideas and resources. Together, we can create awareness and take action toward lasting solutions to the issue of population and development. The families and children of the world are waiting for our help. Let's not let them down!
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At New Delhi Population Summit
Suggested Projects for Rotary Clubs
and Partners in Services
1. Increasing access for non-clinical spacing contraceptives through community-based contraceptive delivery systems.
The Need : Rural Areas and Slums have Unmet Demand for Contraceptives
Rotary's Response :
Organize Community-based Volunteers
Support Training of Volunteers
Bi-monthly Progress Meetings
Supply contraceptives (Condoms, Pills) Provide Communication Materials
Link Local Govt. Health System
Increasing access for reproductive health care through mobile services in inaccessible areas.
MOBILE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TEAMS
2. The Need : Inaccessible Villages have little Access to Health Care
Provide a Mobile Reproductive Health Van
Mobile Team provides Ancillary Nursing Services, Immunization, Contraceptives, Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) Treatment
Supply Vehicle Maintenance, Medicines, Contraceptives
Publicity for Information about Services
Rotarian doctors Volunteer their Time
Social Mobilization and Follow up
3. Increasing access for case management of RITs / STDs through networking with private practitioners.
RTI PREVENTION NETWORKS
The Need : Reproductive Tract in infections/Sexually Transmitted diseases are widespread in Rural areas and Slums.
Establish Network of Private Practitioners
Provide Training in Case Management
Communicate on RTI Prevention
Organize Special Treatment Camps in Neighborhood.
4. Operationalisation of a referral transport for obst. and neonatal emergencies in rural areas.
EMERGENCY TRANSPORT FOR PRE-NATAL WOMEN
The Need : lack of dependable Transport in Rural Areas Leads to high maternal / Neonatal Mortality.
Establish Pool of Private Taxi Operators
Develop Eligibility Criteria
Reimburse pre-fixed Charges
Make Communities aware of Service
5. Operationalising adolescent health services.
ADOLESCENT HEALTH COUNSELLING CENTRES
The Need : Adolescents lack access to information and Services in Reproductive and sexual health. Existing services are not user-friendly
Enlist and support Community Organisations (NGOs)
Organise Volunteers for Counselling
Provide Counselling on Regular Basis
Work with Local Schools to Provide Counselling
6. Operationalising programmes for reducing gender based violence.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (GBV)
The Need : Gender-based Violence is Widespread. GBV denies Women Reproductive Health and Encourage High Fertility.
Organize Advocacy Activities against GBV
Reach out to Men
Sensitize Police Personnel, Medical Personnel on Management of cases
Provide Legal Support Activities
7. Advocacy on Population and Development issues for Panchayat Raj Institute (PRI) members
LOCAL LEADERSHIP AWARENESS PROGRAMME
The Need : PRIs know Little About Population And Development Issues. PRI'S potential For Population Stabilization is still being Wasted.
Organize Sensitization Programme at District and Block Levels.
Support Melas of Female PRI Members
Produce Resources Material in Local Language
8. Support for establishing a resources centre for neo-literate adults.
CONSOLIDATING ADULT LITERACY
The Need : Neo-literates Need Learning Material to Fully develop Functional Literacy. Interesting Reading Material is not Widely Available
Develop Local Resources Centres for Neo Literates
Supply Material on Population and Development
Organise Refresher Courses for Volunteer Trainers
9. Advocacy with selected civil society groups
CIVIL SOCIETY INVOLVEMENT IN POPULATION
The Need : Civil Society at the Local Level has not Internalized Population Issues. Debate and Information are Needed.
Organize Seminars, Workshops, Newsletters
Sensitize professional Associations / Academic Bodies, Student Unions,
Trade Unions, Commerce Bodies
Link Population to Local Issues
10. Organising Integrated Reproduction and Child Health (RCH) services clinics in the under served areas.
RCH CLINIC IN UNDER-SERVED AREA
The Need : Increase access for an Essential package of Quality RCH Services in Villages and Slums
Establish a Clinic in an Under-served Area (Slum/Village)
Assure Equipment and Supplies
Rotarian Doctors Volunteer their Time
Establish Linkage with Government System - Help Improve it
11. Organising blood banking services
LOCAL BLOOD BANK
The Need : Access to Safe Blood to Prevent HIV, Hepatitis B and Other diseases is Poor. Professional Donors Need to be Discouraged
Establish A Licensed Blood bank
Organise Voluntary Blood Donation Campaigns
Establish linkage with private nursing homes
12. Organising Life Skills education programmes for school children
ADOLESCENT LIFE SKILLS PROJECTS
The Need : Adolescents get little Information on Reproductive and Sexual health. They Need Better Life Skills to Cope with Reproductive Issues.
Conduct Training of Trainers for Teachers
Support Local NGOs who Teach Life Skills
Supply Life Skill Materials
13. RVC for women
14. Rotaractors and Interactors in Counselling adolescents
15. Counselling of newly wedded couples, along with elders
16. Using media to spread the message and create awareness
Government Appreciates Rotary's Efforts
The Union Health Minister Dr. C. P. Thakur in his brief and meaningful address thanked profusely the Rotary International for augmenting the government's efforts in the eradication of Polio, and counted on R.I.'s help in the population program too.
Referring to the "Population Policy 2000" he stated that the government had interaction and consultations with medical profession, NGO's and other sections of the society and added that Rotarians represented diverse categories of dedicated people.
Dr. Thakur called upon management experts to design programmes for managing and implementing the government's plans as envisaged in the new population policy. He suggested that Rotarians should form a consortium to work in close cooperation with the government to achieve the laid-down goals.
Asian Rotary Clubs Develop Action Plans
At New Delhi Population Summit
22-24 September 2000
In a historic Summit presided over by RI President Frank Devlyn, over 1000 delegates from all over Asia evolved Action Plans on the Population issue. In the Action oriented Summit, the focus was on planning projects that would solve the problem.
The Government of India's top brass - Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Thakur, Secretary to Government, Mr. Nanda and a galaxy of others provided the political and administrative muscle.
The professional expertise was provided by the UNFPA team led by the Chief, Madame Nafis Sadik, ably supported by Diane Langston and Michael Viassoff, leading the Indian operations.
In an action oriented agenda, PRI President Raja Saboo and Director O.P. Vaish ensured that clear plans were drawn up to ensure success. For the Chairman of the Population and Development Task Force, PRID William Cadwallader, it was one more step in taking Population issues centre - stage.
The organising committee led by PDG. Sanjeev Khanna and Governor Ashoke Ghosh deserves all the praise RI President Frank and First Lady Gloria Rita heaped on them. The journey of a thousand leagues has began with a giant stride for the South East Asian countries
Population Summit Conference, New Delhi India, 22-24 September 2000
Rotary News Basket
Rotary organizes population summit in India
Participants at a population summit in Delhi, India, organized by RI's Population and Development Task Force and the Indian government, focused on addressing the negative effects of high population growth on development.
Speaking at the 22-24 September event, RI President Frank J. Devlyn said that the Population and Development Task Force and its activities are an outcome of RI's official position on population growth and development issues and his resolve to address them.
"Together, we can create awareness and take action toward lasting solutions to the issue of population and development," he told conference participants, including more than 1,000 Rotarians from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal and Thailand. "The families and children of the world are waiting for our help. Let's not let them down!"
Past RI President Raja Saboo, RI Director O.P. Vaish, Population and Development Task Force Chairman and Past RI Director William Cadwallader, Past District Governor Sanjeey Khanna, and Governor Ashoke Ghosh of District 3010 were among past and current Rotary leaders who were recognized by President Devlyn. United Nations Population Fund Director Nafis Sadik also attended the summit.
India's Health Minister Dr. C.P. Thakur thanked RI for boosting his government's efforts in the eradication of polio. "We count on Rotary International's help in our population program, too," he said. "Rotary should form a consortium to work in close cooperation with the government to achieve the goals we've laid out at this summit."
Topics discussed at the summit included education, health care and rural development; information, communication and entertainment; the role of social marketing in population awareness; empowering women as a way to stabilize population growth; and legislation and the social sector.
Participants resolved to sponsor projects that promote access to family health care and adequate nutrition, and enable individuals to make informed and responsible decisions about family issues. In addition to identifying rural areas, urban slums, young girls and women as a focus of population and development projects, Rotarians at the meeting observed that such projects should respect the personal values of beneficiaries, and take into consideration cultural and religious beliefs of communities involved.
Population Summit Conference, Brasilia, Brazil, 15-18 March 2001
Rotary News Basket
Brasilia Population and Development Conference draws 800 participants
Brasilia, Brazil, was the location for the third and final of this year's Population and Development Conferences, held on 15-18 March. Dedicated to the memory of the late RI Past President Paulo V.C. Costa, the conference was well attended, drawing more than 800 participants from 26 nations, many of them Latin Americans.
Echoing the RI theme, RI President Frank J. Devlyn urged participants to create awareness about population and sustainable development and take action to solve the world's population issues. One of the conference's speakers, Sethuramiah Rao, a representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), spoke on the direct correlation between population and food, literacy and housing.
In breakout sessions, the conference discussed topics such as the societal challenges faced by women, education, urban and domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, child-spacing issues, the role of the media in creating awareness, and revolving loan funds for women entrepreneurs. Participants also discussed RI and Foundation programs that support Rotary's work in population and development as well as the role of volunteers, project guidelines, and community organizing tactics.
In his address to the conference, RI Director Hipolito Ferreira said that Rotarians must go "step-by-step" to tackle the complex issues related to population and development. Past District Governor Buck Lindsay (D-6910), the North American area coordinator of the Population and Development Task Force said that the topic was new to many of the Rotarians in attendance. "The population issue must be digested slowly, thought about, and understood," he said "Then it can be carefully assimilated into the value systems already in place in [the conference participant's] culture."
What to Make of Brazil?
Reprinted from Fragile Earth April 2001
by PDG Buck Lindsay, Founder of RFPD
Brasilia, Brazil was the location for the third of Rotary International President Frank Devlyn's trilogy of Population & Development Conferences. The first two conferences, Zurich and New Delhi, were easy calls: steaming successes. The Zurich meeting was organized by the Swiss and German Rotarians, built to run like one of their fine automobiles, with results to match. Many African Rotarians were present in Zurich, suffocated by their runaway population growth rates, and openly ready to address the problem. New Delhi was no different (see page 5). Indians have become global leaders in understanding the population issue and are attacking it at all levels, aggressively and openly.
But the Brazil Conference was different. As Brazilian Director Hipolito Sergio Ferreira said, "Here, we have to go step-by-step." It was most significant that over 800 Rotarians, mostly from South America, attended this meeting. Maybe it was out of respect for Brazilian Past RI President Paulo V. C. Costa, who just before his recent death had reversed his long-standing position against Rotary's involvement in the population issue, and had agreed to host the Brazilian Population & Development Conference. Maybe it was because the intelligencia of Brazil has been hearing about the population issue for some time, and now wanted to learn about it. Or maybe it was because Frank Devlyn, a Latin American himself, has understood the imperative need to address population growth and chose Brazil as the place in South America from which to let the story be told.
With a few exceptions, Brazilian Rotary leaders were reserved on the Conference topic. This topic is new to most Brazilian Rotarians, and it will not be embraced at the first hearing; the population issue must be digested slowly, thought about, understood; and then carefully assimilated into the value systems already in place in their culture. And religious issues must be accounted for. Like the rest of Latin America, Brazil is predominantly Catholic, the Vatican is clear to its congregants on issues such as contraception, which is central to reproductive health, which is central to the population issue. How these challenges will be resolved will only be learned "step-by-step." But the sense of the Conference was that they could be resolved.
In the last 25 years, Brazil has reduced its fertility rate from six children per family to less than three, only one over replacement level, or a stabilized population. But we know that fertility rates only go down when contraceptive prevalence rates go up. Director Ferreira observed that with the pill, sexual freedoms have also changed, which has created other types of problems. Youth are more apt to engage in sex, and the value of family structure, which is primary in the Brazilian culture, is reduced. Social order and harmony in society is changing; in many ways for the worse. Urbanization is an associated aspect of the problem.
At the Brazil Population Conference, as might be expected, it was the younger and the female Rotarians who were most intrigued by the discussions. The logic is that it is the younger generations who will inherit the global calamity if we do not come to grips with the population issue; and it is the women (especially in the developing world), who must decide if their role in life is quantity or quality of births, as they determine the number of children they might have, and what other contribution they may make to society. The Conference also adopted a Resolution recommending to the Board of Directors that the Memorandum of Cooperation between RI and the United Nations Population Fund, co-hosts of the Conference, be extended from its current 1 1/2 year term to a continual basis.
Rotarians, young and old, male and female in Brazil and in other parts of the world, can influence the answers to these questions. We can openly discuss the problem, and we can devise projects that begin to improve the situation. (Nearly 50 projects directly addressing the population issue were presented at the Brazil meeting.) We can inform our fellow Rotarians, our neighbors, and our community leaders on the population topic. There is no more powerful force than the simple, honest, spoken word, from one friend to another. That is how the population issue finally is resolved.
PDG Buck Lindsay