Monica Das Gupta, John Bongaarts, and John Cleland’s World Bank working paper, “Population, Poverty, and Sustainable Development: A Review of the Evidence
,” analyzes the evidence so far on three questions: 1) Does high fertility affect low-income countries’ prospects for economic growth and poverty reduction?; 2) Does population growth exacerbate pressure on natural resources?; and 3) Are family planning programs effective at lowering fertility, and should they be publicly funded? They find the answers to these questions mainly to be “yes,” but more so in low-income countries with “poor policy environments,” where reducing fertility can lessen the pressure on natural resources – the management of which frequently faces “deep challenges” – and allow economic growth. Gupta et al. highlight sub-Saharan Africa
in particular as a region that could gain from these policy levers.
Resource Scarcity, Fair Shares and Development, a discussion paper by Alex Evans of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, published in cooperation with WWF and Oxfam, tackles what Evans writes is an oft-ignored issue in relation to resource scarcity: the notion of fairness in a world of environmental limits. The need to advocate for “fair shares” will become a major issue for poor people and poor countries, and is therefore an important part of the development agenda, he writes. “Scarcity isn’t just relevant to specialists in environment, climate and rural livelihoods,” writes Evans. “On the contrary, resource scarcity will become increasingly central to governance, economics, social development and conflict advisers, and should be incorporated into training and professional development across these areas.”