Half a century ago, the world was warned of the imminent explosion of "the population bomb". There were fears that humanity would suffer mass starvation. And that societies would plunge into turmoil _ all because of overpopulation.
At that time, Asia was considered to be at the core of the population problem. The average woman in Asia could expect to bear five children in her lifetime. The region's population was projected to double within 33 years.
Many countries responded by embarking on programmes to control population growth. The landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), attended by 179 governments, shifted the discourse on "population control" to people-centred development.
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