Ignoring Signs of a Demographic Winter

Journalist Warns of Bias in U.N. Population Fund Report

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ROME, SEPT. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A United Nations Population Fund report, published a decade after the 1994 Cairo conference on population and development, is "totally ideological," warns an expert on demographic issues.



Riccardo Cascioli, journalist of the Italian newspaper Avvenire and author of numerous books on demography, says that UNFPA's objective is to promote abortion in the world.

The report predicts that the world's population will have increased by almost 40% by 2050, to 8.9 billion inhabitants.

Entitled "State of World Population 2004," the report sees in the demographic increase an obstacle for development and for the environment.

In this interview with ZENIT, Cascioli, who attended the 1994 Cairo conference, talks about the ideas hidden behind UNFPA's projects and report.

Q: How do you evaluate this report?

Cascioli: It is a totally ideological report. It is incredible that, when describing the state of the population in the world, no mention is made of the main demographic problem we are experiencing today: namely, the rapid aging of the population.

And this is also the case in countries where the consequences will be even more dramatic because of the absence of social security: pensions, health service, etc…

On the contrary, UNFPA continues to engage in propaganda on the need to reduce even more the fertility rates, stating that this will foster development.

Reality demonstrates the contrary. Suffice it to think of Africa, where there has been a decrease in the fertility rate from 6.65 to 4.91 per woman, yet over the past 10 years poverty in the continent has increased by 43%.

The truth is that the only interest shown by UNFPA is to promote abortion as a fundamental human right, something that Cairo did not achieve 10 years ago, but which is an increasingly explicit objective.

Q: We have gone from the "demographic explosion" to the "demographic winter." What has happened in these 10 years, since Cairo 1994?

Cascioli: The much-feared demographic explosion has always been an instrumental argument to achieve universal consensus on topics that concern certain elites, namely, birth control.

The most farsighted demographers, even 10 years ago, were skeptical about these alarms. In any case, reality has been in charge of demonstrating that they were unfounded.

It is true that the decrease in fertility has gone beyond all predictions, for reasons that are yet to be adequately investigated. But I repeat: The problem is that at the level of international agencies the real demographic problems are not addressed -- preferring instead to promote an ideological agenda.

This leads to investing substantial resources in policies that not only are useless, but dangerous for two reasons: They take away funds from real aid to development and aggravate the tendency of the aging of the population.

It must be added, moreover, that especially in some regions, these policies create dangerous social imbalances, as is the case of China, where there are 120 men for every 100 women, while the average relation is 106-107 men for 100 women.

Q: The U.S. administration, which in 1994 was totally opposed to the Holy See, seems at present to support programs in defense of life and the family. What has happened in U.S. policy-making?

Cascioli: Today, Bush is accused by UNFPA and pro-abortion organizations of killing women because he has withdrawn financial support from UNFPA.

In reality, the White House's decision is based on obvious data which shows how this U.N. agency and other NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] support programs that provide coercive abortion, especially in China.

In fact, Bush has done no more than apply the Program of Action approved by the Cairo conference which in Article 8.25 states clearly that "abortion can in no case be considered as a means of family planning."

Today we must wake up to the fact that the money from our taxes goes to promote abortion, including coercive abortion, in the world, with the label "aid to development."