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Public Papers - 1991 - October

Proclamation 6366 -- World Population Awareness Week, 1991

1991-10-25

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Demographic trends among the world's population, which now surpasses 5.4 billion, cannot be overlooked as a factor when we examine important global issues such as economic development and environmental degradation. That is why we do well to observe World Population Awareness Week.

The United States has long recognized that population growth, in and of itself, is a neutral phenomenon. Indeed, as we stated during the 1984 International Conference on Population, because every human being represents hands to work, and not just ``another mouth to feed,'' population growth may be an asset or a liability depending on such factors as government economic policies, agricultural practices, and a nation's ability to put men and women to work. Rapid population growth is often occurring in those nations where economic stagnation, attributable in large part to the failure to adopt market-oriented policies, makes them less able to cope with economic and environmental challenges. For example, population growth may be viewed as a threat in countries where excessive government controls eliminate incentives for farmers and other workers to produce, where housing and health care facilities do not keep pace, or where precious natural resources are used without regard to future needs. Demographic change can also become problematic when a nation fails to anticipate or to respond to such trends as massive urban migration. However, because people are producers as well as consumers, population growth can also be a sign and a source of strength.

The United States has been a leader in efforts to focus attention on population issues -- particularly in less developed nations where population growth and related demands for land, public services, and other resources have exceeded their availability. At the Houston Economic Summit, the G - 7 leaders stated that ``In a number of countries, sustainable development requires that population growth remain in some reasonable balance with expanding resources. . . . Improved educational opportunities for women and their greater integration into the economy can make important contributions to population stabilization programs.'' Currently, the United States, cognizant of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and families and respectful of religious and cultural values, provides nearly half of all international assistance that supports effective, safe, and voluntary family planning programs. This aid is but one part of a comprehensive economic development assistance program. We have also taken a strong position in the global community to address problems such as illiteracy, poverty, and environmental degradation. Indeed, recognizing the need to use precious natural resources wisely, we have worked to promote sustainable development. We have also consistently advocated the political and economic freedom vital to the advancement of individuals and nations.

Of course, no nation can achieve acceptable levels of productivity and progress without a healthy population. Thus, the United States will continue to support and to promote programs that are designed to improve maternal and child health. We will continue to support education and disease prevention, as well as programs that target the specific health problems of the poor -- problems that are often aggravated by such factors as poor sanitation and the lack of safe drinking water.

During World Population Awareness Week, we reflect on the importance of every one of these efforts and reaffirm our commitment to them. After all, by promoting the health of individuals and the strength and stability of families, we can enhance the well-being of entire nations.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 160, has designated the week beginning October 20, 1991, as ``World Population Awareness Week'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of October 20 through October 26, 1991, as World Population Awareness Week. I invite all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 1:49 p.m., October 28, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 30.

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