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Green Liberal Democrats

Tonge quizzes Wallace on Population Growth

October 8, 2011 5:53 PM

population• [Oct 04] Baroness Tonge (Liberal Democrat): TO ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on international development of a world population projected to reach 7 billion on 31 October 2011.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect rapid population growth has on international development.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the pace and scale of world population growth.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Whip, House of Lords; Liberal Democrat): The UN's 2010 projections estimate that the global population will pass the 7 billion mark on 31 October 2011. Under a medium growth scenario, the global population will continue to rise throughout the 21st century, passing 9.3 billion in 2050 and 10.1 billion in 2100. Rapid population growth will mostly take place in the poorest countries where current fertility rates, if not reduced, will mean that populations in some countries are expected to double or triple by 2050.

In the absence of commensurate economic growth, this will place a significant strain on the ability of Governments to deliver basic services such as health and education. Even with economic growth, this increase in global population is likely to build additional pressure on natural resources with some regions of the world experiencing increasing water scarcity, food shortages and new challenges for sustainable energy supplies and land availability. Rapid population growth, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, could also have an important role in shaping mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change, migration patterns and successful urbanisation policies.

The UK Government are working closely with others to advance a comprehensive understanding of the role of population dynamics (specifically the demographic dividend associated with declining fertility) in helping achieve increased economic productivity and rising per capita income in developing economies.

• Full Debate in Parliament