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NEWS UPDATES 19 November 2009

Philippines warned of fast increasing population  

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The United Nations has reiterated its warning to countries with rapid population growth such as the Philippines to adopt reproductive-health policies to prevent their populations from suffering a harsher impact of disasters linked to climate change, local daily Business Mirror reported.

The UN Population Fund launched on Wednesday the “State of the World Population” report highlighting women, mostly in poor and developing countries, that it said are the “most vulnerable to suffer from the impact of climate change because they make up the larger share of agricultural work force and do not have much access to income-earning opportunities than men.”

As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the Earth’s capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme and conceivably catastrophic. Population dynamics tell one part of a larger, more intricate story about the way some countries and people have pursued development and defined progress and about how others have had little to say in the decisions that affect their lives,” stated the UN World Population Report.

Suneeta Mukherjee, UNFP country representative, said the impact of climate change is apparent and has the potential to reverse the gains in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that seek to halve global poverty by 2015.

“Women are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Drought and erratic rainfall force women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for their homes,” said Mukherjee in her speech at the launch of the UN report at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay.

She said the lingering debate on the passage of the controversial reproductive-health bill in the Philippines should be addressed by the government if the latter is to mitigate the impact of climate change on the vulnerable sector of the population.

“The issue of contraceptives is being debated in Congress, in the Church...[but] its not about sex or promiscuity, it’s about being able to control your life. . .it’s about human rights,” said Mukherjee.

She noted the Philippines has an annual 3.4 million pregnancy cases, half of which are unplanned. Of the 1.7 million unplanned pregnancy cases, Mukherjee said one-third of them end up in unsafe abortion.


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