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Thematic Issues
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Demographic developments are slow, and hence can be ignored on the short term. Moreover, the most important demographic developments - be it growth of population size, push factors for international migrations, or spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic - occur in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Thus, they could seem to be far away to people who live in developed countries.

However, only a glimpse on scenarios of the future demand for energy or non-renewable resources, of the potential for international conflicts about water, scarce land, pollution etc., shows how close these things really are. Few social scientists would disagree that population dynamics has become a central issue for social structures, economic development and politics nowadays, both nationally and internationally.

This article starts with a short overview of the global population dynamics and its importance in the 21st century. It continues by analyzing the chances to influence the future population development, and the role of development cooperation in this perspective. The International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 (ICPD) had been a programmatic milestone in this area : but the article shows that donor countries are currently sneaking out of the commitments they made in Cairo. If this development cannot be stopped, we should have in the coming decades a much larger world population, more international conflicts on resources, and a higher migration pressure at our doors.


International Development - Population - Development Cooperation


Ralf E. ULRICH is a Chief Executive Officer of Eridion Gmbh, a consulting company specialized in demographic and health analyses. He works as an advisor and a consultant in various countries. He teaches Demography at Humboldt University in Berlin and Otto-Friedrich University in Bamberg (Germany).


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