Rise of World Population and Bangladesh

Rise of World Population and Bangladesh

It is reported that with 267 people being born every minute and 108 dying, the world’s population will top 7 billion next year, according to Population Reference Bureau, a research group based in Washington.

The study of the research group found the following trend:
• Over 80 million will be added to developing countries each year
• Over 20 million to poorest developing countries each year
• By 2050 the world’s population will be about 9 billion
• The birth rate will continue to decline in developed countries
• By 2050 Russia and Japan would be deleted from the list of 10 most populous countries and will be replaced by Congo and Ethiopia.

The population of Africa is projected to at least double by mid century to 2.1 billion and Asia will add an additional 1.3 billion. Bangladesh will have a population of 200 million by 2020, that is within the next ten years.

While the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will continue to grow, most European
Countries, Russia and Japan and South Korea will shrink.

According to another report in the next 30 years, the labour force in Germany will shrink from 41 million to 21 million, in Italy from 23 million to 11 million. Japan will require about 90,000 a year falling to a longer-term figure of about 700,000 a year.

According to European Commission, by 2050 the percentage of Europeans older than 65 will nearly double. In the 1950s there were seven workers for every retiree in advanced economies and by 2050, the ratio in European Union will drop to 1.3 to 1.

Figures as reported in the media show that gross public social expenditure in the European Union has increased from 16% per cent in 1980 to 21% per cent in 2005, compared with 15.9% per cent in the US.

In France the figure now is 31% per cent with state pensions making up more than 44% per cent of the total and health care making up 30% per cent, the highest in Europe.

In Sweden and Switzerland, 7 of 10 people work past 50, in France, only half do. The legal retirement in France is 60, while Germany recently raised it to 67 for those born after 1963 (below 50 years).

Eurostat the statistical arm of European Union, reported that deaths will outpace births in five years, a trend that has already occurred in Bulgaria, Latvia and Hungary.

World Population Day, observed on July 11, seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The theme of this year’s World Population Day is “Everyone counts”.

To be counted is to become visible. Censuses and population data play a critical role in development and humanitarian response and recovery. Reliable data makes a difference, and the key is to collect, analyse and disseminate data in a way that drives good decision making. The numbers that emerge from data collection can illuminate important trends.

This is especially important for women and young people. Data that is sorted by gender and age can foster increased responsiveness by national decision-makers to the rights and needs of women and youth and help build a more equitable and prosperous society.

Good demographic data is critical for planning schools, health systems, and public transportation, for designing policies based on future population projections, for monitoring the effectiveness of service delivery and much more.

With quality data governments can better track and make greater progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and promote and protect the dignity and human rights to all the people. It is reported that Bangladesh’s next census will begin in March next year (2011), last census was taken in 2001.

The population pressure in the developing countries will have adverse effect on :
• Prices of food
• Availability of fresh water
• Reduction of poverty
• Availability of energy
• Degradation of environment

As the population rises in South Asia, regional cooperation is imperative for addressing water management, effects of global climate change, energy grid and food security.

To check the rise of population, Bangladesh needs to bolster the programme of family planning through combination of measures such as reduction of poverty, maternal care before and after child birth, easy access to family planning clinics in villages and education and motivation of male partners. Furthermore the Imams of the mosques must be employed to advocate the necessity of family planning and assert that family planning is not against Islamic precepts.

The declining rate of population in advanced economies may act as a bonanza for Bangladesh with its younger skilled population to industralialised countries.

As of July 2010, Bangladesh has about 70 lakh people working in some 100 countries across the world who are sending remittances.

During the financial year 2009-10, the remittances stood at $11 billion. It is estimated that almost the same amount comes through unofficial channels every year. It is the second foreign exchange earning for the country after the export earnings of the garment sector.. By 2015, the target is about $ 30 billion dollars and right strategies must be put in place to meet the goal.

The remittances from migrants contribute significantly to Bangladesh’s socio-economic development. The remittances have a multiplier effect not only for the family members but also for the people in general.

Around 35,000 Bangladeshi workers go abroad every year. Bangladesh exports a high percentage, 57 per cent, of unskilled workers. As the unskilled workers will not be required in the days of technology the need of coordination and cooperation between government and private sectors is imperative for making them skilled through establishment of Technical Institutes at the level of Upazilla in the country.

Hopefully all stakeholders will rise to the occasion to have a compact with regard to utilisation of rising population in Bangladesh.

By Barrister Harun ur Rashid
Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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