1992 Scorecard Vote
World population is now 5.5 billion. Given the exponential rate of world population growth which added 97 million people in the past year alone, action taken this decade to stem growth will determine whether the Earth's population nearly doubles or quadruples in the next century. Nearly half those living in the developing world will enter their reproductive years within the next 25 years. If we make a concerted effort now, world population should peak near 8 billion. If we fail to act now, it will continue to soar to 20 billion or more.
Implementation of the United Nations Amsterdam Declaration, endorsed by 79 countries, including the United States in 1989, would help hold world population relatively stable at 8 billion by making voluntary family planning universally available by the year 2000. The US needs to target 4% of its foreign aid budget to population assistance to realize this goal. In the past two years, the US significantly increased its contribution to international population programs from $270 million to $325 million. Turrung the corner on the problem, however, will require even larger increases in the future.
A formal letter written by Representatives Tony Beilenson (D CA-23) and Peter Kostmayer (D PA-8) to the Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman David Obey (D WI-7) requested an increase to $650 million in FY 93 for international population assistance. The letter was sent to Chairman Obey on May 22, prior to votes in the Subcommittee on FY 93 appropriations. The Subcommittee approved S410 million. This represents a slight improvement over last year's appropriations bill; in a year when the overall foreign aid bill was decreased significantly, the environmental community applauds the Appropriations Subcommittee's increase in population funding.
Combating population growth is one of the most vital and farsighted efforts we can undertake, and an increase in funding now will save many times the expense in future foreign assistance. Environmentalists consider co-signing on the Beilenson-Kostmayer letter to be a strong pro-environment action. The letter was signed by 160 Members of Congress.