A Balancing Act: Population and the Environment

August 30, 2018


On 30 August 2018 Sandra Jordan, FP2020’s Senior Advisor, Rights & Empowerment wrote about FP2020’s support of the current work of the Population & Sustainability Network at the intersection of population, conservation and reproductive health. You can read the original article on the FP2020 website here, or alternatively below.

Understanding the delicate balance between human populations and environmental concerns has long been a challenge; finding solutions and common ground has been even more difficult.

Evidence shows programs that address women’s needs for sexual and reproductive health that also support environmental efforts can improve the ecosystem, reduce vulnerability, and enhance resilience to climate change. Population-related policies, including offering voluntary rights-based family planning services and improved education for women and girls, are important factors for addressing climate response options, benefitting both human well-being and environmental issues and helping governments meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

In an effort to support such policies, FP2020 is taking an active role in leading important discussions around family planning and environmental sustainability.

We are working with David Johnson, chief executive officer of the UK-based Margaret Pyke Trust, which runs the Population & Sustainability Network, and has promoted reproductive health and rights as an integral element of sustainable development for nearly 50 years. David has launched a new advocacy effort to amplify coordination and collaboration between environmentalists and conservationists, believing the partnership can lead both groups to lasting solutions. If he’s right, and we strongly suspect he is, overlapping goals for healthier communities and healthier planets may be in reach. We are working with David to promote an upcoming report that makes the case for population-health-environment advocacy, research, and action along with calls to action for donors and implementers.

FP2020 is hosting a series of webinars to explore links, approaches, and solutions to population and environmental issues. The first, which showcased the work of co-sponsors Population Reference Bureau and the Public Health Institute, explored how the family planning community can form partnerships with multilateral institutions, including the UN’s Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund, which support activities and programs to help vulnerable populations adapt to climate change impacts. Creating successful partnerships with these investment frameworks could contribute to both improved health and environments.

In coming months, FP2020 will share emerging research on how increased use of family planning can strengthen or accelerate a transition to environmental sustainability. We will work with our Focal Points in country to build cross-country conversations and share new findings, approaches, and campaigns from our partners.

Stay tuned for more from us on this important issue!