Action to Create Conditions for Fertility Decline: Population and a Development Assistance Strategy
II. A. General Strategy and Resource Allocations for AID Assistance
1. Past Program ActionsSince inception of the program in 1965, AID has obligated nearly $625 million for population activities. These funds have been used primarily to (1) draw attention to the population problem, (2) encourage multilateral and other donor support for the worldwide population effort, and (3) help create and maintain the means for attacking the problem, including the development of LDC capabilities to do so. In pursuing these objectives, AID's population resources were focussed on areas of need where action was feasible and likely to be effective. AID has provided assistance to population programs in some 70 LDCs, on a bilateral basis and/or indirectly through private organizations and other channels. AID currently provides bilateral assistance to 36 of these countries. State and AID played an important role in establishing the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to spearhead multilateral effort in population as a complement to the bilateral actions of AID and other donor countries. Since the Fund's establishment, AID has been the largest single contributor. Moreover, with assistance from AID a number of private family planning organizations (e.g., Pathfinder Fund, International Planned Parenthood Foundation, Population Council) have significantly expanded their worldwide population programs. Such organizations are still the main supporters of family planning action in many developing countries.
AID actions have been a major catalyst in stimulating the flow of funds into LDC population programs - from almost nothing ten years ago, the amounts being spent from all sources in 1974 for programs in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, and Asia (excluding China) will total between $400 and $500 million. About half of this will be contributed by the developed countries bilaterally or through multilateral agencies, and the balance will come from the budgets of the developing countries themselves. AID's contribution is about one-quarter of the total - AID obligated $112.4 million for population programs in FY 1974 and plans for FY 1975 program of $137.5 million.
While world resources for population activities will continue to grow, they are unlikely to expand as rapidly as needed. (One rough estimate is that five times the current amount, or about $2.5 billion in constant dollars, will be required annually by 1985 to provide the 2.5 billion people in the developing world, excluding China, with full-scale family planning programs). In view of these limited resources AID's efforts (in both fiscal and manpower terms) and through its leadership the efforts of others, must be focussed to the extent possible on high priority needs in countries where the population problem is the most acute. Accordingly, AID last year began a process of developing geographic and functional program priorities for use in allocating funds and staff, and in arranging and adjusting divisions of labor with other donors and organizations active in the worldwide population effort. Although this study has not yet been completed, a general outline of a U.S. population assistance strategy can be developed from the results of the priorities studied to date. The geographic and functional parameters of the strategy are discussed under 2. and 3. below. The implications for population resource allocations are presented under 4.
2. Geographic Priorities in U.S. Population AssistanceThe U.S. strategy should be to encourage and support, through bilateral, multilateral and other channels, constructive actions to lower fertility rates in selected developing countries. Within this overall strategy and in view of funding and manpower limitations, the U.S. should emphasize assistance to those countries where the population problem is the most serious. There are three major factors to consider in judging the seriousness of the problem:
The first is the country's contribution to the world's population problem, which is determined by the size of its population, its population growth rate, and its progress in the "demographic transition" from high birth and high death rates to low ones.
The second is the extent to which population growth impinges on the country's economic development and its financial capacity to cope with its population problem.
The third factor is the extent to which an imbalance between growing numbers of people and a country's capability to handle the problem could lead to serious instability, international tensions, or conflicts. Although many countries may experience adverse consequences from such imbalances, the troublemaking regional or international conditions might not be as serious in some places as they are in others.
Based on the first two criteria, AID has developed a preliminary rank ordering of nearly 100 developing countries which, after review and refinement, will be used as a guide in AID's own funding and manpower resource allocations and in encouraging action through AID leadership efforts on the part of other population assistance instrumentalities. Applying these three criteria to this rank ordering, there are 13 countries where we currently judge the problem and risks to be the most serious. They are: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Out of a total 67 million worldwide increase in population in 1972 these countries contributed about 45%. These countries range from those with virtually no government interest in family planning to those with active government family planning programs which require and would welcome enlarged technical and financial assistance.
These countries should be given the highest priority within AID's population program in terms of resource allocations and/or leadership efforts to encourage action by other donors and organizations. The form and content of our assistance or leadership efforts would vary from country-to-country (as discussed in 3. below), depending on each country's needs, its receptivity to various forms of assistance, its capability to finance needed actions, the effectiveness with which funds can be used, and current or adjusted divisions of labor among the other donors and organizations providing population assistance to the country. AID's population actions would also need to be consistent with the overall U.S. development policy toward each country.
While the countries cited above would be given highest priority, other countries would not be ignored. AID would provide population assistance and/or undertake leadership efforts with respect to other countries to the extent that the availability of funds and staff permits, taking account of such factors as: a country's placement in AID's priority listing of LDCs; its potential impact on domestic unrest and international frictions (which can apply to small as well as large countries); its significance as a test or demonstration case; and opportunities for expenditures that appear particularly cost-effective (e.g. its has been suggested that there may be particularly cost-effective opportunities for supporting family planning to reduce the lag between mortality and fertility declines in countries where death rates are still declining rapidly).
3. Mode and Content of U.S. Population AssistanceIn moving from geographic emphases to strategies for the mode and functional content of population assistance to both the higher and lower priority countries which are to be assisted, various factors need to be considered: (1) the extent of a country's understanding of its population problem and interest in responding to it; (2) the specific actions needed to cope with the problem; (3) the country's need for external financial assistance to deal with the problem; and (4) its receptivity to various forms of assistance. Some of the countries in the high priority group cited above (e.g. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) and some lower priority countries have recognized that rapid population growth is a problem, are taking actions of their own to deal with it, and are receptive to assistance from the U.S. (through bilateral or central AID funding) and other donors, as well as to multilateral support for their efforts. In these cases AID should continue to provide such assistance based on each country's functional needs, the effectiveness with which funds can be used in these areas, and current or adjusted divisions of labor among other donors and organizations providing assistance to the country. Furthermore, our assistance strategies for these countries should consider their capabilities to finance needed population actions. Countries which have relatively large surpluses of export earning and foreign exchange reserves are unlikely to require large-scale external financial assistance and should be encouraged to finance their own commodity imports as well as local costs. In such cases our strategy should be to concentrate on needed technical assistance and on attempting to play a catalytic role in encouraging better programs and additional host country financing for dealing with the population problem.
In other high and lower priority countries U.S. assistance is limited either by the nature of political or diplomatic relations with those countries (e.g. India, Egypt), or by the lack of strong government interest in population reduction programs (e.g. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil). In such cases, external technical and financial assistance, if desired by the countries, would have to come from other donors and/or from private and international organizations (many of which receive contributions from AID). The USG would, however, maintain an interest (e.g. through Embassies) in such countries' population problems and programs (if any) to reduce population growth rates. Moreover, particularly in the case of high priority countries to which U.S. population assistance is now limited for one reason or another, we should be alert to opportunities for expanding our assistance efforts and for demonstrating to their leaders the consequences of rapid population growth and the benefits of actions to reduce fertility.
In countries to which other forms of U.S. assistance are provided but not population assistance, AID will monitor progress toward achievement of development objectives, taking into account the extent to which these are hindered by rapid population growth, and will look for opportunities to encourage initiation of or improvement in population policies and programs.
In addition, the U.S. strategy should support general activities capable of achieving major breakthroughs in key problems which hinder attainment of fertility control objectives. For example, the development of more effective, simpler contraceptive methods through bio-medical research will benefit all countries which face the problem of rapid population growth; improvements in methods for measuring demographic changes will assist a number of LDCs in determining current population growth rates and evaluating the impact over time of population/family planning activities.
4. Resource Allocations for U.S. Population AssistanceAID funds obligated for population/family planning assistance rose steadily since inception of the program ($10 million in the FY 1965-67 period) to nearly $125 million in FY 1972. In FY 1973, however, funds available for population remained at the $125 million level; in FY 1974 they actually declined slightly, to $112.5 million because of a ceiling on population obligations inserted in the legislation by the House Appropriations Committee. With this plateau in AID population obligations, worldwide resources have not been adequate to meet all identified, sensible funding needs, and we therefore see opportunities for significant expansion of the program. Some major actions in the area of creating conditions for fertility decline, as described in Section IIB, can be funded from AID resources available for the sectors in question (e.g., education, agriculture). Other actions come under the purview of population ("Title X") funds. In this latter category, increases in projected budget requests to the Congress on the order of $35-50 million annually through FY 1980 -- above the $137.5 million requested by FY 1975 -- appear appropriate at this time. Such increases must be accompanied by expanding contributions to the worldwide population effort from other donors and organizations and from the LDCs themselves, if significant progress is to be made. The USG should take advantage of appropriate opportunities to stimulate such contributions from others.
Title X Funding for Population +----------------------------------------------------+ | Year Amount ($ million) | +----------------------------------------------------+ | FY 1972 - Actual Obligations 123.3 | | FY 1973 - Actual Obligations 125.6 | | FY 1974 - Actual Obligations 112.4 | | FY 1975 - Request to Congress 137.5 | | FY 1976 - Projection 170 | | FY 1977 - Projection 210 | | FY 1978 - Projection 250 | | FY 1979 - Projection 300 | | FY 1980 - Projection 350 | +----------------------------------------------------+These Title X funding projections for FY 1976-80 are general magnitudes based on preliminary estimates of expansion or initiation of population programs in developing countries and growing requirements for outside assistance as discussed in greater detail in other sections of this paper. These estimates contemplated very substantial increases in self-help and assistance from other donor countries. Our objective should be to assure that developing countries make family planning information, educational and means available to all their peoples by 1980. Our efforts should include:
Increased A.I.D. bilateral and centrally-funded programs, consistent with the geographic priorities cited above.
Expanded contributions to multilateral and private organizations that can work effectively in the population area.
Further research on the relative impact of various socio-economic factors on desired family size, and experimental efforts to test the feasibility of larger-scale efforts to affect some of these factors.
Additional bio-medical research to improve the existing means of fertility control and to develop new ones which are safe, effective, inexpensive, and attractive to both men and women.
Innovative approaches to providing family planning services, such as the utilization of commercial channels for distribution of contraceptives, and the development of low-cost systems for delivering effective health and family planning services to the 85% of LDC populations not now reached by such services.
Expanded efforts to increase the awareness of LDC leaders and publics regarding the consequences of rapid population growth and to stimulate further LDC commitment to actions to reduce fertility.
We believe expansions in the range of 35-50 million annually over the next five years are realistic, in light of potential LDC needs and prospects for increased contributions from other population assistance instrumentalities, as well as constraints on the speed with which AID (and other donors) population funds can be expanded and effectively utilized. These include negative or ambivalent host government attitudes toward population reduction programs; the need for complementary financial and manpower inputs by recipient governments, which must come at the expense of other programs they consider to be high priority; and the need to assure that new projects involve sensible, effective actions that are likely to reduce fertility. We must avoid inadequately planned or implemented programs that lead to extremely high costs per acceptor. In effect, we are closer to "absorptive capacity" in terms of year-to-year increases in population programs than we are, for example, in annual expansions in food, fertilizer or generalized resource transfers.
It would be premature to make detailed funding recommendations by countries and functional categories in light of our inability to predict what changes -- such as in host country attitudes to U.S. population assistance and in fertility control technologies -- may occur which would significantly alter funding needs in particular geographic or functional areas. For example, AID is currently precluded from providing bilateral assistance to India and Egypt, two significant countries in the highest priority group, due to the nature of U.S. political and diplomatic relations with these countries. However, if these relationships were to change and bilateral aid could be provided, we would want to consider providing appropriate population assistance to these countries. In other cases, changing U.S.-LDC relationships might preclude further aid to some countries. Factors such as these could both change the mix and affect overall magnitudes of funds needed for population assistance. Therefore, proposed program mixes and funding levels by geographic and functional categories should continue to be examined on an annual basis during the regular USG program and budget review processes which lead to the presentation of funding requests to the Congress.
Recognizing that changing opportunities for action could substantially affect AID's resource requirements for population assistance, we anticipate that, if funds are provided by the Congress at the levels projected, we would be able to cover necessary actions related to the highest priority countries and also those related to lower priority countries, moving reasonably far down the list. At this point, however, AID believes it would not be desirable to make priority judgments on which activities would not be funded if Congress did not provide the levels projected. If cuts were made in these levels we would have to make judgments based on such factors as the priority rankings of countries, then-existing LDC needs, and divisions of labor with other actors in the population assistance area.
If AID's population assistance program is to expand at the general magnitudes cited above, additional direct hire staff will likely be needed. While the expansion in program action would be primarily through grants and contracts with LDC or U.S. institutions, or through contributions to international organizations, increases in direct hire staff would be necessary to review project proposals, monitor their implementation through such instrumentalities, and evaluate their progress against pre-established goals. Specific direct hire manpower requirements should continue to be considered during the annual program and budget reviews, along with details of program mix and funding levels by country and functional category, in order to correlate staffing needs with projected program actions for a particular year.
Recommendations1. The U.S. strategy should be to encourage and support, through bilateral, multilateral and other channels, constructive action to lower fertility rates in selected developing countries. The U.S. should apply each of the relevant provisions of its World Population Plan of Action and use it to influence and support actions by developing countries. 2. Within this overall strategy, the U.S. should give highest priority, in terms of resource allocation (along with donors) to efforts to encourage assistance from others to those countries cited above where the population problem is most serious, and provide assistance to other countries as funds and staff permit.
3. AID's further development of population program priorities, both geographic and functional, should be consistent with the general strategy discussed above, with the other recommendations of this paper and with the World Population Plan of Action. The strategies should be coordinated with the population activities of other donors countries and agencies using the WPPA as leverage to obtain suitable action.
4. AID's budget requests over the next five years should include a major expansion of bilateral population and family planning programs (as appropriate for each country or region), of functional activities as necessary, and of contributions through multilateral channels, consistent with the general funding magnitudes discussed above. The proposed budgets should emphasize the country and functional priorities outlined in the recommendations of this study and as detailed in AID's geographic and functional strategy papers.
II. B. Functional Assistance Programs to Create Conditions for Fertility Decline
Functional Assistance Programs to Create Conditions for Fertility Decline
DiscussionIt is clear that the availability of contraceptive services and information, important as that is, is not the only element required to address the population problems of the LDCs. Substantial evidence shows that many families in LDCs (especially the poor) consciously prefer to have numerous children for a variety of economic and social reasons. For example, small children can make economic contributions on family farms, children can be important sources of support for old parents where no alternative form of social security exists, and children may be a source of status for women who have few alternatives in male-dominated societies. The desire for large families diminishes as income rises. Developed countries and the more developed areas in LDCs have lower fertility than less developed areas. Similarly, family planning programs produce more acceptors and have a greater impact on fertility in developed areas than they do in less developed areas. Thus, investments in development are important in lowering fertility rates. We know that the major socio-economic determinants of fertility are strongly interrelated. A change in any one of them is likely to produce a change in the others as well. Clearly development per se is a powerful determinant of fertility. However, since it is unlikely that most LDCs will develop sufficiently during the next 25-30 years, it is crucial to identify those sectors that most directly and powerfully affect fertility.
In this context, population should be viewed as a variable which interacts, to differing degrees, with a wide range of development programs, and the U.S. strategy should continue to stress the importance of taking population into account in "non-family planning" activities. This is particularly important with the increasing focus in the U.S. development program on food and nutrition, health and population, and education and human resources; assistance programs have less chance of success as long as the numbers to be fed, educated, and employed are increasing rapidly.
Thus, to assist in achieving LDC fertility reduction, not only should family planning be high up on the priority list for U.S. foreign assistance, but high priority in allocation of funds should be given to programs in other sectors that contribute in a cost-effective manner in reduction in population growth.
There is a growing, but still quite small, body of research to determine the socio-economic aspects of development that most directly and powerfully affect fertility. Although the limited analysis to date cannot be considered definitive, there is general agreement that the five following factors (in addition to increases in per capita income) tend to be strongly associated with fertility declines: education, especially the education of women; reductions in infant mortality; wage employment opportunities for women; social security and other substitutes for the economic value of children; and relative equality in income distribution and rural development. There are a number of other factors identified from research, historical analysis, and experimentation that also affect fertility, including delaying the average age of marriage, and direct payments (financial incentive) to family planning acceptors.
There are, however, a number of questions which must be addressed before one can move from identification of factors associated with fertility decline to large-scale programs that will induce fertility decline in a cost-effective manner. For example, in the case of female education, we need to consider such questions as: did the female education cause fertility to decline or did the development process in some situations cause parents both to see less economic need for large families and to indulge in the "luxury" of educating their daughters? If more female education does in fact cause fertility declines, will poor high-fertility parents see much advantage in sending their daughters to school? If so, how much does it cost to educate a girl to the point where her fertility will be reduced (which occurs at about the fourth-grade level)? What specific programs in female education are most cost-effective (e.g., primary school, non-formal literacy training, or vocational or pre-vocational training)? What, in rough quantitative terms, are the non-population benefits of an additional dollar spent on female education in a given situation in comparison to other non-population investment alternatives? What are the population benefits of a dollar spent on female education in comparison with other population-related investments, such as in contraceptive supplies or in maternal and child health care systems? And finally, what is the total population plus non-population benefit of investment in a given specific program in female education in comparison with the total population plus non-population benefits of alternate feasible investment opportunities?
As a recent research proposal from Harvard's Department of Population Studies puts this problem: "Recent studies have identified more specific factors underlying fertility declines, especially, the spread of educational attainment and the broadening of non-traditional roles for women. In situations of rapid population growth, however, these run counter to powerful market forces. Even when efforts are made to provide educational opportunities for most of the school age population, low levels of development and restricted employment opportunities for academically educated youth lead to high dropout rates and non-attendance..."
Fortunately, the situation is by no means as ambiguous for all of the likely factors affecting fertility. For example, laws that raise the minimum marriage age, where politically feasible and at least partially enforceable, can over time have a modest effect on fertility at negligible cost. Similarly, there have been some controversial, but remarkably successful, experiments in India in which financial incentives, along with other motivational devices, were used to get large numbers of men to accept vasectomies. In addition, there appear to be some major activities, such as programs aimed to improve the productive capacity of the rural poor, which can be well justified even without reference to population benefits, but which appear to have major population benefits as well.
The strategy suggested by the above considerations is that the volume and type of programs aimed at the "determinants of fertility" should be directly related to our estimate of the total benefits (including non-population benefits) of a dollar invested in a given proposed program and to our confidence in the reliability of that estimate. There is room for honest disagreement among researchers and policy-makers about the benefits, or feasibility, of a given program. Hopefully, over time, with more research, experimentation and evaluation, areas of disagreement and ambiguity will be clarified, and donors and recipients will have better information both on what policies and programs tend to work under what circumstances and how to go about analyzing a given country situation to find the best feasible steps that should be taken.
Recommendations:1. AID should implement the strategy set out in the World Population Plan of Action, especially paragraphs 31 and 32 and Section I ("Introduction - a U.S. Global Population Strategy") above, which calls for high priority in funding to three categories of programs in areas affecting fertility (family-size) decisions: a. Operational programs where there is proven cost-effectiveness, generally where there are also significant benefits for non-population objectives;
b. Experimental programs where research indicates close relationships to fertility reduction but cost-effectiveness has not yet been demonstrated in terms of specific steps to be taken (i.e., program design); and
c. Research and evaluation on the relative impact on desired family size of the socio-economic determinants of fertility, and on what policy scope exists for affecting these determinants.
2. Research, experimentation and evaluation of ongoing programs should focus on answering the questions (such as those raised above, relating to female education) that determine what steps can and should be taken in other sectors that will in a cost-effective manner speed up the rate of fertility decline. In addition to the five areas discussed in Section II. B 1-5 below, the research should also cover the full range of factors affecting fertility, such as laws and norms respecting age of marriage, and financial incentives. Work of this sort should be undertaken in individual key countries to determine the motivational factors required there to develop a preference for small family size. High priority must be given to testing feasibility and replicability on a wide scale.
3. AID should encourage other donors in LDC governments to carry out parallel strategies of research, experimentation, and (cost-effective well-evaluated) large-scale operations programs on factors affecting fertility. Work in this area should be coordinated, and results shared.
4. AID should help develop capacity in a few existing U.S. and LDC institutions to serve as major centers for research and policy development in the areas of fertility-affecting social or economic measures, direct incentives, household behavior research, and evaluation techniques for motivational approaches. The centers should provide technical assistance, serve as a forum for discussion, and generally provide the "critical mass" of effort and visibility which has been lacking in this area to date. Emphasis should be given to maximum involvement of LDC institutions and individuals.
The following sections discuss research experimental and operational programs to be undertaken in the five pr