7 Billion: Development Disaster or Opportunity?

Every day the world adds 209.000 inhabitants and the UN expects the 7 billionth living human to be born on October 31th. Will we welcome him or her chanting peace on earth for everone? Or will the reality be gloomier, and will the explosive population growth erase all the positive effects of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint?

Will the youth from the South produce the dynamism and the workforce we need to absorb the aging populations in the North? Can, what we have so often seen as a major problem, present itself as a force for good in the future? And how do we connect all these questions with human rights – and particularly with women’s rights?

MO* published a MO*paper with two contributions of two experts: Hania Zlotnik and Fred Pearce.

Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, since February 2005 after working in the Population Division for 23 years. She was Chief of the Mortality and Migration Section of the Division from 1993 to 1999 and she directed the Population Estimates and Projections Section from 1999 to 2003. She also served as Assistant Director from 2003 to 2005, overseeing work on fertility, mortality, and migration. Ms. Zlotnik has edited or written numerous reports published by the United Nations, including studies of international migration and development, trends in international migration, female migration, population distribution and migration, population estimates and projections, population ageing, and levels and trends of urbanization. She has published over 35 articles in books or refereed journals and has collaborated in editing books or reports on varied subjects.

Fred Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in London. He has been environment consultant of New Scientist magazine since 1992, reporting from 67 countries. He also writes regularly for the Guardian newspaper, and is a frequent lecturer, having spoken on all six continents in the past four years. His recent books include ‘Peoplequake’, ‘The Climate Files’, ‘When the Rivers Run Dry’ and ‘Confessions of an Eco Sinner’. They have been translated into 16 languages. His next book, ‘Land Grabbers’ will be published in May next year.

This paper is published at the occasion of the MO*conference with Hania Zlotnik and Fred Pearce, Monday November 7th, 2011, in Kaaitheater Brussels.

You can download this paper for free.

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