RECOMMENDATION 1243 (1994)
on demographic change and
The Assembly emphasises that demographic change is a global phenomenon characterised
by interdependence and that population trends, social policies, environmental change and
the patterns of production, consumption and international trade are closely interlinked.
The present situation is that despite a slackening world population growth rate, the
absolute figure will continue to increase over the next three decades to a level of
between 7 and 12 thousand million inhabitants. Developing countries will account for over
95% of the increase.
In these countries the social status and level of education and training of women can
play a fundamental role in reducing demographic growth, poverty and the degradation of
Meanwhile, we are confronted with a steady deterioration of our environment.
Nevertheless, the population factor, although significant, is only partly responsible
because other factors, notably patterns of production and consumption and lifestyles, are
also at work.
The Assembly points out, for example, that in per capita terms air pollution caused
by the inhabitants of industrialised countries is five times greater than in developing
countries. Grave ecological problems are therefore predictable as developing countries
realise their legitimate aspiration to a standard of living on a par with industrialised
In this context, the Assembly reiterates the principle of common but differentiated
responsibility acknowledged at the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (Rio de Janeiro, June 1992), which pledges countries of rapid demographic
expansion to reduce the growth rate and industrialised countries to reduce the negative
impact of their industrial activities and to use their resources in a rational manner.
The Assembly affirms that demographic policy must in all cases be founded on freedom
of choice as regards reproduction given that the choice of responsible procreation is an
inalienable right of all couples. This freedom, based on the values of life and the
family, can only be exercised under social and political conditions ensuring respect for
human dignity, equality between the sexes and participatory pluralist democracy. This
calls for adequate measures in such fields as information, education and health.
The Assembly also emphasises the need to reconcile individual aspirations with the
contemporary forms of social organisation characteristic of European societies so as to
ensure the greatest possible harmony between societal imperatives and personal wishes.
Likewise, having regard to the ageing of Europe's population, every effort must be made to
establish equitable inter-generational relations.
The Assembly accordingly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
organise a thematic campaign centred on the situation of women in Europe and
worldwide, as a major step in preparations for the 4th United Nations Conference on Women
to be held in Beijing in September 1995;
build up the resources of the North-South Centre in Lisbon so that it is better able
to impress on public opinion the universality and interdependence of demographic issues,
and in particular, the need for the industrialised countries to cut back or eliminate
patterns of consumption and production which are incompatible with sustainable
invite member states:
to take account of demographic trends and changes in the state of resources when
framing their social and economic policies and development assistance programmes;
to step up their co-operation on matters of population and sustainable development in
the Council of Europe framework, and notably in the European Population Committee (CDPO),
with a view to obtaining the broadest possible understanding of essential factors such as
the carrying capacities of ecosystems, access to resources, demographic trends and
to increase the proportion of their development aid devoted to improving the level of
education and health, including the expansion of demographic education services, as well
as the legal and social status of women in order to give couples (men and women) the
necessary means to reach a responsible decision on the number of their children;
to take steps as quickly as possible to implement the recommendations of the Rio
Declaration on environment and development;
to favour cleaner technologies conducive to sustainable development for the world and
for future generations.
 Assembly debate on 28 June 1994 (18th Sitting) (see Doc. 7089,
report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, Rapporteur: Mrs Robert).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 28 June 1994 (18th Sitting).