14 June 2012
The world’s 105 science academies – including the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science – are today highlighting the global challenges of population and consumption and calling upon world leaders to take decisive action.
Fellow of the Royal Society and IAP Working Group Chair, Professor Charles Godfray, said:
“In April the Royal Society produced its own report on population and consumption, People and the Planet, and we are delighted that the world’s science academies have also chosen to come together to highlight two of the most profound challenges to humanity – population and consumption – and to call for urgent and coordinated international action to address them. For too long the dual issues of population and consumption have been left off the table due to political and ethical sensitivities. These are issues that affect us all, developed and developing nations alike, and we must take responsibility for them together. Policymakers have an extraordinary opportunity to seize the initiative at the international summit in Rio and we hope that they will choose to take the sound, evidence-based advice of their own academies of science as they make decisions that will affect the future of the planet.”
Through IAP , the global network of science academies, academies from all over the world, including countries as diverse as South Africa, Latvia, Japan, Nicaragua, Bolivia, the UK and New Zealand, have come together to call for action on population and consumption. The academies’ statement highlights that current patterns of consumption, especially in high-income countries, are eroding the planet’s natural capital at rates that are severely damaging the interests of future generations, and should consequently and urgently be reduced. It also highlights that, if the right conditions are in place, reducing rapid population growth can stimulate and facilitate economic development, improve health and living standards, and increase political and social stability and security. The statement emphasises the relevance of population and consumption to the future of both developed and developing countries and reminds policy makers preparing for Rio+20 of the need to consider the following:
The statement also highlights some key actions that need to be taken, including: