Three thousand ministers and senior representatives from 131 countries are assembled in Bucharest, Rumania for the United Nations World Population Conference, which opened on Monday (19 August) and will continue for two weeks.
SV Ceausescu and Waldheim walking to their seats and seated.
This was how Dr. Kurt Waldheim opened the conference:
"I declare open the United Nations World Population Conference.
President Ceausescu, Excellencies,distinguished Delegates and Observers, Ladies, and Gentlemen: we have come together here from all parts of the world to participate in a unique event, an historic occasion. The next thirty to thirty-five years may well be the most challenging in the history of mankind. Never before have nations or the International community been faced with such expanding demands for food, shelter, employment, education and health care.
In a sense, it could be said that all our most important problems are inter-related, affecting each other in complex ways. In this sense, what we face from both a national and international perspective, is one overriding problem, born out of the rapid pace of technological and political change, demanding innovative answers to the critical question: How can we improve the quality of life? One problem it may be, yet it reveals itself in distinct facets, each of which provides access to an ultimate solution, and one of these is population change."
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Background: Three thousand ministers and senior representatives from 131 countries are assembled in Bucharest, Rumania for the United Nations World Population Conference, which opened on Monday (19 August) and will continue for two weeks.
The conference is the first of its kind and in his opening address UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said "This next 30 to 35 years may well be the most challenging in the history of mankind." He also said that it is virtually certain that the world's population will double over roughly the next generation.
Calls for action to eliminate "vulgar affluence" and share out the world's natural wealth more fairly marked the first working day of the conference. One of the main themes to emerge so far is that the population explosion cannot be tackled in isolation from poverty and economic deprivation. "Development is the best contraceptive" wsw the slogan used by one delegate.
Somewhat paradoxically, the host country, Rumania has made abortion a criminal offence and has encouraged large families for several years. Its declared target is to increase its population from the present 21 million to 25 million within the next five years - evidently seeing development as coming before population control.
SYNOPSIS: Three thousand ministers and senior representatives from a hundred-and-thirty-one countries are gathered in Bucharest, Rumania for the United Nations World Population Conference, which opened on Monday and will continue for two weeks. It is the first of its kind and as the delegates settled into the first day of discussions there were signs of tension between rich and poor countries over how to find a political solution to an overcrowded world. The Rumanian President, Mr. Ceausescu and Dr. Kurt Waldheim, the Secretary General of the United Nations, were there for the opening ceremony. Dr. Waldheim started the great debate.