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(This is the third and last part of my coverage to the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.)

Population and NAPAs


Population projections do matter. It gives us an estimation of the rate of population growth or decline in succeeding years to come base on fertility, morbidity, and mortality. From those projections, governments come up with policies and programs that seek to best address the needs of its population given that there is scarcity of resource and the need to utilize them properly is very much important.

            Even if this is just projections with no concrete evidence that such projections may happen in coming years, it enables scientist, researchers, and even the government and the public as a whole idea of what to expect when population of a particular country reaches in a particular level. It is a good predictor. A fortune teller like the notorious Filipino clairvoyant Madame Auring who predicted Amparo Muñoz of Spain will be crowned Miss Universe 1974.

Based on the studies conducted by those who are in the field if population management and sexual and reproductive health in the United States, it was found out that 50% of pregnancies are unintended or unplanned. A considerable percentage of this statistics belongs to young people. I can relate this with our debate on the Hollywoodization of teenage pregnancy with the likes of Jamie Lyn Spears, ET. Al. 

In this highly contested debate, the government side lambasted media and the Hollywood for propagating the image that being pregnant as teen is cool. That it is okay. According to them, this sets a bad precedence on young people especially from conservative and developing countries whose population of young people looks up to the glamour and bling bling that the Hollywood provides. This is because young people for example follow the fashion and style and even the behavior and attitude of celebrities.

Opposition came by saying that Jamie Lyn for example is not a Hollywood celebrity of her own right but just a free-rider from her sister’s Britney stardom which somehow has a grounding and sound footing on their argumentation. They further elaborated this by saying that America is a liberal democratic country that has a culture of press freedom and openness and those governments from these conservative nations should take the initiative of regulating if not banning such news/programs in television.

Nevertheless, the debate highlighted the problem on unintended pregnancies that is secretly creeping into the consciousness of Americans. Although the work and efforts of the US government in helping developing countries from the perils of mismanaged population is laudable, it has a lot of work to do in their own home court. Even if Roe vs. Wade is enforced in the country that gives women the option to abortion in selected states, it is only one of a few.

CEDAW has not been ratified by Congress nor has the expiring Kyoto Protocol been given a chance to be realized. These are but some of legislative measurements that needs to be implemented. With the statistics on pregnancies that are unintended, there is a propensity for consumption rate to be doubled than with the current levels. Already, consumption rate in the country is higher compared to those of developing countries like the Philippines.

To combat this problem in a developing county setting, one of the suggestions presented was to incorporate family planning to the National Adaptation  Program of Action or simply known as NAPA. (I asked an average reasonable person on what does NAPA stands for. His reply was No Artificial Preservatives Added, NAPA. Hahaha!) NAPAs serve as blueprint for a country’s climate change adaptation programs and policies.

For the record, 41/49 countries identified have submitted NAPAs. Out of 41 countries who submitted, only 37 linked population growth and management that has a direct link to climate change. Sadly, 6 countries from 37 recognized family planning as a strategy to manage population that has a strong link with climate change adaptation. Of the 6, only 2 countries (Uganda and Sao Tome and Principe) had implemented family planning initiatives.